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Playa Rancho Luna is a beautiful beach at the mouth of Cienfuegos Bay, on the southern coast of Cuba. This snorkeling spot is relatively little frequented by tourists, but valued by locals, who come here to enjoy their day with family or friends. The beach offers access to a rather preserved coral reef where one can admire, among elkhorn corals and gorgonians, a multitude of colorful fish.

Sergeants and wrasse at Playa Rancho Luna
In shallow rocky areas, sergeant major and slippery dick abound.

How to get to Playa Rancho Luna snorkeling spot?

Playa Rancho Luna is about 20km south of Cienfuegos city, on the Caribbean coast of Cuba. The beach is located in one of the most beautiful bays of the island. In order to reach Rancho Luna and its beach from Cienfuegos, you can take the bus, the taxi or use your own car. There are parking lots close to restaurants.

Playa Rancho Luna snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Playa Rancho Luna

You can get into the water from any area of the sandy beach. At low tide, the reef flat is exposed and it is advisable to put on your water shoes or fins in order to get into the water.

Playa Rancho Luna snorkeling exploration

The recommended snorkeling area covers the reef which faces Rancho Luna beach. Swimming away from the beach, the first meters are covered with sandy, rocky and grassy seabeds (↕3-6ft/1-2 m).

The seagrass meadows serve as hiding places for many fish, including horse-eye jack, bluehead wrasse, slippery dick and several species of damselfish. Among the rocks, pay attention to sea urchins, which are pretty numerous in the area.

Hard corals reef at Playa Rancho Luna
In some places, reefs of hard coral can be found.

You can only spot the first corals a hundred meters away from the beach, in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can discover one by one a field of yellow and violet sea fans, porous coral pinnacles, but also very beautiful colonies of elkhorn corals (↕12-18ft/4-6 m).

Pay attention to fire corals, which often form extended colonies. In these shallow areas, you can observe many species of fish: blue tang, boxfish, trumpetfish and, with a little luck, a rock beauty.

Sea fan reef at Playa Rancho Luna
Purple and yellow sea fans cover the seabed in some places.

The bay is generally well sheltered. Nevertheless, do not go beyond the reef areas pounded by the waves, which start 200-250 m from the beach.

Restaurants and accommodation in Playa Rancho Luna

Behind the beach there are small restaurants and beach bars. There are also several hard-wall restaurants, one of them being close to the big parking lot. If you want to find accommodation in the bay, you can choose from several casas particulares and hotels, especially Hotel Rancho Luna (on the east side of the beach) and Hotel Faro Luna (on the west end of the bay).


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth18ft/6m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersSea urchins, fire coral.
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.