With over 50kms of spectacular beaches, Cayo Santa Maria remains largely development-free, making it ideal for those wishing to simply relax and unwind. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of fun activities and entertainment programs on offer at the island’s all-inclusive resorts - from volleyball, water aerobics, and salsa lessons, to snorkelling, diving and catamaran excursions.
The southeast of Cayo Santa Maria also has a lot to offer, forming part of the UNESCO Buenavista Biosphere Reserve, a protected wildlife refuge where visitors can observe Cuba’s rich variety of flora and fauna. Indeed, nearly 200 species of birds live on the island, including herons, ibis, pelicans, cormorants and oystercatchers. Hike along Sendero Aguada Baga, visit the virgin Las Gaviotas beach, uncover secluded coves and visit the island’s furthest point, Punta Amanecer.
Diving enthusiasts can book an excursion with the Marina Gaviota Dive Centre on Cayo Las Brujas, just a few minutes’ drive from Cayo Santa Maria. There’s also a boat trip that takes place every Monday to Thursday, where you can snorkel around the magnificent reefs of the Cayos de Villa Clara (the archipelago that makes up Cayo Santa Maria, Ensenachos and Las Brujas).
Another highlight is the brand-new Dolphinarium near Cayo Ensenachos, which can be reached by taxi or hotel transfer. Watch a spectacular water show with dolphins and sea lions, or dip in for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of swimming with these incredible mammals.