Playa Santa Maria del Mar Havana

Playa Santa Maria del Mar

Playa Santa Maria del Mar

Playa Santa Maria del Mar is one of the best spots. It’s a $12 ride from Havana Centro or Vieja to Playa Santa Maria del Mar, add $2-3 from Havana Vedado or Miramar, and a $16 ride from the airport – airport cabs may try and charge more so ask for the ride to be metered. If you´ve taken a rent a car in Cuba then driving here from Old Havana is about 20 mins, tops


The Playa Santa Maria del Mar beach is wide, long and sandy and there are fair water sports facilities as well as deep-sea fishing, though diving is limited. The waters of the north coast tend to be more surfy than the south and the sea is reasonably safe, though take local advice.


“Amazing beach cabanas Playa Santa Maria del Mar”


At weekends Cubans throng the Playa Santa Maria del Mar beach, playing volley-ball and dancing Salsa to live bands. There are also steady streams of chicas, though the police have clamped down


You will know when you get to the main hotel, the Tropicoco, because it looks like a chemical weapons research facility. It’s a T-shaped, reinforced five-storey concrete building on the quiet road which runs along the beach – a classic piece of ’60s Soviet engineering, built for fraternal Eastern-bloc delegations and ‘Friendship Tours’ of trade-unionists. Maintenance is not all it might have been and the food is dire (don’t get conned into an all inclusive package or the $26 full-board and free drinks deal).


But Hotel Tropicoco is fairly cheap and above all the rooms are comfortable, with cable TV. Tropicoco is bookable through packages, or on a hotel-only basis through Cuba-specialist agents. Typical rates are around $30pn single including (basic) breakfast or $45pn double. You should be able to get this down to $30pn double with group bookings or for a week’s stay.


Hotel Atlantico a few hundred yards to the west is right on the beach, has better food and rooms, but tends to be full of tour groups. Rooms from $40-$80.


If the beach in front of the hotels gets crowded, walk a few hundred yards in either direction or you should have plenty of sand to yourself. There is a moderately good beach bar and restaurant on the beach (don’t use the hotel’s own). A small tourist supermarket opposite the hotel is relatively well-stocked. The Chinese on the main coast road above the hotel ($3 taxi ride) is surprisingly good – about $10 a head. There are several other slightly smarter hotels at Santa Maria. A club 200 metres east of the Tropicoco warms up around midnight. It often has live Salsa and plenty of Cubans go there, though you may find that most are after your dollars rather than your body – or even your mind.


See all the Hotels in Santa Maria del Mar


Playa El Megano a mile closer to Havana has Villas Los Pinos, a small hotel with villas which can cost up to $300 a night for four-bedrooms. Guanabo, three miles further up the coast from Playa Santa Maria del Mar has a local farmer’s market at Avenida 5 and 494 where you can usually find fresh fruit.


Playa Santa Maria del Mar 101