Cayo Las Brujas is a tiny island of about 7 km2 (2.7 sq. mi) located off the northern coast of the Cuban province of Villa Clara. With its two neighbors, Cayo Ensenachos and Cayo Santa Maria, they together form a beautiful and quiet resort destination with amazing beaches, called "Los Cayos de Villa Clara". These cays are connected to the main island of Cuba by a 48-km (30-mi) causeway (called pedraplen in Spanish), from the coastal town of Caibarien. The construction of the Pedraplen began in 1989 and was completed in 1999, paving the way for the development of mass tourism in these cayos.
The "Cayos de Villa Clara" are part of a larger archipelago called Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens) which is currently one of the most active area in Cuba for tourism development. Once completed, the archipelago should reach a capacity of about 32,000 rooms distributed in the following islands: (from west to east): Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Ensenachos, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Coco, Cayo Paredon Grande and Cayo Cruz. This will then be the largest resort destination in Cuba with twice as many rooms as Varadero. Click the King's Gardens Ilsands link (from the About top-menu) to learn more about the other islands of this archipelago
The 3 "Cayos de Villa Clara" (Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Las Brujas and Cayo Ensenachos) will alone have more than 10,000 hotel-rooms by the end of 2018. Tourism development started first on Cayo Las Brujas in 1999 with the opening of the first hotel in this region, the Villa Las Brujas, followed by Cayo Santa Maria (first hotel in 2001) and Cayo Ensenachos (2005).
There are five new hotels and a small shopping center, "Plaza La Flor de Sal", which are currently under construction on Cayo Las Brujas, openings scheduled between 2016 and 2018, visit the HOTELS section for more information. There’s also a project to build a water park (on Cayo Santa Maria), and a golf course in Dolores, a village located a few kilometers from the town of Caibarien.
There are two international airports serving the King's Gardens: the Cayo Coco Airport, code CCC (Aeropuerto Jardines del Rey) which serves the cayos of the eastern part of the archipelago (Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Paredon, Cayo Cruz), and the Santa Clara Airport, code SNU (Aeropuerto Abel Santamaria) which serves the western cayos (Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Ensenachos) and the province of Villa Clara.
On Cayo Las Brujas, there’s also a local airport for domestic flights; unfortunately the runway is too short for large aircrafts. Are also currently found on Cayo Las Brujas: a marina, a gas station, a snack bar, a dive center and the Hotel Villa Las Brujas. There is a project to build two other marinas on the neighbor island of Cayo Santa Maria; one in “La Ensenada de Oliva” (southwest of hotel Sol Cayo Santa Maria), and the second one in “Punta del Este” (east end of the island) which could even receive cruise ships. The construction of these new marinas has not started yet.
Do you want to know why this island is called "Las Brujas", which means "The Witches"? There is a very peculiar story behind this name, click to discover the legend of "Las Brujas".
With the nearest international airport being located in Santa Clara (the capital of the Villa Clara province), it takes about 80 minutes by bus to reach Cayo Las Brujas from the Abel Santamaria Airport; the first 60 minutes or so are through the Cuban countryside and the towns of Camajuani, Remedios, and Caibarien; and the last 20 minutes on the causeway (el pedraplen) over the sea. The Cuban government has recently built a new road to bypass the village of Remedios. There would also be a project to maybe build a motorway to reach the pedraplen in about 30 minutes, which would allow reaching the cays in about one hour. Note however that the current ride is not monotonous, on the contrary; it gives you the opportunity to visit a bit the region and admire the scenery. Besides, a local guide accompanies each bus carrying tourists to the cayos, he/she describes what we see on the way and talks about the region, the local industry, and about Cuba in general.
About the causeway (pedraplen): On September 12th, 1989, while visiting the area, the former president Fidel Castro assigned the team to start the causeway project; on December 15th, 1989, the first stone was tossed into the sea. This colossal project was the work of the company "Campaña de Las Villas". One of the top priorities was to preserve the environment with the construction of several openings, 46 in total for a total length of 2,298 meters (7539 ft.) of bridges, allowing an uninterrupted flow of ocean currents to minimize damage to the ecosystem of the Bahia de Buenavista. The work has received international recognition, including an award in 2001 for its high economic contribution with the least impact on the environment.
The name "Jardines del Rey" (King's Gardens) takes its origin in the sixteenth century when the conquistador Diego Velazquez (1465-1524) named this archipelago in honor of the King of Spain. "Jardines del Rey" is itself a sub-archipelago which is part of a huge group of islands called Sabana-Camaguey.
It’s obvious that the 10 years of effort required to build the causeway to link the Cayos of Villa Clara with the main island of Cuba, was opening the way to a big tourism development. The area quickly became a popular beach resort detination.
Our cayolasbrujas.info website has been online since 2009 and our cayosantamaria.info website since 2002. They contain thousands of photos and hundreds of web pages about the “Cayos de Villa Clara”. Our websites are updated regularly, and we humbly believe they are the most complete and detailed source of information about these Cuban destinations. Having no business relationship (or otherwise) with any hotel chain or the Cuban government, our websites are created simply and solely for the purpose of keeping you informed about this beautiful Caribbean island that we had the chance to visit dozens of times.
Note that since the spring 2014, Cuban Immigration systematically stamps all passports when entering and leaving the country. And also: Since May 1st, 2015, the Cuban Departure Tax is no longer paid at destination. It should now be included in the price of your trip when buying a flight-only or vacation-package to Cuba.
In October 2013 the Cuban Government announced its intention to eliminate their dual currency system (CUC and CUP). To the best of our knowledge, it seems like no schedule has been officially announced yet for this plan to eliminate the CUC and revalue the CUP; and so far (2016) there's no indication yet about when the CUC will be put out of circulation.
Visit our website that chronicles the announcements and events related to The Cuban Thaw (the warming of USA-Cuba relations) which started in late 2014.
Lily & Normand