Around an hour and a half from the revolutionary city, Santa Clara, off the northern shores of Cuba lies the heavenly Cayo Santa Maria resorts all-inclusive island triplet.

In Cayo Santa Maria, all-inclusive resorts is the only option for accommodation, there are no casa particulares or small hotels.

The Cayo Santa Maria Keys are dedicated entirely to holidays and leisure.

My stays in these resorts are fully paid for by me and are not sponsored by the hotels.

The Melia Buenavisa is one of the Cayo Santa Maria resorts all-inclusive places that among other tings has beautiful private beaches, perfect for sunsets!Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

Any link in this article may be an affiliate link! If you click through the affiliate link to do your shopping or booking, it may provide a small commission for me, at no extra cost to you, which makes me able to continue providing valuable information on this website!

What Is Cayo Santa Maria?

Cayo Santa Maria is the largest of three interconnected little islands, along with Cayo Ensenachos and Cayo Las Brujas.

The palm-strewn islands are connected by bridges, and they are all a part of a larger archipelago named Jardines del Rey, or, the royal name The Kings Garden. 

It is easy to imagine why Jardines del Rey has been given such a flamboyant name – it is beautiful out here! 

Jardines Del Rey Archipelago

The archipelago de Sabana-Camagüey, more commonly known as Jardines del Rey, is located in the sea north of central-eastern Cuba around 4 hours by car east of Havana (a bit more by bus plus taxi if you don’t take on a Cuban rental-car challenge). 

The beautiful region of Jardin del Rey in Cuba has been able to combine a growing tourist industry with environmental conservation for the last decades, resulting in vast biodiversity and virgin beaches throughout. 

They also constructed what is known as the pedraplen, a clever mix of a bridge and a road that connects the island group to the main island of Cuba while preserving nature, hence having little impact on the aquamarine life and sea

Jardines del Rey, or The King’s Gardens, got its name back in the colonial era when Spanish explorers named the archipelago after King Ferdinand II, or King Ferdinand the Catholic, as he was also called. 

Who, you ask? Scroll to the bottom to read a bit more about King Ferdinand, Spanish colonialism, and the Cuban keys!

These Photos Are Affiliate Links To Tours In Cuba!

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria statue Ferdinand Isabella Christopher Columbus
Statue of King Ferdinand, Queen Isabella, and Christopher Colombus in Spain

Cayo Santa Maria Resorts All-Inclusive Exclusively

You find nothing but hotels and all-inclusive resorts in Cayo Santa Maria Cuba, inside The Kings Garden. 

Amidst lush green nature, beaches, and palm trees, this is where you want to go if you really want a holiday entirely focused on winding down, and having a peaceful vacation where everything is arranged and you don`t have to lift a finger!   

These paradisiacal islands got their first hotel in 2001, and since then a variety of all-inclusive resorts has been built (as there is no city center, restaurants, or services outside the resort bubble), with different guest focus.

In order to get out to the Cayo Santa Maria resorts all-inclusive island triplet, you need to cross the pedraplen, a mix of a molo and a bridge.
Crossing the pedraplen causeway

Some are great for families with kids, while others are strictly adults-only, with nice restaurants, bars, delicate lounge areas by the pools, and a more tranquil atmosphere. 

Among the Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive options (the only option there is) I visited three resorts in February 2022 that are all very a bit different from each other. Check them out!

Also read: All you need to know about Cayo Santa Maria

Melia Las Dunas Cayo Santa Maria Resorts All-Inclusive

This cute bridge leads you to the private beach outside one of the Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive resorts Melia Las Dunas
The cute bridge leads you to the private beach outside Melia Las Dunas.

The Cayo Santa Maria resort all-inclusive Melia Las Dunas is a large resort on the Cayo Santa Maria main island that spans over a big area and has several pools, restaurants, a spa, a gym, and of course a private stretch of white beach. 

Your first encounter with the Melia Las Dunas is a large, open, and airy foyer area where someone will greet you and take care of your luggage while you check in.

You find one of the seven hotel bars in this area, as well as the buffet restaurant and a sneak, peek over to the pool! 

The Melia Las Dunas is a great place for families traveling with children as it has a separate family area, as well as secluded adult-only areas that are quieter. 

Among the havens in Cayo Santa Marias all inclusive resorts paradise is Hotel Melia Las Dunas. Here is the entry to the beach!

At the Las Dunas, there are around 1000 rooms and suites, so in the high season, this is a very busy and sociable place.

What are you going to do in Cuba?

Melia Las Dunas Amenities

There are a lot of guests, activities, and entertainment going on, so if you like a bit of the hustle and bustle around you (even though there is no city center to visit), you probably will like it here. 

The accommodation options at the Melia Las Dunas range from classic rooms to royal suites, all spread around the hotel grounds in little white bungalows.

I stayed in a superior room, which is like a little studio, right by the beach a little walk (or take the cute open “hotel-bus” around the pathways if you prefer) from the foyer area. 

Also readWhy you should visit Cuba!

Cayo Santa Maria Melia Las Dunas all-inclusive resort foyer

The delicate open buffet restaurant at Melia Las Dunas has a wide variety of foods, including vegetarian options, for all meals. 

