Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba

Cayo Largo is the jewel of the Los Canarreos Archipelago, off the southern coast of Cuba. The archipelago includes 300 other cays including the Isle of Youth (the second largest island in the Cuban archipelago). Cayo Largo has 15.5 miles of beautiful beaches with emerald green water. One of them, Sirena Beach, has oolitic sand which always remains cool, no matter how strong the sun. For scuba divers, there are more than 200 sunken ships dating from between the 16th and the 18th centuries in the area.  The seabed in the area has 32 scuba-diving sites with fascinating coral formations, tunnels, steep walls covered with gorgonians and  multicolored marine life. The water is extremely clear.

Playa Paraiso, or Paradise Beach, is a secluded and gorgeous beach with powdery white sand and turquoise waters. It’s located at the west end of Cayo Largo, between Playa Punta Mal Tienpo and Playa Sirena.  Unlike the hotel beaches, the sea at Playa Paraiso is very calm. People like to go here when the sea is more choppy (red flag) in the hotel zone, but also just enjoy this magnificent beach.

Services available at Playa Paraiso include: Palapas (beach umbrellas) and lounge chairs, and a snack bar with a shaded terrace where they serve bottled water, juice boxes, soft drinks, beer, cocktails, and of course, snacks. There is a limited number of palapas and not much natural shade, except for a few trees around the bar, so you may want to get here early or bring your own beach umbrella.

This beach is popular among naturists who usually gather on the east side, toward Playa Mal Tiempo.  If you want to enjoy a more secluded area (away from the snack bar), then bringing your own beach umbrella.  There is no water sports available at Playa Paraiso, and equipment rentals are in Playa Sirena, about a 20 minutes’s walk west.

Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo, Cuba is listed as one of the top 20 beaches in the world.  Here you can find information on all of the 20 most beautiful beaches of the world.  Read our Fernando de Noronha Brazil Vacations guide to start planning your vacation to this wonderful beach destination.

Weather

Temperatures here usually average from 71 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.  There are two seasons, the dry season from November to April and the wet season from May to October. However Cayo Largo is rather arid, so even during the wet season you will not see a lot of rain. It rarely rains during the day. Showers are usually strong but quick and occur mostly at night or early morning.  During the winter months, the evenings may sometimes be a bit cool, so it’s better to bring long pants and a jacket for those chilly nights.  The summer months are very hot (86 degrees Fahrenheit +) and humid.  The hurricanes season begins officially in June and finishes in November. Historically October and September are more at risk for hurricanes.

Getting to Cayo Largo, Cuba

US citizens traveling to Cuba, no matter how they get there, must qualify for a “licence to travel”. The stipulations for obtaining a licence have changed several times in the last fifteen years in the ongoing tug-of-war between the US government’s conservative and liberal factions over the provisions and enforcement of the embargo, so it’s always worth checking what the latest rules and definitions are at www.treasury.gov or www.havana.usint.gov.

The modern Juan Vitalio Acuña Airport accepts international traffic. Charter flights arrive here from Canada and Europe regularly throughout the year, with greater frequency during the high season. There are also daily flights here from Havana by AeroCaribbean. These are best booked in Havana with any of the many tour agencies. Fares are CUC$108 and run around CUC$137 for the day tour. A taxi from the airport to any hotel on the island costs around CUC$6.

Getting Around Cayo Largo, Cuba

There’s a shuttle that has a route connecting the marina and all the major resort hotels here; fare is CUC$1. Taxis are also readily available on Cayo Largo. A ride anywhere on the island costs between CUC$2 and CUC$10. You can also rent a car or scooter from Transtur (tel. 45/24-8245), which has desks at most of the hotels on the island, as well as at the airport. Rates run about CUC$8 per hour for the first hour on a scooter, and about CUC$3 per hour for each additional hour; it’s CUC$60 per day for a small jeep, including your first tank of gas and insurance.

Do not drive drunk!, not even a bicycle. Cuba has a zero tolerance policy and in the case of an accident, if alcohol is detected in your blood, you are likely to be presumed guilty. Always be careful!

Attractions

El Torreon Nursery, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesEl Torreon Nursery

Get an insight into rural Cuban farm life at El Torreon Nursery, which supplies plants to nearby hotels and resorts. The nursery, full of flowers, and trees, also homes animal life including crocodiles, iguanas, and turtles. Speak to one of the guides who will happily show you around and allow you to meet these animals up close. An old stone tower stands tall among the greenery. It cannot be climbed however as it has been damaged.

