The Caribe and Tropical sectors of the former Barcelo are now administered by the hotel group Blue Diamond. The Memories Paraiso Beach Resort and Memories Azul Beach Resort. In July 2012, Barcelo left the island of Cayo Santa Maria, and now HUSA hoteles group (Spanish) administers this hotel with the official name HUSA Cayo Santa Maria.
The hotel Royal Hideaway Ensenachos is now the Iberostar Ensenachos. The water park is finally completed as well as other services like restaurants and bars.
The hotel who was supposed to be administered by the Sirenis group is now the Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria run by the Gaviota group. It opened its door in Dec. 2011. This is a 4-star hotel of 769 rooms located between the Melia Las Dunas and HUSA Cayo Santa Maria (Colonial sector).
The most-recent hotel to open its door is the Royalton Cayo Santa Maria on December 3rd, 2012. It is administered by the Blue Diamond group. A 5-star hotel of 122 rooms with Butler service. The first real competition to the Melia Buenavista. It is located near the Pueblo La Estrella.
The dolphinarium is in operation. It is the largest in Latin America! You may visit the dolphinarium (3 CUC per person). There is a bar and air conditioned restaurant. The price of drinks and food are ok.
The two « Pueblo » are very nice with lovely architecture. Many services are offered, but they are not part of your all-inclusive package. There is a panoramic bus makes a round trip between the hotels and the two Pueblos. For 1 CUC, it's worth if you want to see Cayo Santa Maria and surrounding areas.
Cayo Santa Maria is always under development. The island should have 10,000 rooms when completed, meaning double that currently. A highway is under construction that would ideally reduce the transfer time to one hour. All the hotels on the island are built by Cuban workers, but developed by the French consortium Bouygues.
The ongoing projects ...
(Click the maniatures to see enlarged images)
Hotel on Playa Piedra Movida (located East of the Memories Azul Beach Resort)
With the help of satellite imagery from Microsoft Bing, I was able to capture this aerial photo of Playa Piedra Movida. I then added notes on this image to show that this hotel as roughly the width as the Melia Las Dunas, so it will not be a small hotel! This portion of Cayo Santa Maria beach is not 100% white sand, but half of its length is old coral reef now emerged. This beach is not like Playa Santa Maria.
A luxury hotel of 846 rooms divided into two sections.
Hotel(s) Perla Blanca (located in the Eastern part of Cayo Santa Maria)
This project began in early 2012. We flew over the island on Dec. 1st, 2012 onboard a flight going to Jamaica. The sky was quite cloudy, but as you can see on the photo, there is more than one construction on the Eastern part of Cayo Santa Maria. This was the last virgin beach on the island of Cayo Santa Maria.
Access to Playa Perla Blanca is now restricted to workers.
The futur projects ...
(information to come)
Golf course Cayo Santa Maria
One of the interesting projects in Cayo Santa Maria is to build an 18-hole golf course. A major investment in Cuba! Note that there is only one 18-hole golf course in Cuba, it is in Varadero. Golfers will be happy to read these lines!
Water park Cayo Santa Maria
The only water park in the region is for children in the Suite Park section at the Hotel Iberostar Ensenachos. As for the golf course project, this is a major investment. We do not know in which area this water park will be built.