If you prefer a classic sit-down restaurant atmosphere instead, you can book a table at one of the a la carte places and have all the service at your table. Just remember to book one day in advance! 

While I was staying at the Las Dunas, the gym and spa were closed due to some Covid restrictions still in place. Although not tested, from my sneak peek I could at least see that the gym was well equipped with everything you need to stay fit on vacation! 

Cayo Santa Maria Melia Las Dunas all-inclusive resort pool

You also find a few beach bars at the end of all entrances to the hotel beach, only meters from your sunbed.  

There is a small office in the lobby area that helps you arrange excursions if you feel like exploring a little outside the hotel for a day or two. 

The Gaviota Marina is the hub for all sea activities you can enjoy out here. From day trips with a catamaran, visiting the delfinario and checking out the dolphin show, scuba diving day trips, or even deep-sea fishing if that is your passion. 

Also readTop things to do in Varadero Cuba

Cayo Santa Maria Melia Las Dunas all-inclusive resort beach

All in all, I enjoyed my stay at the Las Dunas. This is a great hotel if you like a busy social atmosphere, enjoy colorful shows in the evenings, and like a larger social atmosphere on your vacation!

Melia Buenavista Cayo Santa Maria Resorts All-Inclusive Adults Only

Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive resorts Melia Buenavista four-pole sunbeds

Arriving at the Melia Buenavista all-inclusive Cayo Santa Maria resort is like arriving at your country estate where the staff has been expecting you, a bit like old friends coming back! 

Immediately seated in the small but elegant lobby, I do a quick check-in while someone magically appears with a glass of welcoming bubbles in no time.

The whole Melia Buenavista is a The Level service hotel, and that really shows from the beginning. 

What are you going to do in Cuba?

After the smooth check-in, I am taken by my butler (!) for a tour of the hotel, which is really small and intimate for being a resort. 

The pool area is just inside the lobby, a small delicate blue haven surrounded by regular and four-posted sunbeds, a pool bar, and a 24/7 open pool restaurant. 

Now, this is my kind of place, small, intimate, tranquil, and super-chill. And beautiful. 

Also readCheck out my best travel resource tips for bookings of flights, accommodation & adventure

Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive resorts Melia Buenavista stunning hotel pool at night

Melia Buenavista Amenities

Next to it are two different a la carte restaurants, so no big buffet restaurants like larger resorts, but the quality of the food and service in both is exquisite.

With warm and inviting lighting, an intimate atmosphere, a varied menu, and super nice staff I would be surprised if someone is not happy here!

After your dinner, you can also pop into the lobby bar for a drink, and enjoy the small concert or whatever entertainment there is for the evening. 

The Buenavista has three different small but gorgeous beaches only for you (at least that is what it feels like), so not the miles and miles of endless sands some other resorts can give you.

Then again, all have an amazing “private beach” vibe, a cozy sensation of secludedness that the larger resorts are unable to create simply due to the size. 

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels Melia Buenavista blue lagoon

Also readDiving in Varadero Cuba

Less than a minute away from the elegant pool area is the first beach, shielded from the Caribbean sea waves by a semi-pier, which gives it the impression of lounging by a blue lagoon. 

At the end of the hotel grounds (not very far), passing the gym and spa, you find this beach, called the Sunset Beach!

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels Melia Buenavista sunset beach

Melia Buenavista Is For Adults Only

At Sunset Beach you have an uninterrupted view of the sun setting in the east, and every night at sunset you can go here, and have a “sunset cap”.

It will be served by a guy in a tux, while someone is playing the violin or singing serenades while the sun is slowly dropping below the horizon. 

This resort is an adult-only place that has only around a hundred rooms and really is more like a large mansion than a resort. Everything is calm and quiet, even a bit homey, with a high level of luxury. 

Also readScuba diving Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels Melia Buenavista sunset beach where one of the butler serves a dring every afternoon when the sun sets!

Melia Buenavista has The Level service throughout, which among other things means that all guests have a designated butler, and frankly that is not an everyday experience for Yours Truly.

So the first afternoon when I returned to my room, I was pleasantly surprised!

My butler had been there to arrange a flower-drizzled bathtub for me, along with a plate of cheese, ham, and a gorgeous red wine on the side! 

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels Melia Buenavista afternoon bath tub

Perfect, and I have to mention the outdoor shower! It is built like an extension from the bathroom where you are totally secluded and only have the palm leaves and blue sky (or starry night sky) above. 

If you really want a vacation in tranquility and don’t care too much for lots of people and activities, this is your place. 

I thought it was close to perfect, but I really love the calm and quiet every now and then.

Also readThe magical Havana

Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels Melia Buenavista king size bed

I extended my stay here for a couple of days just because it was the perfect getaway, and if you ever should decide to elope to get married or something, this is the place to do it! 

Royalton Cayo Santa Maria Resorts All-Inclusive

Royalton Cayo Santa Maria Cuba is almost like a mixture of the Melia Las Dunas and the Melia Buenavista. 

It is bigger than the Buenavista, has larger grounds, more people, and activities, but still has a tranquil vibe. This is probably a bit because it is also an adult-only resort, so no play areas or kids running around. 

Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels royalton pool area

All the different rooms are in little bungalows, or you may even call them little houses, so the hotel grounds are more like a little village. 

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels royalton bed decor
Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels royalton suite

I had an elegant two-leveled studio, a large bathroom with a shower and bathtub, and the (now familiar) The Level service.

The amazing thing about The Level service is that it includes your butler dropping in in the afternoon when you are not there to prepare a bath for you and leave little friendly notes. 

I could really get used to that!  

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels royalton buffet breakfast
Cayo Santa Maria Resorts All-Inclusive Hotel Royalton restaurant bbq

Royalton Cayo Santa Maria Amenities

The hotel grounds are divided into an upper and a lower area, where inside the lobby you find the upper pool with a pool bar and the two hotel restaurants that are both a la carte. 

A stone’s throw away is a pretty stretch of road built like an avenue, where you also find the spa and gym. On the lower level is another pool, as well as a pool bar and a beautiful open-air restaurant where you can have a drink, and small or full meals.

Here there is also a chef operating an open-air barbeque at all times, where you can choose your own fresh fish or meat and watch it all being prepared in a flash!  

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive hotels Royalton lower pool area
Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive Royalton Hotel upper pool

Like in most resorts in Cuba, there is also entertainment at night at the Royalton Santa Maria. Although super normal, all resorts have shows. I mention it because the show here was really really good!

A large dance company had an entire show dedicated to Michael Jackson – with a remarkably identical-looking lead dancer!  

Most Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive resorts have evening entertainment, which is good as there is nothing to do outside the resorts in the evenings!

The Royalton Santa Maria is super for anyone who prefers elegant surroundings, adult-only hotels, and a little bit of a social life going on as well. 

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Other Cayo Santa Maria Resorts All-Inclusive

In 2020 there were 17 resorts in Cayo Santa Maria according to the semi-reliable source Wikipedia. Possibly more than that in 2022 as there is constant construction going on on the islands. 

A lot of large hotel chains have resorts here, and below is the list of some of the other ones that I have not been able to visit! 

All the Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive resorts have private beaches, and outside a lot of them you can jump onto activiteis, like a trip with a catamaran!

Gran Memories Santa Maria

Memories Paraiso Beach Resort

Starfish Cayo Santa Maria

Valentin Perla Blanca 

Iberostar Selection Ensenachos

Playa Cayo Santa Maria

Angsano Cayo Santa Maria

Grand Aston Cayo Las Brujas

Travel Cuba Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive resorts Melia Buenavista pool

Travel To Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

If you fly into Havana for your Cuba holiday, can book the Viazul bus securely online to go from there to Santa Clara city, and from Santa Clara, you take a taxi the last stretch out to Cayo Santa Maria.

You can also take a taxi directly from Havana or wherever you travel from if you do not mind paying the bucks. The upside is of course that it is fast, and you can stop and explore along the way as you wish. A taxi will cost you a minimum of 200 euros.

Taxi Cuba and Taxi Drivers Cuba has online booking services that you can consider, where prices and distances are stated clearly. I have never tried this, so I am not able to give a review of their services.

Flights To Cayo Santa Maria

You can also fly in directly to the Abel Santamaria Airport (also called the Santa Clara Airport), which is the closest international airport serving all three islets Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Las Brujas, and Cayo Ensenachos.

Then you get a taxi or take the bus from the airport to your Cayo Santa Maria all-inclusive resort, which is around one and a half hours.

Compare Flight Prices Here!

Also read: What Is Cuba Known For? 22 Enticing Things You Want To Know!

Quick History | Spanish Influence On The Keys!

The beautiful region of Jardin del Rey in Cuba has been able to combine a growing tourist industry with environmental conservation for the last decades, resulting in vast biodiversity and virgin beaches throughout. 

The Jardines del Rey (and Jardines de la Reina in the south) is named after the Spanish King Ferdinand, who was king when Cuba was colonized by the Spanish.

He was the first de facto king of Spain in the 15th Century, or what at the time was a series of kingdoms that he slowly gathered into what is modern Spain today.

History says that Ferdinand was a major player in the successful colonization of all of the Americas in the 15th Century, which may explain getting a whole archipelago with his name on it.

King Ferdinand, apparently, was a child prodigy, who already at the age of eight beat his father and the members of the court in chess and excelled in sports like lance throwing (which I can only assume was a necessary skill at the time). 

Also read: The revolutionary City of Santa Clara

Not Booked Yet? Compare Flight Prices Here!

Wrap-Up Cayo Santa Maria Resorts All-Inclusive

As you see, the Cayo Santa Maria island triplet is where you go for the ultimate luxury and relaxing Caribbean holiday.

Here you will not want for anything, when a beach & pool holiday with great service, all-inclusive “everything”, and winding down and recuperation is exactly what you need your holiday to be!

If you also want to experience the culture, history, architecture, and everything else Cuba has to offer, I recommend you also read a few other articles to help you design your perfect holiday in Cuba.

Whatever you are looking for, you will find it somewhere on this island!

Also read: FAQs About Cuba!

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