POINTS OF INTEREST
Santa Cruz del Norte, 10 km (6 miles) east of Playa Guanabo, is an industrial town that's home to Cuba's greatest distillery, the Ronería Santa Cruz, where the ubiquitous Havana Club rum is made. Don't let the offshore oil rigs or the less than pristine waters here deter you from continuing. Just 3 km (2 miles) east of Santa Cruz is the best and least spoiled of all of the beaches near Havana. Nestled between headlands at the mouth of the Río Jibacoa, its white sands are backed by cliffs that overlook crystal clear, aquamarine waters. Divers will appreciate the coral reefs here, while terrestrial types can follow hiking trails from the beach into the backcountry. The Breezes Hotel here is one of the finest beach hotels in Cuba. Amenities: food and drink; water sports. Best for: snorkeling; walking.