Rancho Luna Beach
Rancho Luna Beach (Playa Rancho Luna) is a beach and resort area situated around 18km (11 miles) south of downtown Cienfuegos. It sits near the point where the Bahía de Cienfuegos (Cienfuegos Bay) joins the Caribbean Sea. Although there are two all-inclusive resorts flanking the beach - the Hotel Rancho Luna and the Hotel Club Amigo Faro Luna - the whole beach area is open to the public.
An unspoilt, natural beach
The beach stretches for around 1km and features mature trees dotted around, which provide some much-needed shade. The waters are clear and blue, and just offshore is a coral reef which is easily accessible from the beach by snorkelers. You are likely to mingle with residents of the two main hotels and several smaller casas particulares (houses with rooms to rent) and at the weekend, the locals of Cienfuegos also descend on the beach to sunbathe and swim. On either side of the sandy stretch are rocky outcrops, interspersed with small sandy bays, which provide a little more privacy and great access to the reef. There are also mini-golf, beach volleyball and restaurant facilities on and around the beach.
Snorkelling and scuba diving around Cienfuegos
The area around Rancho Luna Beach is ideal for watersports such as snorkelling and scuba diving. Dive centres in the two main hotels offer tuition, equipment hire and boat excursions. There are over 30 different dive sites in the vicinity, including caves, vertical walls, shipwrecks and beautiful coral gardens full of Caribbean marine life.
Access to the beach
If you are staying in central Cienfuegos, Rancho Luna Beach is a short taxi journey (or a rather unreliable bus journey) along the coast. On arrival, you will notice a small beachfront settlement flanked by the two low-rise hotels at either end of the sandy beach. Although this area is developed by Cienfuegos standards, it does not get nearly as busy (nor is it nearly as built-up) as resorts on the other side of the island, such as Varadero. If you are staying at Rancho Luna, the taxi ride into town is worthwhile to visit the sights and attractions of Cienfuegos, such as Palacio de Valle, Punta Gorda and the Thomas Acea cemetery and much more.
A few hundred metres/yards along the coast from the Faro Luna Hotel is a dolphinarium. Unlike many similar facilities in the West, it is set in natural surroundings. There are dolphin shows twice a day and also opportunities to swim with dolphins.
The beauty of this area alone makes it attractive for an excursion out of Cienfuegos. However, it can also be combined with other local attractions, particularly for those staying nearby. It is possible to catch ferries several times a day across the channel which enters the Bahía de Cienfuegos and over to Castillo de Jagua, a 17th century fortress overlooking the entrance, across the bay from Rancho Luna. Whether you choose a day at the beach, under the water or sailing on it, Rancho Luna makes a great day out!
Get InspirationAll about where to go and what you can do
If you are interested in Cuba's incredibly diverse indigenous biodiversity, the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park is worth a visit. Featuring 16 of the 28 protected national plant species and several endemic animals and birds, even those less attracted to flora and fauna will be impressed by the landscape and unspoilt beaches. It is best accessed from Baracoa.
A visit to the Almendares Park is an opportunity to relax in a lush, green setting in the heart of the city. Located by the river-side of the Playa neighbourhood, the park is an example of forward-thinking urban planning and offers some leisure activities for adults and children alike as well as the chance to see Habaneros relaxing with their families.
Playa Ancon just might be Cuba's best south beach. A 15-minute drive from Trinidad, visitors will find white sand, clear water, great diving, and sunny skies on the end of Ancon peninsula. There are three luxury resorts for those looking for an opulent holiday, as well as more modest options for the budget-conscious.
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