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Luxury Winter Getaways: Unique Sun Destinations to Escape the Cold this Season

Updated: Jan 31

When that cold winter wind sets in, many long to escape the dark dreary days with a luxury winter getaway in the sun. With so many destinations and accommodations available, how do you choose the best winter getaway for you?


Coral Fan on the Beach, Cayo Largo, Cuba
Coral Fan on the Beach, Cayo Largo, Cuba

With an endless number of resorts available on thousands of beautiful beaches, it can be overwhelming to choose, or even narrow the options for a sunny winter escape. We always begin by looking for that little bit extra, that special something that makes it unique, (that could help make it a trip of a lifetime), like sun destinations that offer a different experience.


 

Note: We only link to products and services that we have either used or would use, all opinions expressed are our own. Some may be affiliate links, with which we may receive a small commission for purchases made.

 

We tend to opt for unique locations that cater to privacy in a natural surrounding and offer unique (and unforgettable) experiences. Luxury accommodations can be subjective, depending on the level of luxury you're comfortable with, from large all-inclusive adults-only resorts to secluded private over-water bungalows.



Overwater bungalow, Hurawalhi Maldives
Overwater bungalow, Hurawalhi Maldives

These are the most luxurious (and unique) winter getaways we've had the privilege of experiencing, and would recommend as a unique sun destination to escape the cold:




Costa Rica is more than just a sun destination, for us Costa Rica is a second home. We've travelled to Costa Rica almost annually over the last decade, returning to the people and places we love, and even got married within the cloud forests of Monteverde, but it all began with a trip to the RIU.


RIU Palace, Costa Rica
RIU Palace, Costa Rica

On our first visit, we booked the RIU Guanacaste, a mid-range resort in the typical RIU bundle of resorts, the first built in the area. Set on a beautiful volcanic sand of Matapalo beach, the surroundings are lush and the accommodations colourful and comfortable. We fell so in love with the pura vida way of life and the generous and friendly ticos, that we had to go back.


On our second visit (the following year) we booked the neighbouring resort, the RIU Palace. With its stark white building and luxe décor, the RIU Palace focuses on privacy and relaxation. While the RIU Guanacaste has more music and entertainment options, RIU Palace has subdued music on the grounds, luxury accommodations with jacuzzi tubs standard in the rooms, and better quality food and alcohol options. Added bonus of staying at the RIU Palace Costa Rica, is free access to the RIU Guanacaste, including restaurants, pools and nighttime entertainment.



Sunset on the Beach, RIU Palace, Costa Rica
Sunset on the Beach, RIU Palace, Costa Rica

We returned to the RIU Palace two more times, before we evolved to renting private accommodations, but sometimes long to return just to experience its relaxing all-inclusive luxury.


Why choose RIU Palace, Costa Rica as a luxury winter getaway?


Luxury Attributes:

  • All-inclusive (24hrs). Buffet, themed restaurants and room service, with wide range of food options.

  • Access to delicious coffee bar and 24hr game room (with snacks).

  • Standard rooms are spacious with either a sea or jungle view, with large jacuzzi tub in the main room.

  • Spa services available, with free access to the gym, the luxurious hot tub and saunas.

  • Multiple pools (including swim up bar) with canopy beds, in-water sun beds and quiet shaded areas.


Unique Attributes & Experiences:

  • Access to Monkey Bar, located on the public beach, where its possible to see Monkeys daily.

  • Access to local tour guides who offer unique experiences (beyond RIU excursion offers).

  • Access to "private" beach (if willing to climb over the rocks at the end of Matapalo Beach).

  • Access to neighbouring Splash Water World and Diamante Eco Adventure Park.



The standard rooms at the RIU Palace begin with a Junior Suite. In addition to a large shower in the bathroom, each room is equipped with a large jacuzzi tub in the main room, with a curtain for privacy (if needed). We found this very luxurious and romantic. All rooms have the option of a jungle or sea view. We highly recommend the jungle view, as they offer more privacy. Located on the sides, facing the forests and away from the pools, they are quiet and relaxing.



