Bordered by pearl-white sand melting into opal waters, sleepy CAYO GUILLERMO, west of Cayo Coco and joined to it by a 15km causeway, is a quieter, more serene retreat than its neighbour: a place to fish, dive and relax. The cays’ colony of twelve thousand flamingos (celebrated in all Cuban tourist literature) gather here to feed, and although they are wary of passing traffic, you can usually glimpse them swaying in the shallows and feeding on the sandbanks as you cross the causeway. As the presence of the birds testifies, the waters around Cayo Guillermo are home to an abundance of sea life including a wealth of fish, notably marlin, and the marina here offers a range of deep-sea fishing expeditions.
At only thirteen square kilometres the cay is tiny, but its 4km of deserted beaches seem infinite nonetheless. Development on Cayo Guillermo has been steadily growing, and although still considerably quieter than its rowdier neighbour, it’s no longer the peaceful haven it once was. However, all the hotels are fairly close together on Playa El Medio and Playa El Paso, while the rest of the cay’s stunning beaches remain largely untouched – with so much space, you’ll never have a problem finding solitude. It’s quite a trek from the mainland if you’re not staying overnight, but arriving early and spending a day lounging on the sands and exploring the beautiful offshore coral reef definitely merits the effort. Day-passes to enter any of the all-inclusive hotels (which cover all meals and drinks) will set you back $40–50CUC, though there are plenty of other places to access the beach if that’s all you want.