This article was originally published on July 29, 2015.
Guanabo Beach is not the kind of beach you'll necessarily find in a tourist guidebook. Although beaches in Cuba are open to everybody — foreigners and nationals alike — there are certain sections of the 3,600 miles of coastline that are more frequented by Cubans, and Guanabo is one of the biggest and most popular of these. It is what we locally call “a beach for Cubans.”
Its proximity to Havana’s downtown allows the city's two million inhabitants easy access in the summer. Beach-going is a big part of Cuban culture — because it's accessible and free. Even during the worst years of the economic crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the struggle for survival left little room for leisure, the beach was one of the few "getaways" Cubans could still enjoy.
Guanabo is also renowned as a beach for families — a place where you go to be with nature and
with your grandparents or your kids. The experience here is typically about relaxing, being yourself, and having a good time. Ahead, we spoke with 10 women who told us what they love about hitting the beach in the summer. Editor's Note: Over the summer, we've spearheaded Take Back The Beach — a collection of work that includes a survey, videos, personal essays, and photo series from beaches across the world. We know women sometimes feel judged and self-conscious when wearing bathing suits, so TBTB encourages women to let go of that fear and head to the beach (or wherever) for their own enjoyment. We reject the idea that women's bodies — on the beach or elsewhere — exist purely for men to enjoy.
Because comments on this article were, in large part, not in line with this mission, we've decided to close the comments section. We wish the conversation could have been more respectful of these honest, fascinating women.