Standard room, RIU Palace, Decorated for a Birthday, Costa Rica
Standard room, RIU Palace, Decorated for a Birthday, Costa Rica

Though we never indulged in the pay spa services offered, we visited the spa and the hot tub daily. The steam rooms are located in the individual change rooms but the hot tub is unisex and shared. It is a large circular tub in a huge open room with a Grecian theme. The tub has many jets with a giant urn in the center than spills water on each side. In our experience, many don't venture to the spa, so we often relaxed alone.


Beaches are public in Costa Rica, but there is access to loungers and drinks close to the resort. Local tour guides will gently approach you about excursions, and we highly recommend booking through Alex on the Beach. If you want to read more about our experiences with Alex on the Beach, click here for our in depth review of their services.



Howler Monkey in the trees, Costa Rica
Howler Monkey in the trees, Costa Rica

The beautiful volcanic sand of Matapalo beach is wide and easy to walk (but does get very hot). Staying to the left, more than half way down the beach there is a sandy path that leads you to the Monkey Bar, a local restaurant with great food and drinks. For a unique animal encounter, venture very early in the morning, and you can find white-faced monkeys and see howler monkeys hanging out in the trees.


Beyond Monkey Bar, walking to the end of the beach, you will encounter a rocky shoreline and large hill that marks the end. If the tide is low (and you're brave) you can climb over the rocks to a "private" white sand beach located on the other side. There is also a path that leads you up and over the hill to the same beach. We visited this beach on every visit, brining water and snacks with us to have a private picnic.



Secret Beach over the Rocks, Costa Rica
Secret Beach over the Rocks, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for zip-lining, which is offered at the nearby Diamante Eco Park, along with access to their wildlife sanctuary, where you can see many animals (including sloths) up close and personal. We have zip-lined many times in Costa Rica, but this was the only place where we were adventurous enough to try the exhilarating "superman" zip-line. Definitely a thrilling, unique experience to remember.





Visiting Mexico was born out of the need to secretly get away from it all and hide ourselves on a white sand beach. Though we had both visited Mexico on separate occasions, this was our first experience as a couple. The Beloved Playa Mujeres is an adults-only, all-inclusive boutique resort in Cancun, Mexico, that caters specifically to couples, offering luxurious privacy in a romantic setting.


Beach off of Beloved Playa Mujeres Resort, Mexico
Beach off of Beloved Playa Mujeres Resort, Mexico

Nestled on a white sand beach next to larger resorts, the Beloved Playa Mujeres feels like being invited into a secret luxury club for VIPs. The pristine resort is tastefully decorated in a minimalist but luxurious elegance of white stone and natural colours, beautifully designed for maximum privacy.


What impressed us the most about our Beloved Playa Mujeres luxury escape, were the little extras, the care and attention to detail that made every experience special. From the champagne welcome, to personal greetings at the restaurants, to the hidden cabinets to discard room service plates, everything at Beloved was easy and relaxing.



Beloved Playa Mujeres Resort, Mexico
Beloved Playa Mujeres Resort, Mexico

Why choose Beloved Playa Mujeres, Mexico as a luxury winter getaway?


Luxury Attributes: 

  • All-inclusive, gourmet restaurants and room service, with wide range of food options.

  • Huge standard rooms with indoor/outdoor jacuzzi tub and private bar, plus turn down service.

  • Spa services available, with invigorating hydrotherapy circuit.

  • Multiple pools (including swim up bar) with plenty of loungers and quiet shaded areas.

  • Exceptional one on one service, catered to couples.


Unique Attributes & Experiences:

  • Bookable private beach canopy, with private beds, champagne and food services.

  • Easy access to nearby Isla Mujeres.

  • Access to unique swimming with whale sharks excursions.

  • Access to nearby Mayan ruins sites: Xcaret, Chichen Itza and Tulum.



The exceptional service began before we even set foot on the property. The Beloved Playa Mujeres resort is located in a gated community, where your security is highest priority. Champagne in hand, they took care of everything for us. For a more in depth review of the resort and our experience, click here.



