A Day Trip to Cuba’s Beautiful Playa Pilar

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Playa Pilar

Before I booked I didn’t realize that Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo are essentially just hotel strips. No town, no shops, and no Cubans – except, of course, for those working at the resort. There were plenty of excursions, but with a baby in tow, I prefer to do our own thing on our own time, and not have the worry of throwing a busload of people off schedule. Plus, it’s enough to stay put in a resort for a week, we want to do at least a little exploring by ourselves. So I’m glad I read about Playa Pilar, or Pilar Beach, before we went.

There’s a public bus that goes from resort to resort along Cayo Coco and then Cayo Guillermo, ending up at Playa Pilar. The fare is 5 CUC (roughly $5 USD) return, and kids are free. We were expecting a large coach, which all the tourists were carted around on, but when a 16 passenger van pulled up I gulped at our large beach bag and stroller. Somehow it all fit and we were on our (very bumpy) way. (*Note* the public relations person at our hotel mentioned that if the bus fills up at the resorts previous to yours, they simply won’t stop at your resort. You have no way of knowing if this will happen! Ours was 4th from the top so we took our chances.) The ride from Cayo Coco took about an hour.

Once you leave the bus, you walk along a wooden bridge for a fair bit, and when you come to the end, this is what you see:

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Walkway to Playa Pilar

The sand is so very soft, and even though it was quite windy on the day we went, the slope into the water is so extensive that by the time the waves hit the shore they’re very gentle. Apparently, on calmer days, small catamarans and glass bottom boats are there to take you out to the reef. Unfortunately we brought our lifejackets and snorkel gear for nothing.  The wind was cool, but that made the water seem warmer.

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Wind, Schmind – Into the Waves She Goes…

Lounge chairs are 1 CUC for the day (approx. $1 USD). The washrooms and showers are very clean.  Bring your own or tip the lovely lady for some toilet paper.  My almost-9-month-old found the sand quite delicious (in spite of my best efforts!), but there’s a restaurant there in case you fancy a snack, a beer, an ice cream, or a coffee.

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“Delicious” Sand…

You’re given a schedule for the return bus trips to the resorts. I was a little concerned about what would happen if there were too many people to fit on the bus back, but the woman assured me that we’d be fine. Sure enough, a large coach came for the final departure at 5pm, and we returned back at our hotel by 6.

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Adios, Playa Pilar…

The beach at our resort was lovely, but Playa Pilar was a great little escape for the day.

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10 Responses to A Day Trip to Cuba’s Beautiful Playa Pilar

  1. Wow, I’d love to get to Cuba. The beach looks stunning!

  2. Corinne at #

    Go as soon as you are able! We fell in love with Cuba the first time we went.

  3. Jen at #

    I absolutely love that picture of your little one staring off into the water…that is exactly the picture I would choose to hang on the wall!

  4. Corinne at #

    Thanks Jen! When your husband is such a photography nut, you run into the interesting “problem” of too many beautiful pictures! We call him the “Papa-razzi”…

  5. Nita at #

    I never go to Cuba after read this blog I wanna go right now!

    • Corinne at #

      Seriously Nita – it’s an awesome beach!

  6. A lovely day indeed! I adored Cuba and would really love to take our little daughter there as well. Next time you go leave the resorts behind and stay at Casa particulares – home stays.

  7. Sophie at #

    Playa Pilar looks beautiful. I was in Cuba with my oldest daughter when she was 8 and we both adored it. Such lovely people the Cubans.


  1. Favorite family trips with babies and toddlers | The Mother of all Trips -

    […] within Cuba more than others, but one of our most beautiful days was on the public beach of Playa Pilar at the very tip of Cayo Guillermo. The sand was soft (and apparently delicious!) and the slope into […]

  2. Summer Vacation Ideas | Best Family Beach Vacation Spots | Ciao Bambino Blog -

    […] Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo are two keys off the mainland of Cuba that are basically just hotel strips. They are beautiful, beachy hotel strips, mind you – but still devoid of the Cuban culture that is the biggest draw for us. It’s an incredibly affordable vacation, however, and the tip of Cayo Guillermo houses a beach gem that makes the entire trip worthwhile, Playa Pilar – a stunning public beach. It’s easy to get to from any of the hotels via taxi or the public bus, and the trip is definitely worth it. Pack a lunch, and bring a few pesos for lounge chairs, and of course for a couple of cold cervezas from the Ranchon. […]