Guardalavaca is one of the famous beaches in Cuba's Holguin province.


A kilometre long, the beach is recognizeable for its bell-like shape and fine white sands, but is one of the Cuban havens for scuba diving, one of the many watersports available in Cuba's warm seas.

Between Guardalavaca and Esmeralda beaches, there are some 18 kilometres of water where some 40 different diving sites can be found, teaming with colourful fish, coral and sea life.

Being a small resort, visitors to Guardalavaca find that they need to get up early to ensure sun loungers both at the beach and the hotel swimming pool in certain months, but the natural beauty of the beach and lack of tacky Cuban nightlife options are a major plus for most people who are looking for a relaxing escape.


The name Guardalavaca translates to 'save or guard the cow', guarda - la - vaca. Stories passed down from Cuban inhabitants of yesteryear supposedly used the expression as a warning call when seeing pirate sails - vacas being a slang term for treasure or treasure chests.

As well as exploring the crystal clear waters, there are many other watersport options available, including the opportunity to get close to other Cuba's wildlife on one of the dolphin spotting trips where you can swim with the dolphins.

Not far outside of the resort horseriding is available and birdwatching is a delight for ornithologists as the area is an important corridor for birds who are crossing Cuba.

It is also a short drive to the town of Banes. The drive is particularly scenic and the town is often referred to as Cuba's archaeological town with two Cuban museums to visit including the noteworth Bani Cuban-Indian Museum which has exibits that date back 7000 years to the island's first inhabitants.


Guardalavaca has a daily market where you can find different vendors and products each day selling their artisan goods, but the variety tends to be somewhat limited.

Nightlife is fairly quiet with options limited to the hotels, but on the weekend, things tend to get busier and sometimes the locals will start a street party which is an open event for everyone in the area to enjoy.

Visitors to the resort who are interested in the history of Cuba can easily take a trip to Gibara which is where Christopher Columbus first set foot on Cuban land, back in 1492.

On December 11 to 13 each year the 'full moon festival' takes place with a handicraft show and many concerts.

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