Beloved Playa Mujeres Resort, Mexico
Beloved Playa Mujeres Resort, Mexico

The standard room begins with an oversized junior suite, with large balcony (large enough to fit a bed), private bar stocked with drinks and snacks, walk-in closet, and a huge shower that could overlook the bedroom. The jacuzzi was situated inside but adjacent to the balcony, with panels that opened for exposure, or closed for privacy. Each evening, as we were at dinner, the room was prepped for sleep with their complimentary turn down service. Since we were only staying for a short getaway, we opted for the most economical available room, but this boutique hotel offers many others, some with private outdoor spaces and plunge pools.



The pools were lovely, but we prefer the beach. Beloved Playa Mujeres is surrounded by soft, white sand. The beach area is well equipped with loungers and palm umbrellas for shade, with full service. For the ultimate in luxury and privacy, Beloved Playa Mujeres offered bookable canopies, where couples could lounge in the shade, on individual beds, sipping champagne and ordering from a full service menu. Patrons are also provided a gift pack of luxurious products. It is perfect for those looking to enjoy the beach in luxurious privacy. We booked it every single day.


Beyond the resort, there is much to explore, with access to the beautiful Isla Mujeres and nearby ruins and unique historical sites. Beloved Playa Mujeres is uniquely situated to allow easy access to the sites of Xcaret (where you can swim in an underground river), Chichen Itza (where you can marvel at one of the most recognizable Mayan temples) and Tulum (where you can visit some of the most impressive Mayan ruins).



Swimming with Whale Sharks, Mexico
Swimming with Whale Sharks, Mexico

We took a ferry over to Isla Mujeres, an easy 20m ride, in order to meet our private boat. We experienced one of the most unique animal encounters while staying at the Beloved Playa Mujeres resort: swimming with whale sharks. Bookable through a variety of local tour companies, patrons can brave the deep ocean in search of these gentle giants, and have the unique opportunity to share the same space in the water as they feed.

To read an in depth and detailed review of our experience with snorkelling with whale sharks in Mexico, click here. It was one of the most unforgettable experiences we've ever had.




Located in Ocho Rios, visiting Couples San Souci was our second trip to Jamaica. We longed for warm, sunny days lounging on the beach with delicious Jamaican rum cream in our hands, and Couples San Souci did not disappoint. This all-inclusive resort that caters specifically to couples, is something different than your typical all-inclusive beach holiday.


Couples San Souci Resort, Jamaica
Couples San Souci Resort, Jamaica

Stretched out over a large area, the resort hugs the coastline, creating hideaways and secret spots for privacy and relaxation. Multiple pools, Jacuzzis and even a natural grotto are hidden, some in amongst the trees. In addition to the main beach area (equipped with shaded loungers), there is a completely separate "au naturel" pool and beach area (if you are so inclined).


What impressed us the most about the Couples San Souci, Jamaica, was its ability to seem so small and private, on such a vast resort. The spa is tucked away at one end of the resort, with private cabanas for the massage services. It felt in many ways, as if you moved into a small village, and every day, were exploring along the stone pathways to see what the area had to offer.



Couples San Souci Resort, Jamaica
Couples San Souci Resort, Jamaica

Why choose Couples San Souci, Jamaica as a luxury winter getaway?


Luxury Attributes: 

  • All-inclusive, great restaurants and room service, with wide range of food options.

  • Huge standard rooms with oversized balcony.

  • Spa services available, with outdoor stone huts for massage services, overlooking the water.

  • Multiple pools and Jacuzzis scattered throughout the resort.


Unique Attributes & Experiences:

  • Large resort with multiple hideaways and stone pathways.

  • Separate "au natural" area, with beach and pool access.

  • Natural grotto and hidden hot tub, nestled in the trees.

  • Special nights, including wine tasting, cocktail hours and outdoor Gala and cabaret.



When we visited Couples San Souci, Jamaica, we wanted more than a beach. Though we wanted to spend the majority of our time lounging by the water, we needed something more. The layout of the Couples San Souci resort is unique, with restaurants, pools and special areas scattered throughout, guests must walk along the stone pathways or along the beach to reach them. Every new level provides a different angle and beautiful view of the surrounding water. There is even a small gazebo tucked away, where we witnessed a wedding being performed.



