Cayo Largo

Cayo Largo is at the eastern end of the Archipiélago de los Canarreos, 114 km east of Isla de la Juventud and 80 km south of the Península de Zapata. It is a long, thin, coral island, 26 km long and no more than 2 km wide. There are beautiful white sandy beaches protected by a reef, all along the southern coast which, together with the crystal clear, warm waters of the Caribbean, make it ideal for tourism. A string of hotels lines the southern tip of the island and these are practically the only employers on the island. The economy depends entirely on tourism. The northern coast is mostly mangrove and swamp, housing hungry mosquitoes as well as numerous birds (pelicans being the most visible) and iguanas. There are few Cubans on the island and the westernized, 'all-inclusive' nature of the place doesn't really recommend it to anyone wanting to see Cuba. On the other hand, if you want a few days on the beach with nothing but watersports to entertain you, then you should enjoy the resort. If you prefer your beach holiday with literally nothing, nudism is tolerated in certain spots.

Ins and outs

Getting there and around

Flights
come in from Milan, Frankfurt, Toronto and Montréal and there are daily flights to and from Havana with weekly
excursions
from other tourist centres, such as Varadero, Cienfuegos, Pinar del Río, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. Day trips from Havana include transfers and lunch but you have to pay extra for watersports and boat trips; two-day, one-night packages with meals, drinks, transfers and a half-day snorkelling excursion are also available. You can hire a
car
,
scooter
or bicycle from your hotel to explore Cayo Largo, or book a place on an organized
tour
to see the island and some of the smaller cays.

Tourist information

There are tourist information bureaux in the hotels which will sell you excursions and tell you whatever you need to know. For online information, www.cayolargodelsur.cu; www.cayolargo.net, with information and a travellers' forum; www.cayolargodelsur.org.

Around the island

The best beach on the island is
Playa Sirena
, which faces west and is spared any wind or currents, which sometimes affect the southern beaches. It is also spared any hotels along its 2 km of white sand and so everyone comes on a day trip (a shuttle bus runs from the hotels). It has a restaurant, bar, shops and watersports. South of Playa Sirena are Playa Paraíso, which has a bar and
palapas
, also on the shuttle route, and Punta Mal Tiempo. The beach on which all the hotels are situated is Playa Lindamar. If there is a problem with the weather and the currents become dangerous, red flags will be flown to forbid swimming. Further east are the deserted beaches of
Playa Blanca
,
Playa Los Cocos
, and, in the northeast,
Playa Tortuga
, the main beaches where turtles lay their eggs. There is a turtle farm,
Criadero de Tortugas Granja de los Quelonios
. Tame iguanas can be spotted at the nearby
Cayo Rico
(day trips available from Cayo Largo) and also on the appropriately named
Cayo Iguana
.
Cayos Rosario
and
Avalos
, between Juventud and Largo, have not yet been developed. Catamarans make daily cruises to the neighbouring cays.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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