No doubt there are some — among the population of this small town by the sea — direct descendants of the first to arrive on the island, the natives called the Arawaks or the Tainos.

In the year 1970, the area was baren before the first hotel was built. The day of the inauguration, Fidel (who was born 130 km away) did a few laps in the pool. Although no one lived here, the area was calm but the beach was not unknown as it was the one used by the population of Banes, 50 miles east and some farmers kept their cows near the water, hence the name "watch the cow" or "guarda la vaca".

In Banes, the
Museo Indocubano shows some of the artefacts uncovered by archeologists who made hugely significant digs in the area. The first to live here were the resort employees who now rent out bedrooms in their apartments in impersonal blocks or complete apartments to travellers who could (albeit with very basic equipment) enjoy cooking their own meals.

In 2013, there were at 3.500 rooms in nearly a dozen major resorts of Playa Esmeralda and Playa Pesquero and the three Playa Guardalavaca mid-priced hotels in the town itself.

Banes, 30
Baracoa, 188
Bayamo, 128
Cacocum (train), 72
Camaguey, 260
Cayo Saetía, 130
Ciego de Avila, 375
Gibara, 90
Guantanamo, 290
Holguin, 57
La Habana, 792
Las Tunas, 136
Matanzas, 727
Mayari, 117
Moa, 117
Santiago, 192
Velasco, 61

Afiche Cimarron

Provincia Holguin

Guardalavaca - town map, hotels and casa locations
Guardalavaca hotels and attractions
Map - Holguin roadmap to Cayo Saetia
Map - Holguin, Gibara to Guardalavaca and Banes
Map - North coast from Puerto Padre to Banes
Map - Holguin - Biran + La Mensura via Julio A. Mella
Map - North Coast from Puerto Padre to Cayo Saetia
Viazul Holguin Ruta 16 + Ruta 24 + Ruta 25 + Ruta 26
Island-wide bus connections
Train sked — From Cacocum,17 km south of Holguin
Weather forecast (Wunderground 5-Day)
Daily currency exchange rates
All that's natural in Holguin province

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POPULATION 2,500 (est.) (2007)

Its four main beaches and their resort hotels
::: PLAYA GUARDALAVACA [Hotel Brisas (437 rooms; new electric plant projected), Hotel Club Amigo Atlantico (747 rooms) : negative critics abound on Trip Advisor, Villa Islazul Cabañas (34 rooms) : demolished in 2013 to make way for : Hotel Albatros (515 rooms) a 5-star project part of a 7.2-hectare project to double the number of hotel rooms in the area; work started in February 2016]

::: PLAYA PESQUERO - 10 km [Hotel Grand Playa Turquesa (Playa Yuraguanal) 531 rooms), Hotel Playa Pesquero (912 rooms), Hotel Blau Costa Verde (309 rooms), Hotel Playa Costa Verde (480 rooms)]

::: PLAYA ESMERALDA - 10 km [Hotel Sol Rio de Luna y Mares (464 rooms), Hotel Paradisus Rio de Oro (350 rooms)]

::: PLAYA BLANCA - 18 km [Hotel Islazul Don Lino (36 br.). As these are mostly all "all-inclusive", travelers not registered are not allowed in.

Some resorts sell an all you can eat one-day per-person pass with unlimited use of swimming pools and buffet and bars. Access to the beach is free for all as all beaches are public in Cuba.

