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Cuba Resort Vacation

How to plan your perfect Cuba resort vacation

The Caribbean island of Cuba lies about 90 miles south of the state of Florida. Yet, as a tropical getaway, it’s lands away to many people. For those who have the opportunity to take advantage of the Cuban culture, it’s fertile cultural, beautiful and unspoiled beaches and warm climate beckons many returns.

champagne sunsets at Melia From the moment you land, you’ll see the Cuban culture is something different entirely. Complimenting their simple lifestyle is a vibrant and hot-blooded history – that they’re still living- with roads filled with cars from the 50’s and 60’s (still running) and Cuban dance clubs – and let’s not forget their renowned Cuban cigars (Cohiba’s, Montecristo’s and Romeo y Julieta’s).

In the era pre-covid, the GoGirlfriend team booked a last minute getaway direct from Toronto and spent a week on the beautiful Cayo Santa Maria to relax, sun ourselves and do a little research. What we found might help you book your next Cuban getaway.

Cuban destination regions

In researching our getaway to Cuba, we found resorts organized and clustered into 3 regions – Veradero, Holguin, and the Cayo’s (Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo).

  • great beaches on the Cayo'sVaradero (on the north side) is closer to the capital Havana and has many on and off-resort options for day activities and night life.
  • Holguin is located on the south-eastern face of the island and is an emerging destination hotspot with slightly warmer temperatures.
  • The Cayo’s occupy the north-eastern portion of the island and are comprised of spits of land off the mainland. They’re characterized by beautiful beaches and often bio-sphere designations with the reefs and dunes. An engineering feat connects the Cayo’s with a 48 km (30 mile) causeway from the mainland.

Melia Resorts

lush pathways lead to the beachThe Melia Resort line (with 27 destination options in Cuba) is the dominant all inclusive resort destination of Cuba. While staying at Melia Las Dunas on the beautiful Cayo Santa Maria, we took the opportunity to visit the Melia Sol and Melia Buenavista to understand the resort options on Cayo Santa Maria.

All the resorts we visited overflowed with lush tropical greenery, meandering pathways and great beaches, but there were clear differences between the qualities of the resorts. All had a YHI Spa, pools, casita style rooms and many restaurant options. Note that in Cuba, the 4, 4.5 and 5 star designations will differentiate the resorts. A 5-star Melia Resort is not equivalent to a 5-star North American or Caribbean comparator. We recommend staying at a 4.5-star or higher for those little extras to enhance your stay.

Bonus amenity: If no tan lines are of interest for you, there’s a popular (unmarked) stretch of beach just west of Melia Sol Cayo Santa Maria that welcomes naturists and has palapas and beach lounges available (if you arrive early enough). Swim, sun and share in the community of naturism comfortably! 

The Melia’s on Cayo Santa Maria

dining palapa-styleMelia Sol Cayo Santa Maria – This Melia Sol Cuba is rated 4-stars with a long beachfront boasting great swimming in turquoise seas with some coral snorkeling opportunities. While kept very neat and manicured, it had a slightly older feel to it (built 2003 as one of the first in the area). Although older, the pools, restaurants and casitas looked clean and the guests looked happy.

Poolside at Melia Las DunasMelia Las Dunas Cayo Santa Maria – The Melia Las Dunas complex is a 5-star resort with 925 rooms separated into a family and adults-only side (in the busy seasons) each with their own pool complex, 7 restaurants to tease your taste buds and buffets and bars to keep you well watered. The Cayo’s 10 km beachfront is a few short steps from the resort area and the poolside is well-kept and up to date – as is their YHI Spa. We found the grand palapa-style central structure a popular meeting place for our morning specialty coffee, or pre and post-dinner drinks mingling with the other vacationers. Lush, tropical and relaxing …

a class above at Melia Cayo Santa MariaMelia BeunaVista Cayo Santa Maria – the Melia Buenavista delivers a 5+ star rating as a much smaller resort by size (only 105 casita style rooms). It’s an adults-only resort that with their 3 beaches (one being their spectacular sunset beach with live sax playing and champagne as the sun sets) and 3 specialty restaurants will entice pampered relaxation to a new level. Add in their YHI Spa, fantastic service and wood-fired pizza for afternoon snacking and you have a top-of-class experience from the Melia Resorts.

Pricing differentiated about $100 per person for the week between the Sol and Las Dunas and another $200 per person for the upgrade to the Buenavista. All are available through the standard booking and last minute channels (TripCentral, Transat, LastMinute), and through the airline carriers and the Melia Resorts directly. Depending on the season you wish to travel, do some research to compare prices on the features you want (beachfront room, good food variety options and adults only for example).

To check out what Melia’s Cuba Resorts are all about … the sun, the beaches and the awesome facilities … check out their many channels ~ Melia Facebook, Melia on Twitter, Melia on Pinterest, Melia on Google+, Melia on Youtube, Melia on TripAdvisor … Melia everywhere!

seclusion bonus beachside in CubaSeclusion Bonus – considering you are looking to get away and disconnect from the digital world with Cuba’s great beaches,  resorts and sun, it works to your advantage that Cuba’s internet capabilities are highly regulated and problematic to maintain connection at best. Except for the connected die-hards in the group, this seclusion bonus may open up communication and a deeper connection with your partner!

For a disconnected, all-inclusive beach vacation at a great resort, consider one of these Melia resorts in Cuba for your next adventure.

Have you been to one of Cuba’s tourist regions? Which did you enjoy the most. Let the GoGirlfriend community know … drop a comment below or connect with us on GoGirlfriend’s Facebook or Twitter community.

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