Santa Lucia, Cuba Travel Guide
Updated: Sep 23, 2022
While most tourists won’t venture very far from the well-known beaches and all-inclusive resorts like you’ll find in Cayo Coco, it can be a lot of fun to go off the beaten path a little and find some hidden gems. Playa Santa Lucia has all the turquoise waters and sugary sands of the touristy beaches, but none of the crowds. And for an even more authentic experience, go where the locals go and visit Playa Los Cocos or Playa La Boca, about 15 minutes north of Playa Santa Lucia. It’s named for where the ocean glides into the bay at Bahia de Nuevitas. A virtually untouched diving paradise, it’s also home to a number of shipwrecks and marine life. A local dive club in Santa Lucia will even take you to swim with hand-fed bull sharks.
There's so much more to explore in our Cuba Travel Guide.
How to get to Santa Lucia
Playa Santa Lucia makes a great day trip from Camaguey because it’s only 70 miles away. Because of the road conditions, which are often peppered with huge potholes and cracked asphalt, it’ll take you roughly one hour and 40 minutes to get there by car. If you’re staying in the Camaguey city center, you will pass the Ignacio Agramonte International Airport just outside of town, going towards Nuevitas. While your GPS on your phone should work with an international plan, it’s not really hard to find your way around because the roads are extremely well marked. There’s even a small regional airport, Aeropuerto de Santa Lucia if you want to fly from Camaguey or elsewhere on the island. If you don’t fly, or have your own rental car, a taxi shouldn’t cost more than 50 CUC each way and they’re pretty easy to come by. Sometimes, you can even arrange for your driver to hang out for the day and wait for you while you lounge at the beach or sightsee. There are worse places for a driver to be stuck than the beach, and they’ll probably tell you that.
Why you should visit Santa Lucia
The local interactions. There are so many beaches to enjoy but going to a place that is less touristy means you’ll not only have a more authentic experience, but you’ll actually be able to relax too. Take Playa Los Cocos for instance, the cabanas and chairs along the beach are free and because it’s a lot less crowded you don’t have to worry about availability or trying to get there early to reserve your spot. You will be amongst local Cubans who are also out enjoying a beautiful day at the beach, a luxury most of them don’t get to indulge in often. The food is cheaper, and it’s better because they aren’t trying to appeal to what they think tourists like to eat. Do yourself a favor and order a fresh agua de coco con ron (coconut water with Cuban rum) and you’ll be rewarded with a show. A coconut will be chosen for you, hacked open with a machete and the bartender will fill it the rest of the way with the Cuban elixir of life and hand you a straw. It’s delicious.