Stunning Beaches of Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo

Cayo Coco…Beaches, beaches, beaches; not much of actual Cuba, but stunning places to enjoy sun, sand, snorkeling, and water sports, wrapped in the luxury of all-inclusive hotels. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the shallow turquoise waters and brilliant white sands. The shallow sloping beaches are ideal for wading swimming, paddling. Kids and adults love it.
Cayo Coco is the second largest of the cayos of Jardines del Rey archipelago. It was connected to the mainland in 1988 by a 27 km causeway. The nearest city is Moron. These cayos are on the northern (Atlantic) side of Cuba, in Ciego de Avila Province. See Map at bottom of Cuba Destinations page.

Beach in Cayo Coco
Beach in Cayo Coco

Cayo Coco was until recently a mosquito infested mangrove swamp. It was a landing place for pirates. It later became a fishing area made famous by Papa Hemingway. Now it is inhabited by sun-seeking tourists.

An international airport on the island (Aeropuerto Internacional Jardines del Rey) makes access very easy for foreigners and thus very popular with Europeans.  At time of this article US flights are by Silver Airways and Canada Air. Thus, popularity among Americans is picking up.

Cayo Coco has about a dozen luxury resorts scattered about on a half dozen beaches. The two biggest beaches are Playa Larga & Playa las Coloradas. There are some more secluded beaches at the west end. Getting around used to require a car, but there is hop-on, hop-off Transtur panoramic tour bus. $5 CUC for a day pass. It goes to all the resorts on Cayo Coco and to the far end of Cayo Guillermo at Playa Pinar.

Beach at Memories Caribe, Cayo Coco
Beach at Memories Caribe, Cayo Coco

When staying on these keys, you are isolated from the real Cuba, but day excursions can be arranged at the hotels.  The nearest town of Moron is where the resort workers live.

When picking a hotel (mostly 4 stars) be aware that most are kid-friendly, but several are adults only.

Cayo Guillermo is to the west of Cayo Coco, and is connected by a 15 km causeway. There are several beaches here and several luxury hotels. The most spectacular beach here is the far western end, Playa Pilar. There is a boardwalk, sand dunes, and restaurant.

Pilar, was the nickname Ernest Hemingway gave his wife Pauline. He also named his boat Pilar, and fished off the beach regularly. The beach is said to be named in his honor.

Excursions from all the hotels will take you here.