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Beach at Guardalavaca
Beach at Guardalavaca
Guardalavaca is located in Cuba
Location of Guardalavaca in Cuba
Coordinates: 21°07′30″N 75°49′44″W / 21.12500°N 75.82889°W / 21.12500; -75.82889Coordinates: 21°07′30″N 75°49′44″W / 21.12500°N 75.82889°W / 21.12500; -75.82889
Country Cuba
5 m (16 ft)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
Area code(s)+53-24
Hotel Playa de Pesquero in Guardalavaca

Guardalavaca is a town in the Holguín Province of Cuba. It is a tourist location due to its white sandy beaches and warm waters. Guardalavaca beach is protected by a large coral reef and is visited by both local Cubans and tourist. Most Cuban workers in the all-inclusive hotels are transported daily in buses from Holguin city as only a few Cubans live in Guardalava due to the small size of the resort.Between Guardalava and Playa Esmeralda are dry tropical forest were endemic Cuban birdlife like hummingbirds Cuban emerald can be seen.Endemic Cuban Anole knight anole lizards are numerous in these forest. A daily flea market is popular for handmade Cubansouvenirs and tourist from beaches further away from Guardalavaca centre like Playa Esmeralda and Playa Pesquero come here on excursion.A tourist attraction is the Taino museum and museum village between Guardalavaca and Banes and the wildlife trail at Bahia de Naranjo. Bahia de Naranjo also offers swimming with dolphins and a small zoo. Frank Pais Airport is situated 1 hour drive south of the resort and is a reason this area was developed for beach-tourism. Ecotourism and Wildlife tourism trips to BaracoaTropical Rainforest use the large mass-tourism all-inclusive resorts of the Guardalavaca area due to their convient location near Frank Pais Airport.


It is located on the northern shore of Cuba, bordering Bahia de Naranjo (Orange Bay), on Cabo Lucrecia, and is part of the municipality of Banes. Beaches in Guardalavaca include the main Guardalavaca Beach,a number smaller beaches located west and east of the main beach.Several beaches west of Guardalavaca have also been developed for tourism but here is no housing for Cubans and little infrastructure outside of the hotels.

These beaches include 3 resort area's;5km to the west is Playa Esmeralda, and several smaller beaches at Bahia de Naranjo nature reserve. -10km to the west is Playa Yuraguanal and Playa Pesquero. All of these beaches feature coral sand and are protected by coralreefs and feature all-inclusive hotels.



"Guardalavaca" literally means "guard the cow" in Spanish. There are several accounts as to how this name may have originated; one version maintains that Guardalavaca is a malapropism for its original name Guardalabarca, meaning "guard the ship". Since most people from that region (lower - middle class) do not pronounce the "r" (their way of speaking), the name stuck from Guardalabarca to Guardalavaca. The area was once heavily targeted by sea pirates, and Bahía de Naranjo[1] near what is now the town of Guardalavaca is a secluded shallow bay connected to the open sea by a narrow inlet, which made it a proper safe haven to guard ships against pirates. On the other hand, the name may have originated from pirates going after the cattle grazing in the area. As pirates were spotted, the local farmers would thus shout, "Guardalavaca" - guard the cow.

The Cuban government has attempted on several occasions to change the name of the area as they deem it not to be very appealing; they have so far been unsuccessful.


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