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Questions about Cayo Santa Maria

Hi, I keep seeing more and more raves about CSM and would like to hear more about it since we haven’t been there yet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time :slight_smile:

For those who have been there, a few questions occurred to me: how long is the transfer from the airport? How much time does it take to walk the beach (it looks long, but it’s sort of hard to tell in photos)? Which resort has the best pool? Which resort has the best food and bars?

Thanks so much!

It takes about 1 1/2 hours to drive from Santa Clara to the cayo.
The beach where all the hotels are located is close to 8 kilometers long. To the east of this beach over the rocks is another beach of similar length.


Google earth hasn’t updated their photos of this area in a while. There are quite a few changes since this photo was taken

That map is awesome, phoenix! Thanks for sharing it. I have not visited GoogleEarth in a long time. Perhaps it’s time to return. ;D

Yes, it’s a good map and there are some terrific 8 day deals right now for Melia Cayo Santa Maria and Melia Las Dunas out of Toronto. Also, Cayo Ensenachos has a nice 8 day deal. BTW, Cayo Ensenachos is on the left of this photo, a little beneath the larger Island…
Theresa (and Brad)

Unfortunately, The Melia, RHE, and the new Barcelo are not seen on the map. They take up a lot of space. Hopefully they will update this area one day now that it has become more developed.

I usually do a print out of a few maps before I go anywhere. I like to walk a lot and it gives me ideas.

Hi theresaandbrad,where did you see those deals for Melia Cayo Santa Maria ?

I was at MCSM last Feb and have not been to las dunas. As for MCSM, it’s a great resort, the service is great and the food was good. The pools we a little cold but if the weather is hot very refreshing. We went with people that had gone to las dunas the year before and they mentioned they liked las dunas better b/c it was a little newer and the beach as a little nicer. Keep in mind I think MCSM is for 16 and up while the las dunas is for all ages. There is also the Sol beside the MCSM that we walked through and it looked nice but I didn’t talk with anyone that stayed there. The only thing I didn’t like was b/c of the drive all the tours had a 1.5 hour drive to get to. This will likly change soon as this area is getting more and more popular. I would go back to CSM in a heart beat though…

:slight_smile: We didn’t find the 1-1/2 hour transfer to the resort boring or long - it was a great way to see the countryside and we went through a couple of “towns”. We found it quite interesting. However, we did go through there during the day.

The beach is great for long walks - we love to go for long walks on the beach and can easily make our walks an hour or two. Make sure you bring plenty of water with you when you walk to the east - towards the Barcelo resort. We thought this was the “best” beach and you can walk over the rocks to get to some little sandy coves with probably some great snorkelling.

We enjoyed the food at the MCSM and the resort as a whole and would return there in a heartbeat.

We also liked the look and feel of the Sol - it was a little more lush. The disco is at the Sol and we enjoyed the night-time shows more at the Sol than the Melia.

Haven’t been to the Las Dunas and probably won’t go since we normally don’t travel with children.

I don’t think you can go wrong with Cayo Santa Maria but keep in mind that you are not experiencing ‘the real Cuba’. :-*

:sunglasses: If you don’t travel with kids or want to see kids at your resort, Las Dunas is good. There is a family side and an adult side. The only time we saw kids was at the buffet and the lobbybar in the morning.

MCSM is 18+.

I too really enjoy the long drive, but I also did it during the day - it might be a bit boring at night, and it could be a bit long for very young kids.

I was at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria for the second time from Nov. 7-21 and it was a great experience. Cayo Santa Maria is certainly not a destination I would take kids to though. The 1 1/2 hour drive after a 4-hour flight after 3 hours waiting in an airport might be too much for the little ones. The Melia is 18+ and if you want a quiet resort and pool area, this is the place. The service was impeccable, the food was way better than last time (due, in part, to a new Italian executive chef) and the people were very warm and friendly. The new hotel manager from Spain is a wonderful gentleman whom the staff seems to adore. He’s brought a human touch to his management skills and it really shows.

We walked through the Sol and found it to be quite rundown compared to last time. It looks like repairs are few and far between and based on what we saw and the feel of that resort, we wouldn’t stay there anytime soon. Also, it seemed almost abandoned. Very strange.

I have been to both Melia Cayo Santa Maria (Jan 08) and Las Dunas (Jan 07). Las Dunas is newer. Both were lovely, lush, large. Melia Cayo Santa Maria was a little more laid back. Both have amazing beaches (white sand, like icing sugar, not very wide). These resorts share a spa (sits in between the two resorts and it is one of the nicest I have ever been to) and some sporting areas (tennis courts I think). The vibe throughout Cayo Santa Maria is very mellow, chill and relaxed!

I hope to visit the Melia at Ensenachos and possibly the new Barcelo too.

I do love this area of Cuba. The drive is really nice and you see some lovely countryside, towns and cities.

The Catamaran tour offered at the resorts is really fun and worth it. You see some good wrecks and coral and the deserted island is beautiful.

The cities tour (Santa Clara, Remedios) is a great day and very interesting.

Have a great time!

:slight_smile: Is this a new resort? I know that there is an Occidental Royal Hideaway Cayo Ensenachos but is there a Melia there too? :-*


Does anyone remember any of the prices at the spa

Here is where the 5 hotels are located, sort of, at CSM and Cayo Ensenachos


There is also a very good map of CSM here…and lots of info on the website (if you speak French!)

Whoops, Royal Hideaway Ensenachos is Occidental, my mistake.

Sorry not to get back to you sooner re: the good prices. I use the tripcentral.ca website. There’s no way to attach links from the actual packages, so just select Cuba, Cayo Santa Maria, January, and then pick the resort and you’ll see the details. You’ll see a price list under the general listing for the region.


I went to CSM last year and it was really nice, apart from the snooty tourist that are found at 4+star resorts. The only thing I didn’t like was that I really love to head down the road to the nearby towns and CSM is way, way out on a spit that is restricted to locals. I kinda felt like I was at a 4-1/2 star prison camp.