Scuba diving operators Centro Buceo Sea Lovers Playa Esmeralda Tel. (24) 30060 Eagle Ray Centro de Buceo Playa Guardalavaca Tel. (24) 30185

Parque Nacional Bahia De Naranjo 5 km west of Guardalavaca (open 7h-16h tel. 24/3-0439), with its still rather wild area of mangroves and swamps covering 1000 hectares (2,470 acres) of which a marine park where busloads of resort clients arrive daily for the noon show (25cuc) with or without the extra dolphin swim, total 60cuc

Museo Aborigen Chorro de Maita (between here and Holguin) for its collection of 60 skeletons of Spaniards (1490-1540) exhumed in 1986. Community life artefacts of the Taïno era. Villages and bohios of the regional township (municipio) are witness to the strong aboriginal presence in the province : Yaguajay, Macabí, Guayacanes, Babiney and even Banes Marina Bahia de Naranjo Mirador natural Ecoparc Cristobal Colon

El Ancla Los Amigos La Rueda Centro comercial Los Flamboyanes

Canadian consulate • Asistur (travel insurance) Casa del Habano (cigar shop) Travel/tour operators : Cubatur, Ecotur, Habanatours • Inmigracion office Shopping centre about 100 meters in front of the rental casas : Centro comercial Guardalavaca + Centra comercial Los Flamboyanes • Aeropuerto Frank País in Holguin 43-93-40, Cubana office in Holguin 42-57-07, airport 46-25-12,

::: Cabaret Nocturno projected for a haul-over ::: Disco Club la Roca ::: Shows in the resorts

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Cuban wedding
on the sand, solitary hammock under the palm tree and casa en madera — all on the beach © xandra dekker

From the little seaside town park in Guardalavaca, near the shopping center, this is the view west © sogestour
From the little seaside town park in Guardalavaca, near the shopping center, this is the view west © sogestour

The famous aquarium and « delfinarium » Acuario de bahia Naranjo
The famous aquarium and « delfinarium » Acuario de bahia Naranjo attracts as many aficionados of the endearing animals as the judgement of critics who would rather see the beasts live in freedom than survive as circus acts. It must be said that the Cuban authorities are using all humane and educational means to make it enjoyable by all, even including (free, like all health treatments) therapeutic classes for Cubans with mental disabilities © unk

horse riding on the beach
What is more romantico than mounting a tame animal while admiring nature as here horse riding on the beach © unk

Parque Central
Parque Bahia de Naranjo can be found in this lovely creek : this is were the road ends for the couch potatoes who have to roll out of their 4x4 and actually walk (as in physical exercise) to the water.

Les plus hautes chutes de l'île se nomment Gran Salto Guayabo
The highest in the land (127 meters) this is the waterfall named Gran Salto Guayabo and it can be found in the lovely pine forest of Mayari in the La Mensura park © radio - Other photos here.

Guardalavaca village was first built in the Seventies as a bunch of apartment blocks for the staff of the huge Club Amigo Atlantico with its 747 bedrooms

Holguin 2 x day on Viazul Bus via Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas — Ruta 16; three other rutas go through Holguin each day (links above) — Terminal de guaguas in Holguin is located on Carretera Central No. 19 e/ 20 de Mayo e Independencia Tel. (24) 47-4430


There are about 3.500 rooms in nearly a dozen major resorts in Playa Esmeralda and Playa Pesquero and the three Playa Guardalavaca mid-priced hotels in the town itself.
Parque Nacional La Mensura streches on 5,340 hectares (12.3 acres) on the high plain of Nipe partly overed by the largest pine forest in Cuba (Pinares de Mayari); more than 100 species of plants, trekking and interpretation paths, the highest waterfall in the land and a research centre of the Academia de Ciencias de Cuba : one night here at Villa Pinares de Mayari (30-40cuc) is strongly suggested Tel. (24) 53-308 Get there through the town of Julio A. Mella [very long and dusty road without much to look at, except note that nearby rock faces are being crushed for what seems a large quarry which will help build a new dam Map here Sitio Historico in Biran about 75 km southeast of Holguin (from here, through Banes : 130 km). Visitors can walk around the settlement and land of Fidel Castro's father where the Comandante was born; some photos here Parque Nacional de Bariay in nearby Fray Benito : the bay and mini beach where Cristoforo Colombo stepped foot on 28 de octubre de 1492 : reproduction of Taino village with live characters; French and English-speaking guides Parque Nacional Pico Cristal established in 1930 where one may try to climb its namesake peak 1,213 meters high Parque Cayo Saetia in the Bay of Nipe : you have to show patte blanche at the gate and pay a fee : left to resort, ahead for the faraway beach on rough (but not that rough) roads See map here.

