As to the sea bottom, west of Cayo Santa María the combination of a rocky seabed with coral reefs lessens the impact of the wind, keeps the beaches from heavy waves and acts as a shelter for dozens of exceedingly beautiful species, making it and ideal site for diving and submarine photography.
14 km. from Cienfuegos lays this small beautiful beach bathed by the Caribbean Sea, having a half-rounded form, fine sands and quiet waters. Its especially uneven coastal shelf, inhabited by a thriving sea life and plenty of lovely coral formations at low and medium depths, has several ideal diving sites at Ensenada de Barreras and Las Playitas. Deeper immersions display a broken surface rich in sponges, sea fans and coral beds.
Playa Girón, on the eastern side of the famous Bay of Pigs, 48 km. south of Boca de Guamá, is named after a French pirate who frequented the area centuries ago. Upon the shores of this beach, on April 1961, an army of cuban exiles based in the USA invaded the island in order to overthrow Fidel Castro’s newly established revolutionary government, and was defeated in less than 72 hours. A museum and several monuments bear witness to this event.
At Hicacos Peninsula, in Matanzas province, 140 km. from Havana, Varadero, the most popular and well-known seaside resort in Cuba is located. Having more than 20 km. of beaches, the chief Cuban seaside resort and one of the best known worldwide, has exceptional natural features for the visitors’ enjoyment. Varadero beaches shallowness allows swimmers to go several meters into the sea and have a good time at the wide sandbanks.
On the north coast of Havana Province (Santa Cruz del Norte), 60 km. from the capital city and 50 km. from Varadero, Jibacoa is located: a beach of remarkable beauty on account of the peculiar layout of the more than 100 meters high hills surrounding it.
The next beach between Bacuranao and El Mégano is a tourist resort called Tarará, 20 kilometers away of Havana. Its marina (Marina Tarará) is the perfect place for those who want to go out fishing or diving.
María la Gorda Beach, listed as a reserve of the biosphere by UNESCO, is located on the southern coast of the western end of Cuba, in the inlet of Corrientes, Guanahacabibes Peninsula, 300 kilometers west of Havana.
Cayo Levisa (Levisa Key) is one of the hundred uninhabited keys that form the archipelago of Los Colorados, near the north coast of Cuba’s western end. An outcrop of the coral barrier, Levisa Key is about 75 kilometers off the coast of Pinar del Río
This portion of the Cuban territory was named New Philippines by mid 1770´s, but it was given its current name in 1778 (corresponding to the oldest town). It is the only place with two Reserves of the Biosphere within provincial limits: Sierra del Rosario and the Península of Guanahacabibes. Pinar del Río is located at the west end of the country.