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What to do in Playas Larga & Girón

LOCAL TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

The Ciénaga de Zapata Natural Park is one of the most important ecosystems in Cuba and the most extensive wetland area of the Caribbean. This territory, located in the south of the Matanzas province and 157 km  southeast of Havana, is the home to 900 autochthonous plant species 115 of which are endemic cuban species and 5 of which are strictly local. The forest fauna comprises numerous mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, as well as a variety of insects and other invertebrates. It is also a Cuban crocodile haven. One of Park’s most significant freshwater inhabitants is undoubtedly the Cuban gar (manjuarí), a prehistoric fish, while the marine ‘celebrity’ is definitely the manatee (manatí), the only herbivorous marine mammal on the planet. Almost a half of the known Cuban bird species are either temporary or permanent inhabitants of this Natural Park.

OPEN SEA DIVING

Along the coastline of the Bay of Pigs there are dozens of diving spots where the well preserved seafloor of this region can be accessed from the coast and five diving stations with facilities for refilling scuba tanks and acquiring diving equipment in Playa Larga, Cueva de los Peces, Punta Perdices, Playa Girón and Caleta Buena, managed by certified trainers, whose qualifications are recognised by international organisations. These diving centres can offer you night diving sessions and a variety of cave diving trips.

HIKING

A number of hiking trails have been approved by the Scientific Authorities of the Zapata peninsula in order to enable interaction with nature and its preservation. The spectacular beauty of the area can be appreciated in its wooded formations, geographical features and diverse fauna.

FLY FISHING IN THE HATIGUANICO RIVER

This fascinating sport, fly fishing for species such as American shad, sea bass, barracuda and others in the wide Hatiguanico river accessed via Autopista Nacional (104th km) in the western zone of the Zapata peninsula, enables you to catch many nice specimens throughout the year, with the assistance of a specialised guide.

FLY FISHING IN SALINAS DE BRITO

Fly fishing technique used in catching a much-desired species such as bonefish, butterfish or shad can be practised successfully throughout the year in wide and crystal clear waters of Las Salinas de Brito, always in the company of expert guides or professionals, who will take you there in a motor boat and take due care to protect the environment of the natural reserve.

BIRD WATCHING

This special and interesting tourist activity can be undertaken in different parts of the Zapata peninsula, however, the most important places to point out are the following: the migratory bird sanctuary in Las Salinas, the hiking trails of Bermejas, Soplillar, Los Hondones and Santo Tomas, where a large number of migratory species can be observed; the natural habitat of endemic species in the area of Gallinuela de Santo Tomas, el Cabrerito de la Ciénaga and Pájaro mosca or Zunzuncito. All these localities can be visited with a professional guide.

VISIT TO THE CROCODILE BREEDING CENTRE

In Boca de Guama visitors can find the country’s biggest crocodile breeding centre and find out about crocodile protection and preservation of the species in a calm and pleasant environment. Other services are offered there as well.

ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGNER CENTRES

 A tourist activity for specialists or people interested in the protection and preservation of the species in danger of extinction. There is a number of scientific centres specialised in this field open to the public on the Zapata peninsula: Parrot Breeding Centre (Sinú), Duck Channel, the Hydrobiology Centre for the Reproduction of the Cuban gar – the living fossile, the Regional Botanic Centre, etc.

SNORKELING

The eastern coast of the Bay of Pigs is ideal for snorkeling due to its extraordinary coral formations which are practically visible from the sea surface.

VISIT TO THE ALDEA TAINA OF GUAMA

 Speed boat rides across Laguna del Tesoro, the biggest freshwater lake in Cuba and its channels, will enable you to see bird species such as an osprey, and, if you are lucky, a manatee during the ride towards Guama on your way to visit Aldea Taina, a sculpture exhibition by the famous Cuban sculptress Rita Longa, which represents the culture of the native Cubans. You will also be able to admire the exceptional architecture of the Guamá hotel and its amazing environment.

CARIBBEAN BEACH TRIPS

The Bay of Pigs is the best place in the western region of the country for sunbathing, enjoying beach activities and swimming in the real Caribbean Sea. Discover the sandy beaches of Playa Larga y Playa Girón.

VISITS TO MUSEUMS

 In this area you can visit 2 museums: the Memorial of the 50th Anniversary, where you can see how people of this region lived before the triumph of the Revolution and the Victory Museum of  Playa Girón, where you can learn about the details of the mercenary invasion in 1961.