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Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba, is an island in the king's garden, or the Jardines del Rey to give it its correct title, linked to the mainland by a 48km long causeway. With no permanent residents the island is a holiday haven in paradise for tourists and the scenery is breathtaking and you can expect temperatures above 22°C all year round.
Most of the activities on offer are provided by the hotels that occupy the island so expect to take lots of beaches, bars and shows. Cayo Santa Maria has a glorious natural beach stretching 14km long so there are plenty of secluded spots to enjoy the tranquility of the ocean. At the beach there will be a number of beach activities and watersports which are run by the hotels. Take in the chance to jet ski or windsurf in the crystal clear waters. The sea has some great underwater life and scuba diving is the best way to see it. There are many outlets that rent dive gear all costing around 50 pesos.
There are a variety of great excursions to do. Fancy yourself as Rambo? Then look into the Forest Adventure that will allow you to explore the Cuban jungle. It is a full day adventure leaving at 7.30am and arriving home at 7pm as it takes four hours to drive to the Sierra Escambray where you will be beginning your trek. Adults cost 75 pesos whilst children are a little cheaper at 55 pesos.
Want to catch your own lunch? Why not try your hand at deep sea fishing and catch a monster all of your own. Sessions last between four and eight hours depending on your package and hiring a four person yacht will cost in the region of 300 pesos.
Go swimming with dolphins on a day excursion to Cienfuegos and see performing sea lions. Afterwards take a trip to the UNESCO heritage city of Cienfuegos and enjoy dinner in the Palacio Valle, one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole area. After dinner explore the city's shops with your guide or on your own.
Your nightlife will revolve around one of the four major hotels on the island as the rest of the island is uninhabited. Most likely your hotel will be all inclusive but if not each resort hotel has a varied choice of dining and bars to relax away the evening. If you want a long night there are frequent two day excursions to Havana. Travel by bus to get there and get all your meals included.
You can fly straight to Jardines Del Rey International Airport, take a connecting flight from Havana or arrive by land across the causeway. Renting a jeep or scooter is a great way to get around the island and explore for yourself. Scooters are extremely cheap to hire but bear in mind that outside the hotels the island is uninhabited so you will only be seeing roads.
Cayo Santa Maria offers a unique piece of Caribbean luxury from your very own dessert island. Whilst it may be lacking in many bars and clubs compared to other destinations, the wealth of excursions on offer and the beautiful views and weather will delight even the most hard to please holidaymakers.