Wedding Gazebo, Couples San Souci, Jamaica
Wedding Gazebo, Couples San Souci, Jamaica

There is something fun and exciting about exploring a new area when you know there are secrets around every corner. We enjoying exploring different paths to see what we would discover. From the main pool, there are steps emerging from what appears to be a tree-lined cliff face. We climbed the steps and reached a secret hot tub shaded by the trees on one end and the natural grotto on the other. Once we knew where they were, we returned, often at night, to soak in absolute privacy.



Secret Grotto, Couples San Souci Resort, Jamaica
Secret Grotto, Couples San Souci Resort, Jamaica

When we visited, the only complaint we had about Couples San Souci, was that the room décor appeared outdated. The size of the standard rooms are huge, with an equally large balcony, but the furniture seemed out of place and in need of an upgrade. Since then, we are happy to see that all the room have been beautifully renovated with stylish and high-end furnishings. One of our favourite memories, was the nightly serenade while we prepped for dinner. In our rooms, the soft sound of a lone saxophonist walking along the pathways would instantly relax us.


Speaking of dinner, the food was fabulous. The breakfast buffet was vast and filling (especially with morning mimosas) and the lunch and dinner options wonderful. One of the unique activities at Couples San Souci, were the special evening events and Gala nights. On certain days of the week, guests are invited to wine tastings, cocktail hours and even an outdoor Gala, where all guests enjoy an outdoor buffet and cabaret show.



View from balcony, Couples San Souci, Jamaica
View from balcony, Couples San Souci, Jamaica

It was at the Gala that we sat with other guests and mingled, discovering that many indulged in the nude beach area during the day. We were not so inclined to participate, but appreciated that those who were, were given the upmost respect and privacy to do so. We simply lounged on the main beach, wading into the crystal clear waters to cool off, sipping on Jamaican rum cream. Seriously, try the rum cream, it's heaven in a glass.





Ah, the Maldives. No other destination makes us sigh with such longing, thrilled that we had the unique opportunity to visit and saddened that we can't be there right now. Travelling to the Maldives, was for us (and is for most) a trip of a lifetime. Often reserved for honeymooners, it is a unique destination with private island resorts, often only accessible by sea plane.


Path to Overwater Bungalows, Hurawalhi Maldives
Path to Overwater Bungalows, Hurawalhi Maldives

We were mesmerized by the island resort and determined to visit. Having spent a week in absolute adults-only luxury, we think back on that trip often, knowing full well that the level of comfort, privacy, luxury and cuisine we experienced at Hurawalhi Island Resort, Maldives, has ruined us for everything else. To read more about our experience in the Maldives, click here for an overall summary.


Having booked an overwater bungalow with plunge pool, we had direct access to the house reef. We have never snorkelled as much as we did during our stay at Hurawalhi Maldives. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, the house reef offers views of corals and unique sea life. Having booked with the on-site Marine Biologist, we swam with sharks, dolphins, massive sea turtles and countless schools of unique fish.



Snorkelling, Hurawalhi Maldives
Snorkelling, Hurawalhi Maldives

From start to end, our luxury getaway at Hurawalhi Island Resort, Maldives was a dream come true. Nothing felt real, everything was beyond our wildest dreams. If you're looking for a perfect winter escape, this is it.


Why choose Hurawalhi Island, Maldives as a luxury winter getaway?


Luxury Attributes: 

  • All-inclusive available, unbelievable restaurants and room service, with wide range of food options.

  • Huge standard rooms, either beach bungalows or overwater bungalows with direct water access.

  • Turn-down service, pillow menu and in room coffee, snacks and alcohol.

  • Spa services available, with luxurious massages overlooking the water.

  • First-class one-on-one service, with dedicated concierge, restaurant and room attendant.


Unique Attributes & Experiences:

  • 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, the second largest underwater restaurant in the world.

  • Access to Dream Island, where you can be "marooned" for hours.

