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Playas del Este picture in Havana
tupungato / Getty Images

Details

  • Beaches, Recreation, Swimming/Pools Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0
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    5.0
  • Facilities
    2.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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After a couple of days touring the capital, you may find yourself in need of a break from the hustle and bustle. If so, seek a side trip to Playas del Este, a set of beaches located about 11 miles east of Havana. This 5-mile stretch of shoreline starts at Bacuranao and ends at Playa Jibacoa, with about six other picturesque beaches with turquoise-colored water in between.

If you're looking for peace and quiet, Bacuranao and Playa Tarará are your best bets, although the latter requires a small entry fee. For livelier (and free) atmospheres, look to Playa Boca Ciega or Guanabo, where you'll find the highest concentration of locals. Mi Cayito and Boca Ciega are popular with LGBT travelers while those with families will likely enjoy the amenity-clad Playa Santa Maria, where the majority of the area's resorts are located. Playa Jibacoa is also considered a peaceful beach, but unlike the other resort beaches, it offers more things to enjoy than just water sports rentals. On land, visitors can traverse trails from the beach to the nearby backcountry; underwater there are coral reefs to explore. What's more, Havana Club rum is made in the town in which Playa Jibacoa resides. 

The majority of travelers who visited Playas del Este found the beaches to be beautiful and relaxing, with a good mix of locals and visitors. Others, however, mentioned some of the beaches were dirty, with trash scattered throughout and no garbage bins. But that all depends on where you go. The more resort-equipped the area is, the cleaner the beaches will likely be. It's important to note that unlike other beach resort areas in the Caribbean, these beaches aren't busy year-round and can be quiet outside of the summer months. Recent visitors also noted that weekends can be packed, and suggest that if you want more sand to yourself, you should visit during the week.

To get to Playas del Este, it's best to take a taxi or get a ticket to the hop-on, hop-off bus, which stops in the Santa Maria resort area. Visitors can also grab the T3 public bus at Parque Central in Havana, but keep in mind the last bus back is at 6 p.m.

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Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

#2 Old Havana (Habana Vieja) Skipping Old Havana is tantamount to missing Parliament if you're in London or the Eiffel Tower if you're in Paris. This picturesque neighborhood is not just iconic to ... Read more » Jose Manuel Azcona / Getty Images

#3 Plaza Vieja Of all the picturesque plazas that dot Old Havana, Plaza Vieja is considered to be the neighborhood's main square. The cobblestone-lined plaza is flanked by brightly colored baroque and ... Read more » Jacques van Dinteren / Getty Images

#4 Plaza de la Catedral If you're one of those travelers who believes that if you've seen one plaza you've seen them all, then you clearly haven't been to Plaza de ... Read more » Rosita So Image / Getty Images

#5 Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana) This museum houses the largest collection of art in the country and is separated into two buildings; one for Cuban art housed in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, and (two ... Read more » El Toñio / Wikicommons

#6 Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolucion) There is no better place for a crash course on the country's history than the Museo de la Revolución. The museum chronicles the life and times before the revolution ... Read more » Lorne Resnick / Getty Images

#7 Finca Vigia Havana is known for a lot of things – vintage automobiles, lively locals, beautiful buildings – but one individual who has remained just as synonymous with Cuba's capital for so long ... Read more » Bruce Tuten / Flickr

#8 Playas del Este After a couple of days touring the capital, you may find yourself in need of a break from the hustle and bustle. If so, seek a side trip to Playas ... Read more » tupungato / Getty Images

#9 Plaza de la Revolucion Of all the plazas that populate Havana, politicos can't miss this one. Plaza de la Revolución is proof that, despite recent lifted restrictions, Castro's Cuba is still very ... Read more » M G Therin Weise / Getty Images

El Malecón picture in Havana
Old Havana picture in Havana
Plaza Vieja picture in Havana
Plaza de la Catedral picture in Havana
Museum of Fine Arts picture in Havana
Museum of the Revolution picture in Havana
Finca Vigia picture in Havana
Playas del Este picture in Havana
Plaza de la Revolucion picture in Havana
El Malecón picture in Havana
Old Havana picture in Havana
Plaza Vieja picture in Havana
Plaza de la Catedral picture in Havana
Museum of Fine Arts picture in Havana
Museum of the Revolution picture in Havana
Finca Vigia picture in Havana
Playas del Este picture in Havana
Plaza de la Revolucion picture in Havana

This 5-mile-long seaside boulevard is popular among locals and tourists. To experience El Malecón like the locals, visit at night when the Habaneros come out to play.  Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

Old Havana is not only considered to be the heart of the capital, but it's also a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Jose Manuel Azcona / Getty Images

Considered the city's main square, Plaza Vieja is lined with restaurants, art galleries and some quirky art, in addition to its colorful architecture. Jacques van Dinteren / Getty Images

This plaza is a favorite among visitors for its stunning 18th-century cathedral. To avoid crowds, plan your trip when cruise ships aren't docked. Rosita So Image / Getty Images

El Toñio / Wikicommons

Artifacts on display at this museum include blood-stained uniforms from the revolution, a tank used in the Bay of Pigs and bullet holes in the walls from an attempted assassination. Lorne Resnick / Getty Images

Ernest Hemingway called Havana home for a whopping 22 years. Although visitors cannot enter his former home, travelers say views from the open doors and windows offer excellent vantage points. Bruce Tuten / Flickr

Five miles of Caribbean beaches lie just 11 miles east of Havana. The shoreline consists of six separate beaches, each with a different personality and set of amenities.   tupungato / Getty Images

An estimated 1 million Cuban citizens gather at this plaza on International Workers' Day on May 1. Annual festivities include speeches from top officials, including the Castros. M G Therin Weise / Getty Images

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