The island is a popular tourist destination, with four all-inclusive resorts located on the north side of the island: Allegro Club Cayo Guillermo (of the Occidental group; formerly the Gran Caribe Villa Cojimar), Iberostar Daiquiri, Melia Cayo Guillermo and the Sol Cayo Guillermo (the last two hotels are owned by the Sol Melia Group). These 4 hotels offer a total of 1161 rooms on the island. The Iberostar group will be opening a second hotel on Cayo Guillermo, the Iberostar Playa Pilar (482 rooms) west of Playa Pilar. Just east of the resorts by the causeway to Cayo Coco is a marina used by yachts, sport fishing and tour boats. One of the country's best beaches, the Playa Pilar (Pilar Beach) is located at the western end of Cayo Guillermo. This beach is named after Ernest Hemingway's yacht, the cabin cruiser Pilar. The island provides the setting for the climax of Hemingway's last novel Islands in the Stream
Access to the island is possible through the Jardines del Rey Airport (Aeropuerto Jardines del Rey) (IATA: CCC, ICAO: MUCC) as well as by means of a long causeway from mainland Cuba to Cayo Coco leading to a second shorter causeway to Cayo Guillermo, connecting the two kays.
Sparsely inhabited in early years by fishermen and charcoal producers, the island gained fame in the 1960s with deep sea fishermen. The first resort was built in 1993 in an era described by critics as "tourist apartheid", as Cuban citizens were not allowed on the island unless they worked at the resorts serving tourists or had other specific permission. However this restriction was lifted after 2000 and Cubans who can afford motor transport often visit Playa Pilar on the island. Many staff who work in the hotels commute from the mainland towns of Morón and Ciego de Avila.
There is little to see other than the beach and the wildlife. Getting out into the real Cuba is highly recommended. A day trip to Moron or an overnight trip to Trinidad or Havana are some of the organised trips on offer.
Hotels have daily entertainment and organised excursions elsewhere in Cuba are available, but are quite expensive.
The safe in the rooms at some hotels in Cayo Guillermo are operated by the same key as the room. This could lead to your wallet being slightly lighter than it was when you put it in at the beginning of your holiday, as you won't need it for the duration of the all-inclusive stay. Somewhat annoying if you choose to tip the cleaner and find out on the bus back to the airport!