Holguin to Santiago
Many claim the palm-fringed beaches from Guardalavaca to Baracoa on the Atlantic coast are the best and loveliest in Cuba. Guardalavaca, literally meaning "look out for the cow" , is yet another reference to the country's being prey to pirates, who raided the length of Cuba's northern coast for supplies.
Guardalavaca town is not much larger than a small housing estate but the resort hosts some of Cuba's loveliest holiday beaches, mainly connected though to larger resort hotels, although there is a public beach too with a bar and restaurant so you can stay in Holguin and drive out to the resort.
For those who like to explore, there are also quiet and equally beautiful non-commercialised beaches along the coast as you drive to Baracoa. Playa Maguana is fringed with sea grapes, has a lovely for now non-commercialised beach, where you can relax, swim and sunbathe - snorkelling and some sailing available. Lovely sunsets!
Santiago de Cuba to Marea del Portillo (Granma Province)
The beautiful coast road west from Santiago de Cuba to Marea del Portillo in Granma Province suffered hurricane damage some years ago but recently the government said money is being set aside to improve the roads in Eastern Cuba. You do not have to travel far out of Santiago to find decent beaches and meet the locals. At the moment you would need a four-wheel drive or to be a very fit cyclist to negotiate the whole distance in either direction! The beaches on this Caribbean coastline are black sand beaches especially at Marea del Portillo and at Sierra Mar, Chivirico. The latter is an excellent venue for diving and the road as far as Chivirico from Santiago is ok. There are also popular beaches to the east of Santiago towards Playa Siboney and the Bacanao National Park.