Cayo Santa Maria, Newe Cuban Tourism Jewel
By: Roberto F. Campos
Given the increasing spiral in tourism in Cuba, the island’s authorities are promoting development of truly appealing places, such as Cayo Santa Maria on the north central coast, where everything is planned to delight the most discerning traveler. With a 13 square kilometre area, surrounded by 11 kilometres of beaches with comfortable facilities, this charming place -run by the Gaviota Group- is designed for tourists to enjoy in a very well-preserved natural environment.
Cayo Santa María boasts diving locations with a wide variety of coral and fish species, besides other ingredients for the best vacations on the sea.
Many consider this the liveliest of the region’s islets. The five hotel facilities there are comfortable and stylish, and complement the landscape of the area with full respect for the environment.
Four of the hotels are run by the Spanish Sol Melia hotel chain, beginning with the five-star all inclusive Melia Las Dunas, with 925 rooms, very suitable for couples and families, with many activities for children.
Visitors choosing to stay at Las Dunas have at their disposal water sports’ areas, tennis courts, gymnasium, four pools (two for adults and two for children), as well as delicious offerings from two buffet and four specialty restaurants. There are also several bars and a night club.
Sol Melia also has the five-star all inclusive Melia Santa Maria Hotel, with 358 rooms designed for couples and families. This hotel has a swimming pool, tennis court, diving centre, several restaurants, gymnasium and an activity program for children.
The Sol Cayo Santa Maria Hotel is four-star, all inclusive with 301 rooms and offers water sport facilities, a pool, sauna, tennis court, several restaurants and bars, a night club and other recreational activities.
Also under the administration of this Spanish chain, the five star all inclusive Melia Buenavista opened its doors in 2010. Of its 105 rooms, all with satellite TV, 57 face the sea and 17 are distributed in attractive bungalows.
The new hotel has three bars, three restaurants (one ranchón at the beach, one buffet and a restaurant specializing in international cuisine). Visitors staying at this facility have internet and fax services, a business centre, two pools, daytime and evening entertainment, water sports, a jacuzzi and a gym.
The fifth hotel on the key is the five star all inclusive Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria, administered by the Spanish Barcelo chain.
With satellite TV in all of its 1,974 rooms, internet and fax services, the hotel has six restaurants and four bars, four swimming pools, a gymnasium, business centre, water sports and both daytime and evening entertainment.
In addition to the hotel facilities, the islet contains a tourist town, similar to a fishermen’s village, inspired by the original Cuban towns.