 

Playa Paraiso, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesPlaya Paraiso

The beach probably looks much like it did when historians believe that Christopher Columbus sailed to Cayo Largo in 1494 on his second trip to the New World. Playa Paraiso’s powdery sand and pale blue waters are still pristine and the nearby reefs boast some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean. Sea turtles, iguanas and a wide range of birds can be seen throughout the island.

Playa Sirena, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesPlaya Sirena

Cayo Largo’s finest beach is Playa Sirena, where you will find 2 km  of powdery white sand. Tourists on day trips from Havana and Varadero are often brought here. Because of the calm seas, nautical activities (kayaks and catamarans) are available. Set back from the beach there’s a ranchón-style bar and restaurant, along with showers and toilets. It is the only Cayo Largo beach with shade.

 

Cayo Rico, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesCayo Rico

This is a great day-trip destination.  Boat excursions to the beaches leave from the hotels (for around CUC$69 per person). Rico also has a simple beach restaurant that serves lunch (included).  Framed by the same glimmering white shores and clear turquoise waters as Cayo Largo but with even fewer people around, this is the perfect place to play beach-worshipper all day long and hide away in picturesque coves.

 

Punta Mal Tiempo, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesPunta Mal Tiempo

This beach is located east of Playa Paraiso. Punta mal Tiempo is a long sand point going into the sea, facing the large coral reef.  This beach is for people who really enjoy a very quiet and relaxing place. The beach is breathtaking and definitively not crowded.  Naturists love this beach as the waters are calm, with a pristine environment.

 

Sea Turtle Hatchery, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesSea Turtle Hatchery

Visit Sea Turtle Hatchery, whose aim is to protect the endangered species of turtles that call Cuba home. The hatchery collects eggs from vulnerable beaches, raises the baby turtles to a specific point of development, and then releases them safely back into the sea. You can participate in this occasion alongside the experts. Learn about the work undertaken here, or touch some of the turtles swimming in the pools. You can also book a guided nighttime turtle-watching excursion.

 

Things to Do

Watersports, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesWatersports

Cayo Largo offers a wide variety of water sports. The all-inclusive hotel packages usually include the use of non-motorized equipment to include kayaks, pedal boats, snorkeling gear, small catamarans, hobby cats, and scuba diving.

 

 

Bicycles, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesBicycles

With all-inclusive packages you can use bicycles for one hour per day per person. This is for all the hotels. It is not recommended to go to the west beaches due to the sandy trails.

 

 

 

 

Fishing, 10 best beaches in the world, 20 best beaches in the world, beach travel destinations, Cayo Largo hotels, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba, world's best beachesFishing

The area has great bonefish, tarpon, and deep sea fishing.  Avalon has special offers for hotel packages that include fishing.  This is the only company I am aware of that provides fishing to thetouristRanchon Lindarena

 

 

 

Best Hotels

Sol Cayo Largo

Located in Cayo Largo del Sur, this all inclusive resort is ideal for couples and honeymooners. Feel in contact with a pristine environment and discover the true beauty of Cuba.  Located in beautiful, idyllic surroundings and distributed in 2 story bungalows built on stilts over dunes and plants.  They have a terrace or balcony with wonderful views of the gardens, the pool or the sea.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your  room, visit Sol Cayo Largo.

Restaurants & Bars
  • Las Dunas – The perfect mediator between you and the nature. “Las Dunas” will make discover in the food the hand of an expert chef, and in the fruits, the freshness that demands a good service. Also offers lobster and superior wines.  Specialty here is creole.  Open every day for breakfast and dinner.  Located in the Sol Cayo Largo Hotel.
  • El Cayito – The Lobby Bar offers personalized service and the best Cuban cocktails and international drinks ever, including sandwiches from 23:00 to 07:00.  Lobby bar open 24 hours a day.
  • Las Trina – Las Trinas gourmet restaurant is located in a virtual pristine paradise, where good taste and excellent service will make your visit a memorable event and satisfy even the most discerning palate.  Specialty here is international food.  Open every day for dinner.
  • Ranchon Lindarena – Dinning at the edge of the sea in Cayo Largo is truly a natural luxury. This beach –grill restaurant offers a wide choice of salads, fruits, cold meats and delectable Caribbean specialties. Clients can also request special orders.  Specialty here is Caribbean food.  Open everyday for lunch and dinner.
  • Aqua Bar Sol Azul – Located in the swimming pool area, the Sol Azul bar offers fresh fruit juices, original cocktails and other beverages for guests, especially bathers, who alternate a plunge in the spool with a swim in the ocean.  Open daily poolside.
  • Chiringuito de Playa – Located directly on the fine white sand and facing the ocean, this bar offers select cocktails and refreshing soft drinks which you can savor while you enjoy the warm Caribbean sun.  Open daily on the beach.