  • Access to on-site Marine Biologist for snorkelling and Manta Ray excursions.

  • Sunset cruise with dolphins and night snorkelling.



Located on the Lhaviyani Atoll, Hurawalhi Island Resort is only accessible by sea plane from Male, followed by a quick boat ride from the neighbouring island. No resort has felt so remote, so beautifully secluded. It is the lone resort on the small island, with beach bungalows nestled on land and beautiful overwater bungalows extending off a winding pier. We were extremely lucky to be placed in the furthest most overwater bungalow, which allowed for extreme privacy. If the day was hot or we were feeling particularly tired, a quick call to our personal concierge and a golf cart would arrive to take us directly to where we needed to be.



Outdoor seating, Main Restaurant, Hurawalhi Maldives
Outdoor seating, Main Restaurant, Hurawalhi Maldives

Our bungalow was equipped with a huge back deck, with large plunge pool that overlooked the house reef. Every evening, while we were at dinner, our dedicated room attendant turned down the room, prepping it sleep, and leaving us delectable treats and gifts. Every morning, we rose early to watch the glorious sunrise on the deck, enjoying those delectable treats with our in room coffee, after which we were almost always treated to watching schools of dolphins swim by and jump out of the water.



With all meals that we enjoyed in the main buffet restaurant, we were attended to by our personal restaurant concierge, who remembered our names, our orders and where we preferred to sit. On the off chance that we would dine at the buffet on our anniversary, he decorated our favourite table with coloured rice and flowers as a special surprise. The food itself was like no ordinary buffet. The options were endless and the quality of the food unbelievable. We have never been so spoiled with gourmet dishes, every single day.


One of the most unique and extraordinary meals we had was in the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, located on the Hurawalhi Island Resort. Having booked a lunch sitting, we were provided with a delicious five-course meal, watching the fish swim around us. For an in depth and honest review of our experience at the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, click here for details.


5.8 Undersea Restaurant, Hurawalhi Maldives
5.8 Undersea Restaurant, Hurawalhi Maldives

With an on-site marine Biologist, Hurawalhi Maldives has the unique opportunity to provide guests with that something extra on water excursions. We booked multiple snorkelling excursions, in search of the timid manta rays, swam with reef sharks and giant sea turtles. To read more about our snorkelling experiences in the Maldives, click here.


One unique water experience, was booking the sunset cruise and night snorkel. Alone with the captain and guide, we joined other boats at sunset to cheer and sing and large schools of dolphins swam in the bubbles the boats created. Once the sun went down, we headed into the water with nothing but flashlights for a thrilling night snorkel, where we encountered a large nurse shark. To read more about that experience with night snorkelling, click here.



Dream Island, Hurawalhi Maldives
Dream Island, Hurawalhi Maldives

The most unique and luxurious experience, by far, was the opportunity to be marooned on Dream Island. Located just off of the main island, visible from our overwater bungalow, was a small patch of sand surrounded by water. Bookable through Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, we were transported onto the island, provided a picnic lunch and satellite phone for emergencies, then left alone for hours. We ate in the shaded cabana, snorkelled in the surrounding waters and explored the beach island at our leisure. It was, just like everything else on Hurawalhi Island Resort, Maldives, just perfect.




The island of Mauritius, in our humble opinion, is the definition of unique; a kaleidoscope of cultures, flavours, languages, faith and tragedy that is embedded its history. Located on a less populated side of the island, along a huge beachscape, LUX Le Morne is a vast resort, built in the shadow of the towering Le Morne Brabant Mountain. We were looking for something different, and Mauritius delivered.


LUX Le Morne Resort, Mauritius
LUX Le Morne Resort, Mauritius

Sprawled across a huge landscape, guests are provided individual cabins, each with an outdoor area that either faces the beach or the lagoon. We spent many hours lounging in the shade, or watching the stars at night. Large and spacious, the rooms are equipped with a double shower, both indoor and outdoor.


What attracted us most about LUX Le Morne, Mauritius, were the "surprise" or pop-up elements, including unexpected food stalls, stores and the daily search for the "message in a bottle". What surprised us the most, was learning about the history and visiting the surrounding areas. If you're looking for a winter getaway that will keep you on your toes, this is it.



