Best Surf Spots In The Caribbean: Cuba

In Cuba, surfing was once banned by official decree. Today, there are point breaks that can wow and waves on sugar-soft beaches to get through.

The best of Cuba surfing happens in the south of the country. But that doesn’t mean the south coast. It means anywhere that’s past roughly midway down the nation, since the northern shores are better suited to hoovering up those NW Atlantic pulses in the winter. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer, going from Havana itself to the southern regions…

La Setenta

La Setenta is worth knowing about if, as we’d totally recommend, you come to Cuba to explore Cuba itself and want to do a spot of surfing on the side. The reason? It’s smack dab in the heart of Havana, set on the reefs just below the enthralling old town. Weave between the bouncing Cadillacs of the Miramar promenade and get in to find what are usually pretty awful windswell frames beset by more mush than you get in a much factory. It’s pretty dangerous to boot – the corals are jagged below the surface.

Playas Del Este

The long, sandy beaches of the Playas del Este region aren’t just a playground for sun seekers and resort hoppers. They also happen to be one fo the first plaes on the island that escape the Swell shadw that’s cast by the end of the Florida Keys and the beginning of the Bahamas. That means some good NE swells when winter low-pressure storms push up the US Eastern Seaboard, which roll into the sandbars here to offer lefts, rights, and A-frames. But mainly it’s mush. Currents render it shifty as hell and there’s not a surfboard rental in sight.

Playa Caletonas

It’s mainly froth and knee-high playful waves on this stunning stretch of white sand west of Gibara. Some bigger days let more swell through, and it will hit the coral banks to get occasional left-right wedges. Don’t rely on it though.

Gibara

The tiny fishing town of Gibara marks the start of what most people define as south Cuba. It’s south in that it’s below the horizontal line set by Camaguey and beyond the mainstay tourist center of Cayo Coco and Varadero nearer to Havana. The location is important, too. This far down the coast, you can start to see traces of more direct NW swells thanks to the dropping of the Bahamas swell shadow. Gibara makes the most of that with a rare Cuban barrel. It’s a left and it’s gnarly, needing like 8 foot to work.

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