Exploring the keys
Although the reasons to visit Cuba are literally infinite – its culture, its people, its constructions, its decadent air, the landscapes of the interior, its capacity of subsistence, its rhythm… – the truth is that there are many travelers who look for days of tranquility in this country. Deserted beaches – or almost – with white sands, crystalline waters, palm trees by the sea and sun – a lot of sun – are some of the most precious ingredients for the foreigners. Visiting cuban keys is a must for every tourist.
The archipelago, with nearly six thousand kilometers of coastline bathed by the waters of the Caribbean to the south and the Atlantic to the north, is made up of the island of Cuba – the largest – the island of Youth, and more than four thousand small islands and cuban keys, synonymous with paradise. Authentic pearls in the middle of the sea, they have beautiful virgin beaches with little waves and little depth, next to coral reefs, ideal for bathing.
The vast majority of the keys are not prepared to receive tourists, but some of them have a hotel infrastructure that enables foreigners to enjoy an enviable environment. Among them, we highlight five of the best cuban keys:
Main Cuba Keys
This cuban key located in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean – in the northern part of the country – in the archipelago of Jardines del Rey, this cuban cayo is one of the largest and best known in Cuba. It has an important hotel infrastructure -it even has its own airport-, however, it preserves numerous corners with beautiful landscapes in which to sunbathe, disconnect from stress and have fun.
Its crystal-clear waters are ideal for the practice of many water sports, such as snorkeling and diving, thanks to the richness of its colorful sea fauna and flora. One of the great surprises that Cayo Coco holds is the presence of the pink flamingos, a species native to the southern area, with a colony that reaches 30,000 specimens.
Linked by a natural path from Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo has some of the most famous beaches in Cuba, such as those of El Paso or El Pilar, an idyllic sandy beach, known by this name in honor of the yacht of journalist and writer Ernest Hemingway, one of the most famous lovers of the island.
This cuban key, also located in the Jardines del Rey archipelago, it is much less crowded than its neighbour. Although it has a wide range of hotels, its landscapes have hardly been altered by the presence of tourists, so it still has virgin beaches. Diving in the coral reefs or sailing in boats and catamarans to explore the seas are some of the activities reserved for those who choose to travel to this corner.
Cayo Santa Maria
The largest of the cuban keys that form La Herradura, in the bay of Buenavista, is a natural biosphere reserve, known by the nickname of the White Rose. Cayo Santa María is located, together with the two previous keys, in the Jardines del Rey archipelago and is accessed through a 48-kilometer rocky road over the sea, which makes it a real experience.
The area, which is suitable for all types of tourists, has numerous hotel complexes, bars and restaurants, a dolphinarium, a diving centre and a marina, as well as some dream beaches, such as Las Caletas, La Perla Blanca and Cañón.
Cayo Largo del Sur
Cayo Largo del Sur – or Cayo Largo, for short – is considered by many to be the most beautiful not only in Cuba, but in the Caribbean. This cuban key is located in the archipelago of Los Canarreos, in the extreme south of the country, in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, it is an incredible virgin paradise of turquoise waters and fresh white sand, which stands out for its coral reefs and its diversity of marine fauna, as well as large areas of mangroves.
Among its 27 kilometers of beaches, Sirena and Paraíso stand out, the latter being recognized on several occasions by travelers as one of the best in the world. However, one of the most unique tourist attractions of Cayo Largo is the Sea Turtle Rescue Center, which is dedicated to their care and protection. Here it is possible to observe how the hatchlings of this native species are and how they live.
Unlike other areas of the country, the hotel offer, although modern, is limited and respectful of its natural environment.
We reached the end of our tour, at least busy and well known of our five keys. Its name: Cayo Levisa. This cuban key is located on the north coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the province of Pinar del Río, and can only be reached by taking a ferry in the town of Palma Rubia. And it is a tiny territory that does not exceed 2.5 km2 with a single hotel, so we can talk about a corner practically intact.
This cuban key is endowed with exuberant vegetation that ends by the sea, it is possible to literally bathe alone in the midst of the beautiful landscape of Punta Arena beach. To practice scuba diving or snorkeling, to contemplate birds like the pelican, or to take a walk between mangroves and forests of pines are some of the own activities of this idyllic corner, in which, like curious data, the inhabitants of Cuba have prohibited the overnight stay.