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Playa Larga, small place, great significance

Playa Larga, a small fishing village on the southern Cuban coast, is the gateway to the Cienaga de Zapata National Park. It is located at the head of the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). It was one of two beaches invaded by US-backed exiles on April 17, 1961 (although Playa Girón, 35km further south, saw far bigger landings). The invasion is famous because it culminated in a victory for the army and Cuban militias.

Located about halfway between Havana and Trinidad, it’s the best base for exploring the Zapata peninsula and the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park, Cuba’s largest wilderness area, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with varied ecosystem of wetlands, mangrove forests, coral reefs and underwater canyons, it’s home to a massive variety of colourful birds and tropical fish.

Amazing birdlife awaits

It’s great for those interested in fauna and flora exploration and bird watching. Its fauna includes 203 species of birds – with 83% endemism present -, 31 types of reptiles and 12 varieties of mammals. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll get the chance to see pink flamingos, the ultimate attraction at the park. t’s very important not to forget to take your mosquito repellent, since they can really ruin the whole excursion.

Unlike most Cuban beachfront towns, Playa Larga has only one beachfront hotel, providing sunbeds and a beachfront bar, which is a perfect place to relax and enjoy some beach time. Alternately you can try the cooler vibe of one of many local terrace bars and restaurants at the town centre.

And what’s below the sea

The best part of Playa Larga is definitely its beach. The clear Caribbean waters with its rich marine fauna, full of corals and exotic fish, makes it a diving paradise. Scuba divers will also find several flooded caves to explore. Those steep-walled depressions in the bare rock are always flooded because they have underground passages that link them to sea. Even if you don’t have your diver’s certificate, snorkeling can be an interesting thing to do.

Once you done in the water, enjoy the beach at Playa Caletón that is bordered by a line of palm trees, which adds a nice exotic touch to it. It is a great place to spend an afternoon at. Play volleyball with the locals, sunbath or just relax in the shadows of palm trees while drinking a Mojito.

Playa Larga is also famous for huge crab invasions. That means you can order crabs in almost every restaurant in the area. At evenings, the streets are covered with plenty of crabs roaming freely all over the place. It’s definitely an interesting thing to see, so don’t miss a chance of checking that out.

Playa Larga is a truly amazing place, to truly discover this place, check out our Simply Birds of Cuba Tour itinerary!