View from back deck, LUX Le Morne Resort, Mauritius
View from back deck, LUX Le Morne Resort, Mauritius

Why choose LUX Le Morne, Mauritius as a luxury winter getaway?


Luxury Attributes: 

  • All-inclusive available, great restaurants and room service, with wide range of food options.

  • Full beach service, including snacks, drinks and cool-down mist.

  • Huge standard rooms, cabin style, either beach view or lagoon view.

  • Spa services available, including Turkish hammam.


Unique Attributes & Experiences:

  • Daily message in a bottle searches for free prizes.

  • Unexpected pop-ups, including ice cream, hats, drinks and outdoor movie theatre.

  • Access to nearby Le Morne Brabant Mountain, for hiking.

  • Unique opportunity to swim with wild dolphins.

  • Unique excursion to nearby rum factories.

  • Access to multiple sites with the ultra unique coloured hills.



After a long flight, we found ourselves lounging on the beach on LUX Le Morne Resort in Mauritius, sipping drinks and completely relaxed. It wasn't long before we dipped ourselves into the beautiful waters and were mesmerized by the corals and colourful fish that live in the house reef. Located on a less populated side of the island, the resort was full but not over-populated with guests. With plenty of loungers spread along the vast beachscape, it was easy to feel secluded.



Le Morne Brabant Mountain, from the waters off of LUX Le Morne, Mauritius
Le Morne Brabant Mountain, from the waters off of LUX Le Morne, Mauritius

While lounging on the beach, guests are able to order from the drink and lunch menus, but are also surprised with special snacks and hors d'ouvres. Once we were even surprised with a misting machine to help cool us down. Along with a huge buffet restaurant, there are two other restaurants and multiple bars scattered around the resort. The casual beach restaurant (where we had the best heart of palm salad), became one of the most luxurious gourmet restaurants at night.


One of the most unique attributes of LUX Le Morne, are the surprises. Unbeknownst to the guests, pop-ups would appear on certain days, at certain times. A pop-up Ice cream stand would be available at the pool, in the evening, a pop-up cocktail bar would appear on the beach, once a week, a pop-up cinema would assemble under the stars, with chocolates and popcorn provided. The most exciting surprise, was the daily search for the message in a bottle. Every day, five bottles would be hidden on the resort, each with a surprise gift for the luck person who found it and returned it.



Hiking Le Morne Brabant Mountain, Mauritius
Hiking Le Morne Brabant Mountain, Mauritius

Though it was difficult to pull ourselves away from the resort, we did emerge and explore the nearby sites. We visited a local rum distillery to learn about the unique way rum is produced in Mauritius (and sample their wares). We walked away with a limited edition bottle that left everyone speechless. To read more about Mauritius rum and our experience at the rum distillery, click here.


After sampling some local rum, we visited Vallée des Couleurs, also known as the 23 Coloured Earth. Spread over 450 acres of land emerge brightly coloured patches of earth, a unique geological feature. The colours are a phenomenon resulting from the volcanic eruption, unique to Mauritius and this part of the island.


LUX Le Morne would be nothing without Le Morne Brabant Mountain hovering over it. We had the unique opportunity to hike up the side of the mountain with a local shaman, who enlightened us with its tragic history. To read more about the Le Morne Brabant and our experience, click here.



Swimming with Wild Dolphins, Mauritius
Swimming with Wild Dolphins, Mauritius

We spent every day snorkelling in the surrounding waters, enjoying the colours and vibrancy of the corals and fish, but the most exciting and unique experience we shared in Mauritius, was the opportunity to swim with a huge pod of wild dolphins. Though it lasted only a few minutes, the memories of being completely surrounded (and accepted) by a family of wild dolphins will live in our memory forever. To see the video we captured of our underwater adventure with wild dolphins, click here.





Though we had visited Cuba a few times before, this trip was different. It was an impromptu decision to fly out on New Years Eve and celebrate the new year on the beach. We arrived in time for the all-inclusive grand buffet dinner and did just that. Champagne in hand, we snuck off to the beach and celebrated alone.