Hotel Villa Iguana

Hotel Gran Caribe Villa Iguana is the first adults only resort in Cayo Largo del Sur. This brand new all-inclusive sits directly on the stunning white sand beach well-known as Playa Lindarena. Hotel Villa Iguana has 196 rooms, all with terrace or balcony divided in standard and bungalows, with view over the garden, the pool or the ocean. There are 2 choices of restaurants: the “Iguana” buffet which serves breakfast and dinner and the the Ranchón “Bellamar” which instead offers a la carte lunches and dinner. The snack bar “El Carey” is open 24-hours a day and has a good selection of national beers and cocktails as well as a selection of international drinks.   For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Hotel Villa Iguana.

Restaurants & Bars
  • Buffet Iguana – Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a buffet style.  Open every day.
  • Bar Ranchon Bellamar – Beach bar serving local and international drinks.  Open daily.
  • Ranchon Bellamar – Serving a buffet lunch and A la Carte dinner.  Reservations are required.  Specialty is international food.
Hotel Pelicano – Great for Families

Hotel Pelicano Cayo Largo by Gran Caribe Pelicano is located at the west end of Playa Lindamar in an absolutely natural setting, on the beautiful Cayo Largo, in the heart of the Caribbean. It is a true paradise for all water sports enthusiasts, especially divers. Pristine beaches, day and night entertainment programs for children and adults also make this hotel an ideal destination for a family vacation.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Hotel Pelicano.

Restaurants & Bars
  • La Yana – Serves A la Carte International dinner nightly.  Reservations are required.  Dress code is semi formal.
  • Los Quelonios – Serves lunch from the grill and an A la Carte Cuban dinner menu.  Reservations are required
  • Entre Mares – Serves buffet style food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Open daily.
  • La Pergola – This is a pizzeria serving lunch and dinner.  Reservations are required.
  • El Catey – 24-hour bar serving local and international drinks.
  • Los Quelonios  Bar – 24-hour bar serving local and international drinks.
  • Zun Zun – Snack bar open daily serving local and international drinks.

30 Comments

  1. William

    Cuba is definitely on my list for my next travel destinations, and it looks amazing! Would you recommend the wet or dry season? Trying to weight the pros and cons of both. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for reading about Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba William. You know, I don’t think they get enough rain to warrant tourist from not going during the wet season. Personally, either way to me is fine as I don’t mind a little rain. Of course, with the dry season comes more crowds, than with the wet season. I think for most it boils down to that.

      Reply
  2. Sabrina

    These pictures are amazing! And such detail on the sites and the weather throughout the year. Definitely going to add Cuba onto my must visit list. I have a friend from Canada that goes every year and acts like it’s her second home lol. Thank you for all the great information. Really makes me want to stick my toes into that nice warm sand 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      What could be better than your toes in the sand, the ocean lapping on the shore, a cool breeze, and a tropical drink? Nothing in my book. Cuba has beautiful beaches, and is definitely worth a bucket list item. Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.com

      Reply
  3. Tom

    Excellent review article. I have been to the Caribbean several times, but have never considered Cuba. That is until now. Your article is very well detailed, and provides all of the information that I would need to decide on a certain destination. I like the idea that these small islands are off the southern coast of Cuba. I will have to revisit this information when I am planning my next island vacation. Thank you for this great info!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Tom and I am glad you enjoyed reading about Cayo Largo Cuba. Playa Paraiso is definitely one of those beaches that any beach lover needs to visit. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Nicola

    I would love to visit Cuba and your post has just reignited that interest. I’m definitely a lover of beach holidays especially white sandy, turquoise bath temperature sea. I have visited a fair few of the Caribbean islands over the years including Jamaica several times as my Mum is from there, but I’m yet to venture to Cuba.
    Would you recommend it as a suitable family destination, my kids are 6 and 5 years? Also, is it a fairly safe destination for tourists?
    My husband and I both have our PADI so would love to do some more deep sea diving and explore the under water world – looks and sounds amazing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh, you would love it and yes – very family friendly for sure. This is also a very safe beach destination. You won’t run into any problems here. Thank you for reading about Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba Nicola, you will love it!

