Cayo Santa Maria
Assuming you have flown into Santa Clara Airport be sure to visit Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara, and the sleepy, colorful little town of Remedios. Don't just head straight for the beaches on the keys.
A string of keys, Cayos Villa Clara, along the north coast of Villa Clara province have been connected by a 48 km long causeway. This project was 10 years in the making and is now the home to at least a dozen all-inclusive resorts. All gorgeous, all on stunning stretches of beach. Cayo Santa Maria is one of these keys and has most of the hotels.
The gateway city of Caibarien is your entrance to the keys. The day we came in, it was a rainy afternoon. The 30 mile road to the hotels switched back and forth between little cayos (keys) to just roadway in shallow mangrove-lined waters. This rainy, windy day made the water a pale milky blue. We stayed at the Cayo Santa Maria hotel, a large all-inclusive hotel designed to bring in tourist dollars.
The grounds of the hotel are huge. A giant open air lobby, multiple pools and bars, and several buildings with the rooms.
Walking down to the wide, sandy beach opens onto a gorgeous blue-green vista of crystal clear water. What is there not to like. All go you can drinks, including 12 year old Havana Club rum, Cuba Libres, Mojitos; life is good.
The important missing thing though is Cuba itself. No history, no colonial buildings or revolutionary slogans, no chatting Cubans. You are just with tourists. There were great rooms, great food, grat service and beautiful water. A good place to unwind before heading out to see the real Cuba