Isn't Yuraguanal the loveliest of all playas
Isn't Yuraguanal the loveliest of all playas, with its row of shady trees ? Go find out by yourself ; )
::: Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba. Unless you only want a room in any house which may be of the same quality, not the specific casa you booked through photos on these websites ::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: Since October 2010, maximum bedroom capacity is not limited to two adults ::: Also, large casas are not limited to renting only two bedrooms per night. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by the website staff. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 20-25cuc per bedroom per night [up to 40+ for 4 in a room]; breakfasts 3-5cuc, dinners 7-10cuc. ::: Any casa particular anywhere in Cuba must have a hot water shower, otherwise it cannot have a permit to rent ::: Please share your Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]

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Casas listed below are found in the above-shown area in Playa Guardalavaca
with its shopping center, one fast-food restaurant and three budget resorts.
• From Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by the town's area code, 24) • From Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by the town's area code, 24) HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 05 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 01 + the 8 digits of the cell.

Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here.

Click casa photo to accede to its page
on our web site. Locate them on this map.

See casas in sequence

Clock logo to move on
Two ac bedrooms, up 5 floors, shared bath
Avenida Guardalavaca, edificio 9, apto 10, on 5th floor, facing beach hotels. Tel (24) 43-0611 Cell 58 27 18 03

Two ac br's, ensuites, one suite - restaurant.
Avenida Guardalavaca casa 230, 5 mins. walk to beach Tel. (24) 43-0635; cel. 58 39 84 56

One ac bedroom in 3rd floor apartment.
Avenida Guardalavaca, edificio 11, Apto 3, 2nd floor, facing beach hotels Tél. (24) 43-04-85

One ac bedroom, ground floor, patio
Avenida Guardalavaca, edificio 9, Apto 11, facing beach hotels. Cell 58 01 59 04

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Upstairs apart + ground ac br's, ensuites, patio, terrace
Los Pozos #263 on the right of road before bridge, front of los Amarillos 300 m from playa.
Cell 52 28 72 95 or 52 61 41 92

Ceci y Polo
Avenida Guardalavaca, edificio 1, Apto 17, 2nd floor, facing beach hotels Cell. 53 90 65 95

Three ac bedrooms, ensuites, terrace, meals
Cuatro caminos, Yaguajay 3 km from town of Guardalavaca on the way to Banes. Cell 52 93 22 21

Two ac bedrooms, ensuites, balcony, sea view
Avenida Guardalavaca, edificio 11, Apto 15, 2nd floor, facing beach hotels Landline (24) 43-0230 Cel. 52 90 88 46

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Two ac bedrooms, ensuites, terrace, paladar
Calle 14A Casa 1 in Guardalavaca, 10 mins. walk from playa. Cell 52 74 32 13

Two ac bedrooms, ensuites, balcony
Right by Hotel Brisas in Cuatro caminos, Yaguajay à 2 km from Guardalavaca going to Banes. Cell

On a mini farm, upstairs apart with sea view
In Cuatro caminos on way to Banes some 4 km from playa near Museo Chorro de Maita. Cell 53 14 18 58 or 54 03 51 99


Footprint Handbook (FH), Lonely Planet (LP), Stefan-Loose (SL) and web site Trip Advisor (TA)
::: FH
: Argeni Pérez Garcia, Villa Bely :: LP : Villa Bely :: SL : Nidia Riveron Garcia, Villa Bely, Carlos y Maria ::: TA : Hostal Finca La Esperanza, Casa del Ciclismo, Villa Solymar, Villa Martinez, Mirador Alturas El Ocaso, Villa Bely, Iliana, VillArteB&B, Villa Los Amigos 16.11.18

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Updated 16.11.2018