View from balcony, Memories Cayo Largo, Cuba
View from balcony, Memories Cayo Largo, Cuba

Cuba is known for it's white sandy beaches and Memories Cayo Largo (formerly Sol Cayo Largo), did not disappoint. With two large main beaches, Sirena Beach and Paraíso Beach, guests have plenty of room to span out and relax by the water, listening to the waves crash against the rocks.


What makes Memories Cayo Largo resort stand apart from the rest, is the added seclusion of the small island, the access to nearby uninhabited islands and the fascinating wildlife. We spent most of our days walking along the sandy shore, searching for bright starfish, upside-down jellyfish, huge conch shells and cooling off in the crystal clear waters. Perfect for those who want everything at their fingertips, with the option to relax alone.



Starfish in the shallow water, Cayo Largo, Cuba
Starfish in the shallow water, Cayo Largo, Cuba

Why choose Memories Cayo Largo, Cuba as a luxury winter getaway?


Luxury Attributes: 

  • All-inclusive, multiple restaurants and room service, with good range of food options.

  • Vast resort with large standard rooms with oversized balconies, in small clustered villas.

  • Spa services available, including sauna and Turkish baths.

  • Long walkable white sand beaches.

  • Adults-only pools and Jacuzzis.


Unique Attributes & Experiences:

  • Large island resort with long wooden bridge access to the beaches.

  • Separate "au natural" beach area, located near the resort.

  • Unique excursions to uninhabited islands, with interesting wildlife.

  • Access to nearby turtle rescue and sanctuary.



Located on the small island of Cayo Largo, off the coast of mainland Cuba, Memories Cayo Largo stands apart. The vast resort is littered with pools, hammocks, koi ponds, bridges and works of art, weaving between the many villas, each with large rooms and oversized balconies. We visited before the resort officially became Memories, and the clientele were almost all repeat guests.



Memories Cayo Largo Resort, Cuba
Memories Cayo Largo Resort, Cuba

There is nothing more satisfying than waking up on a beautiful island and walking along a white sandy shore. The gorgeous white sands of Cayo Largo are perfect for just that. Though the beach directly in front of the resort is small, it is just a portion of the beachscape available to the guests. Be sure to stop by the beach-side Chirincuito Bar for a drink along the way.


Walking further along the shore, there are rocky portions, inlets and even an "au naturel" section for those who want to leave it all out in the open. Along the way, the crystal clear waters makes it easy to spot fish, sea urchins and star fish in the shallows.



Paraiso Beach, Cayo Largo, Cuba
Paraiso Beach, Cayo Largo, Cuba

The buffets and restaurants all provided good food quality options and plenty of choice. The pool bar makes one mean mojito! The best meal we had, happened to be on one of the snorkelling excursions, a semi-private tour which included a huge lunch including fresh lobster and Cuban rice. Along with only three other people on a private boat, we were taken to an area known for schools of colourful fish and coral.


Located very close to Memories Cayo Largo, is the Sea Turtle Rescue Center. We had the unique opportunity to visit early one morning, and were guided by one of the sanctuary representatives. For a very small fee, guests can visit, learn about their efforts to save the local turtle population and interact with the many groups of turtles (including the wee babies). Well worth the visit.



Shell Island, Cayo Largo, Cuba
Shell Island, Cayo Largo, Cuba

Our most memorable and unique excursion, was a full-day catamaran tour, which included snorkelling stops and lunch on an uninhabited island, where we encountered large pelicans and the intriguing hutia. After lunch, we were left to explore the island, seeing many starfish, coral, upside-down jellyfish and schools of sandlings along the shore. Before returning to the resort, we stopped at what is referred to as Shell Island. A small sandy island, made entirely of layers of shells packed together by the powerful waves. Inhabited mainly by iguanas, it is surrounded by warm shallow waters.


No matter which (or how) you choose, beach, pool, overwater bungalow, now is the time to escape the winter cold and book that getaway winter vacation in the sun. You deserve it.


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