Holguin & Baracao: Eastern Cuba beach vacation guide

Jul 4, 2022

For your next all-inclusive Cuba vacation, why not visit Eastern Cuba. Check out Holguin (proclaimed "the most beautiful land" by Christopher Columbus) and visit beaches with gem-bright waters. Or, if you're in the mood for something a little bit more exotic, Baracoa is home to eye-popping black sand beaches. 


A Cuba beach vacation guide would not be complete without a mention of Holguin, the third-largest province in Cuba. Christopher Columbus proclaimed it to be “the most beautiful land eyes have ever seen," and the fascinating mix of forests and beaches make it an amazing destination to visit. One of the cities, Banes, is considered the archaeological capital of Cuba: the only known gold figurine created by Cuban aboriginals is on display in the Archaeological museum. Playa Esmeralda and Guardalavaca are stunning dive sites, while you can enjoy a panoramic view of the countryside at Mayabe Lookout. Visit Cayo Saetia, an island just off Holguin city which features rugged cliffs and a nature reserve with animals — including zebras and ostriches — roaming freely. Consider a safari on horseback.

Guardalavaca is located on the northern coast and has some of the most beautiful beaches in Holguin. Guardalavaca Beach  is a great place to spend a week, and has a famous coastline known for its pool-like waters. Playa Esmeralda was named for the water's stunning shade of green. It is somewhat rocky, so we recommend packing a pair of water shoes.  Playa Pesquero is home to four luxury resorts and a five-star hotel located right on the beachfront; you'll have easy access to restaurants and bars.

Travelzoo tip: Looking to get away from it all? Playa Caletones, located outside of Gibara, has freshwater pools, cenote diving and a small stretch of sugar-sand beach, and is definitely off the radar for large tour groups.


Bahia de Baracoa is located just east of Santiago de Cuba, and is an unusual gray sand beach. The velvety dark sands are surrounded by mountains and a verdant jungle, making it a stunning site to visit. Playa Maguana is the more famous beach, but Playa Nibujon is just as beautiful. At Playa Mangalito, the waves are slightly bigger and there's even a small restaurant right in front of the beach.

Travelzoo tip: The peak of Yunque provides epic views of the sea: it's an almost-vertical hike up 590 meters, so definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Browse our Cuba deals or visit our Cuba beach vacation guide for more inspiration.

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