Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, Cuba

By | March 25, 2022


Cayo Coco is one of the most popular islands among travelers in the Jardines del Rey (“Gardens of the King”) archipelago off the northern coast of Cuba. It is the fourth largest island in the country, with an area of ​​more than 350 km². The island got its name due to the numerous white ibises that live in these places, which the Cubans call the bird “coco”.

Tourists in Cayo Coco are attracted by luxurious beaches, where resorts offering all-inclusive holidays are located. The island is also popular among fans of diving and other water sports. Ernest Hemingway, who entered the waters of Cayo Coco on his Pilar yacht, and his novel Islands in the Ocean brought fame to the island. Rest on the island is very calm and measured.

The beaches of Cayo Coco are of coral origin, with light cream-colored sand. The total length of the beaches of the island exceeds 20 kilometers. All beaches are located on the northern coast of the island and are washed by the Atlantic Ocean. A wide variety of marine life can be seen in the crystal clear waters, including angelfish, parrot fish, lobsters and sea anemones.

The main attraction of the island is nature. Cayo Coco is home to about 200 animal species, including iguanas, and over 350 plant species, many of which are endemic. The island has preserved many untouched swamps, mangroves and wild forests. The interior of the island is wild and is home to a variety of birds, including pelicans, flamingos and the snow-white coco bird. The best time for bird watching is winter.

Cayo Coco is incredibly popular as a place for diving – a coral reef stretches along the northern coast of Cuba, the second longest after the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. The resorts of the island have dive centers, and sea excursions for diving enthusiasts are regularly organized.

All evening and night entertainment is available exclusively in hotel complexes, since outside the hotels you will not be able to find either restaurants or bars. Local residents who do not work in the tourist service sector are not allowed access to the resorts of Cayo Coco. In most hotels, entertainment shows are organized for tourists in the evenings.

The island of Cayo Coco is connected to Cuba by an artificial road that runs along a dam with a length of about 20 kilometers. The highway also connects Cayo Coco and the neighboring island of Cayo Guillermo. In addition, Cayo Coco has its own international airport, Jardines del Rey, which receives flights from Havana.

Climate The
climate of the island is temperate tropical. The average temperature ranges from 27-28°C. The heat here is mitigated by a constantly blowing breeze from the ocean.


Cayo Guillermo is a small tropical island in the Jardines del Rey archipelago, located along the northern coast of Cuba. The island is less than 20 km² in size, but it provides excellent opportunities for a beach holiday along with the neighboring island of Cayo Coco, very popular among tourists, and several other islands in the archipelago. Cayo Guillermo is suitable for a quiet measured rest and romantic trips.

There are only a few hotel complexes on Cayo Guillermo, each of which provides services on an all-inclusive basis. For local residents, with the exception of workers in the tourist service sector, access to the resorts of Cayo Guillermo is closed. On the territory of the hotel complexes there are shops, restaurants, bars, water sports centers. In the evenings there are entertainment shows. Outside the hotels, only untouched nature and excellent sandy beaches await tourists.

The beaches of Cayo Guillermo stretch for more than 5 kilometers along the northern coast of the island. The most famous of them is the Playa Pilar beach, which got its name in honor of Ernest Hemingway’s yacht of the same name. Playa Pilar is located on the western tip of the island and amazes travelers with sand dunes reaching a height of 15 meters. This beach is considered to be one of the best in Cuba due to its wide stretch of sand and crystal clear waters. There are no hotels on Playa Pilar, so the beach is usually not crowded.

Other beaches of the island are also located on the north coast. All hotels are located in the east of the island. The beaches of Cayo Guillermo attract with calm waters, regardless of the tides, this distinguishes them even from the beaches of neighboring Cayo Coco.

90% of the island’s territory is unoccupied land, covered with mangroves and palm groves. In the pristine lagoons, travelers can see colonies of pink flamingos, pelicans and other feathered abodes of Cayo Guillermo. The best time to watch migratory birds on the island is winter.

In the immediate vicinity of Cayo Guillermo is one of the largest coral reefs in the world, which provides exceptional diving opportunities. Yachting and other water activities are very popular.

The closest international airport to Cayo Guillermo, Jardines del Rey, is located on the neighboring island of Cayo Coco. Air traffic connects the islands with Havana. Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco are connected by a road. Cayo Coco, in turn, is directly connected with Cuba by an artificial highway that runs along a dam with a length of about 20 kilometers.

The climate of the island is temperate tropical. The average temperature ranges from 27-28°C. The heat is softened by the constant breeze blowing from the ocean.

Cayo Guillermo, Cuba