      Reply
  5. Anita

    This seems like a very nice holiday destination with enough activities for all, am not much of a beach person but i enjoy beach excursion especially on a bike so i would definately consider Cuba. Did i read a naturalist beach….lol.am not one but that is interesting.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am not a naturalist either LOL, but they do congregate in a specific area 😀 Riding bikes along the coast is always nice! Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  6. jayde

    Im so excited for a hoilday, I want to visit them all after this reading 🙂 Playa Paraiso looks so beautiful. I can see myself beach hopping here!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh how fun that would be to beach hop on Cayo Largo! Thanks for reading about Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba!

      Reply
  7. chris

    Cuba is one of the destinations i have never visited, my wife loves beach holidays and we are both looking for one for this year, you have some great write ups on here and will most certainly by considering Cuba this Year.
    Great topic and very good information, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are most welcome Chris, and glad you enjoyed the read! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  8. Emily S.

    I have never been to Cuba before, but it is very beautiful. I read your about me page, if you are looking for beach destination. A beautiful place is: Jekyll Island in Georgia or St. Simons Island in Georgia. Check it out! Take Care 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Emily,

      I did do a review on Georgia beaches and those are included 🙂 A lot of people don’t realize how many beautiful beaches there are on the East coast. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  9. Jude

    Another must visit place added to my bucket list! Your site really does justice to this beautiful location. With a rich history (I wasn’t expecting Christopher Columbus but I was educated!) behind the scenic environment, it’s worth every traveler’s penny to go there at least once.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree Jude! It is definitely a bucket list item for sure. Not just for the gorgeous beaches 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  10. Mick Krug

    Leahrae:

    Great webpage on Cayo Largo, Cuba. I never knew Cuba has such nice beaches. Too bad the U.S. has travel restrictions to Cuba as this is one place worth visiting. Great beaches. I hope the hotels are deserving of the 4.5 and 4 star ratings. Plenty of things to see and do there. I like that they have a cruise around the island. That would be a must do for my wife and I.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I think you are right Mick, it is worth visiting. They have amazing beaches actually. The more I look into Cuba, the more it intrigues me. The ratings are reflective of TripAdvisor, and they are pretty spot on. So I think you will find that these ratings are correct. Cruising around the island would be awesome! Thanks for reading Mick!

      Reply
  11. Dany

    OMG, Leahrae! It’s amazing! You get gave me another location to be added on the ‘To Visit’ list. I never been in that area.
    You mentioned about ‘US citizens traveling to Cuba, no matter how they get there, must qualify for a “license to travel”’. What about EU citizens?
    We travel by air, but is this license necessary for EU travelers?
    Amazing post, thanks for sharing this complete list.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great question Dany, you can actually fly there with no restrictions. The restrictions only apply to Americans, which totally stinks as Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba is definitely on my bucket list!

      Reply
  12. Eric

    I haven’t learned to scuba dive and was wondering if there is anywhere in Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba that would teach you? Or do you think it would be better to learn before you go? You mentioned there are quite a few shipwrecks there and I think that sounds like the most interesting thing to do to me.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you can in fact learn while visit Playa Paraiso, and it would be a great place to learn! Definitely interesting and worth doing. Thanks for visit Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba.

      Reply
  13. nikolina

    Wow, this is truly a paradise on earth. I definitely plan on visiting Cuba someday, and now I’m even more determined to go there.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is paradise. I am sure that is why it has been rated as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Worth visiting for sure, thanks for stopping by to visit Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba.

      Reply
  14. Sydney

    Gosh it looks amazing! Being Canadian it should be pretty easy to get there. My husband would be sold with “fishing”. Might have to consider this the next time we want a hot holiday!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Sydney, you can get there easily. Tougher time for me, because Cuba really has so many amazing beaches. And yes, fishing is superb here!

      Reply
  15. John

    Leahrae,
    The closest I have come to Cuba is Key West and looking at the sign saying it was 90 miles away. This sounds like a great destination with a lot of restrictions. I seen in the sidebar that Pearl Seas has a cruise around the island with several stops. This might be better for me if I do not want to go deep sea fishing.
    John

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, the cruise around the island is a great way to get around some of the restrictions for visiting Cayo Largo, Cuba. Thanks for reading about Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo Cuba.

      Reply

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