If you are staying in La Havana for a few days but you want to escape to feel the salty water on your skin, don’t worry, it is possible and quite easily. You just need to get few information before leaving.
There are few beaches not too far from La Havana that are totally reachable by bus and it takes less than an hour. Those beaches are around “Playa del Este”. They are quite touristy but way less than Varadero for example as Varadero is a destination known for all inclusive resorts and the beaches.
The bus that will take you there is called T3. I couldn’t find any reliable information on the timetables or the bus stops online. You have to go to the bus stop to check by yourself. You also pay for the ticket in the bus.
The bus stop is located next to el Capitole, on the plaza Parque Central. There are all the taxis in the middle and two bus stops. one for T1 and one for T3 (where is T2? I am wondering too!). T1 has more stops and also goes to the west and is more expensive than T3 which is going straight to the beach!
T3 bus from La Havana to the beaches will cost you 5CUC per person (way AND back! Keep the ticket the lady will give you in the bus when you pay). You won’t find cheaper! A taxi will be around 30CUC. To the last stop it will be about 30 minutes.
We got down at the last stop: Playa Santa Maria del Mar because we heard it was the less crowded and one of the most beautiful one. And we were not disappointed! The water was cristal clear, we could see our feet and some small fishes. The temperature of the water was perfect and made us want to stay forever in it as it is very hot in Cuba. The beach was not too crowded either. Nota Bene: we were right before the touristic season but we could see the other beaches in the back with way more people.
They sell coconuts with or without rhum on the beach (inside a coconut) for 2 and 3 CUC. Though we bought our own bottle of Rhum in the city and it costs 6CUC for the whole bottle so we just took the coconut and added our own Rhum! And I think we might have been right to do so because as we were paying for the coconut, a guys came yelling in spanish (so I didn’t understood much) that we shouldn’t buy because it was water. Well, the guy opened the coconut in front of us so we could see it was not water and we imagined that the guy was talking about the Rhum. Who knows.
Apart from that, there are few people coming to sell things and snacks on the beach. There is also a little restaurant at the entrance of the beach but don’t expect a whole street with restaurants. Oh and you should know that for a seat it is 6CUC for an umbrella and a chair (for two).
Another thing to notice: Be careful of the last bus. The last one leaves at 6PM and might be very full, especially if you went down the bus to the first stops. And it is no joke. Our bus was full at the second stop! And it was the bus of 5:20. The good thing about Playa Santa Maria del Mar is that it is the last stop so your chances of getting in the bus is higher as it is the first returning stop.
TOTAL COST (per person):
5CUC for the bus
3CUC for the umbrella and chair (6 for two)
2CUC for the coconut
3CUC for the Rhum
TOTAL: 13CUC for an amazing afternoon at the beach!
Have you been to one of the other beaches? Anything that I missed?