Cuba // Isla de la Juventud and Cayo Largo //

The beaches

There’s rather more activity around the beaches to the west of Isla del Sol and along the hotel strip, where warm shallow waters lap the narrow ribbon of pale downy sand. Protected from harsh winds and rough waves by the offshore coral reef, and with over 2km of white sands, Playa Sirena, at the western tip of the cay, enjoys a deserved reputation as the most beautiful of all the beaches on Cayo Largo, and is consequently the busiest. This is now where all the beach watersports facilities are based. Further south along the same strand, Playa Paraíso is almost as attractive and popular as Sirena, with the added advantage that its shallow waters are ideal for children. Heading east, Playa Lindamar is a serviceable 5km curve of sand in front of the Lindamar, Pelícano, Soledad and Coral hotels and is the place to come if you’re looking for some surf and wind.

For real solitude, though, you need to head off up to the eastern beaches. Playa Blanca, occupied at its western extremity by the Hotel Playa Blanca, boasts over 6km of deserted, soft beach, backed by sand dunes, and staking out your own patch shouldn’t be a problem (though you’ll need to bring your own refreshments as there’s not an ice-cream stand in sight). Further east still, the lovely Playa los Cocos is seemingly endless, while far-flung Playa Tortuga is similarly deserted.

There are a number of nudist beaches on Cayo Largo, though none is officially designated as such. The nudist sections have evolved thanks to a policy of tolerance rather than outright endorsement from the Cuban authorities. Generally they are found at one end or another of each beach, as opposed to right in the middle.

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