Monday, April 13, 2009

Cayo Largo del Sur

Our fourth trip to Cuba was to yet another very different destination. Cayo Largo del Sur is a key off the northwest coast of the main island and is off the beaten track for most tourists.

Much less developed than other destinations, its attractions include many kilometres of undeveloped beach, protected ecological features, and fascinating reptile and bird life.

This Google Earth map is borrowed from, a website developed by a couple from Quebec who are fans of the destination and who have compiled the best single website about this largely-undiscovered gem.

The island was uninhabited when a handful of European resort developers got permission for limited construction after Cuba was opened to foreign tourism investment partnerships. (The other "partner" being, universally, the government of Cuba.) Today there is a small airport which allows direct flights from Canada, Europe and South America, a marina (deep-sea fishing is very popular and a number of private yachts were moored there), and a small town which has been created to house resort staff who fly in for multi-week shifts from surrounding communities. (We met several who live in communities on the nearby Isla de Juventud.)

Today there are three resorts operating along Playa Lindamar and Playa Blanca, and a handful of businesses which support and service them and their clients.

The result is a place which offers a traveler a wide variety of experiences all within a few kilometres of each other. On any given day you can just enjoy the resort experience, with spas, salons, restaurants, bars, and the pool; hang out on the beach, including areas at the fringes of the main beach which are unofficial naturist areas; rent a scooter, jeep or bicycle and roam along the island's roads; wander for hours along kilometres of undeveloped beach; take a deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, or snorkeling tour; or take one of the many available excursions to places like the Isla de Juventud, Havana, or Cayo Iguana (Iguana Island) - among others.

I mentioned protected ecosystems - the dunes between the resort developments and the actual beach are protected, and signs remind tourists to stick to designated walkways when going from their rooms to the surf.

In fact, it would be very hard not to; the route would be very rough going if not for the boardwalks that have been created to get the surf-seeker from room to beach. Note the sign urging parents to take childrens' hands. It's quite a steep drop off these walkways at midpoint! (The land drops off just after that copse of bushes.)

These walkways are strung along at intervals between the developments and the beach.

Every single day in this place was a whole new adventure. We did so much in seven short days that I'll need to blog it in bite-sized pieces.

For now, we're all back home again, the four of us, and work tomorrow. But a head full of incredible memories again.


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Blogger Xtreme English said...

oh, wow!!! Qubert again!!! i've almost persuaded my oldest grandson and his wife & mother-in-law to go there for Christmas. when you've got the time, pls be so kind as to send more info re how to book this, etc. we'd probly have to fly from canada, but who knows? this past weekend, our dear president just opened up travel to Cuba!! can't wait to go! also, pls give me some idea of the COST of all this. many thanks!!

9:02 p.m.  

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