If you dream of getting away from it all and relaxing on the Caribbean coast, a holiday in Guardalavaca, Cuba, could be just what you are looking for. Located near Holguin on the northeast coast of Cuba, Guardalavaca is something of a hidden gem when it comes to Cuban beach resorts. The beach is fantastic, the resort has plenty of activities to keep you occupied and Guardalavaca’s hotels are top notch, but the resort remains quiet, secluded and unspoilt, making it ideal for a relaxing beach vacation. Here are a few highlights for a Guardalavaca holiday.

The Beaches

Most people come to Guardalavaca for one thing and one thing only – time on the beach. As though it weren’t enough for a resort to have one beautiful beach, while you are on a Guardalavaca holiday you can choose from three – Guardalavaca beach itself, Esmerelda beach, and Playa Pesquero. There’s even a mini train that connects Guardalavaca beach to Esmerelda, making it easy to move between the two.

All three beaches feature pristine white sand that slopes gently into clear water, dotted with the occasional tree to provide a spot of shade. The presence of the coral reef at Guardalavaca keeps the water calm most of the time, making it perfect for families and gentle swimming. Catamarans, pedalos and other common beach activities are all available for those who would like to do more than sunbathe.

Reef Diving

Out of all the diving spots in Cuba, Guardalavaca is a real highlight for scuba enthusiasts due to the expansive coral reef, located a few miles offshore. Teeming with wildlife, the reef is a wonder to explore while scuba diving, with plenty of caves and sheer drops to see. If you tire of the coral reefs themselves, there are a number of shipwrecks that can also be seen. If you are interested in scuba diving, the resort has several diving centres who can arrange trips and equipment rental for the best dive sites.

Swimming with Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins can be an amazing experience, and if you are on holiday in Guardalavaca you will have the perfect opportunity to take part in this unique activity. Close to the resort is the Acuario Cayo Naranjo aquarium, where you can see spectacular dolphin, seal and walrus shows, and then swim with the dolphins yourself. The trainers will teach you how to get the dolphins to splash and clap, and there is also the chance to “surf” on the dolphins at the end of your swim. People of all ages are able to take part, and life jackets are provided.

Deep Sea Fishing

Deep sea fishing has been associated with Cuba ever since Ernest Hemingway (who was a keen hunter and fisherman when he wasn’t writing books) made the island his home in the 1930s, and the Cuban waters are rich with tuna, barracuda, sailfish, snapper, grouper, and many other kinds of fish. Those on holiday in Guardalavaca can take part in this exciting and demanding activity, and you don’t need to be a veteran fisherman to do it. Experienced crews can teach you the basics and take you out, and the concentration of fish around the reef makes Guardalavaca a great place to go for deep sea fishing trips.

Emma Lelliott