Hotels - Playa Larga

About  Playa Larga

Playa Larga is a budget hotel on a pretty beach which will particularly suit bird-watchers, military enthusiasts & those who enjoy diving & snorkelling.

Playa Larga is a good choice for anyone wanting an inexpensive base in this relatively remote area. The austere bungalows are brightly painted, maintenance problems are swiftly addressed & the standard of food & service actually belies the hotel’s 2-star rating. In short, don’t believe the hype.

Playa Larga’s reception & restaurant are right on the beach so you can step outside to picturesque views & a cool ocean breeze. The beach is small but never feels crowded while the hotel buildings are nicely spaced out around well maintained gardens. The standard of food is more than adequate though the restaurant menu is limited. There is also a snack bar & bars at the lobby, pool & beach, with more bars & restaurants in the nearby town of Playa Larga.

In addition to the hotel’s swimming pool there are organised activities such as hiking, bird-watching & volleyball on the beach. The area is also ideal for snorkelling & scuba diving with particularly memorable cave diving. Playa Larga hotel sits at one end of the Bay of Pigs & there are dozens of reminders of the famous action & a museum along the coast in Playa Giron. However, Playa Larga is arguably most popular with bird watchers exploring the Zapata national park.

Hotel Playa Larga has so many places of interest on its doorstep &, with limited facilities, is likely to attract only those looking to use it as a base for exploring them. But this is a good, inexpensive 2-star option which is surprisingly comfortable & has great access to the area’s attractions.

Carretera Playa Giron, Península de Zapata, Matanzas

Fiesta Campesina Farm

Fiesta Campesina is a casual farm-cum-zoo where visitors can see two of Cuba's distinctive animals: the manjuarí, a primitive water creature with an alligator-like head and a fish body, and the jutía, a large-eared, muskrat-like tree rat, once prized for guajiro stews. Around the farm yard there are other animals such as: deer, peacocks, rabbits, ducks, and guinea fowl. There are souvenir kiosks scattered around, and an open-air restaurant mostly set up for tour-group buffets. At the guarapa bar, you can buy a glass of fresh-pressed cane juice, with or without rum. The musical entertainment is provided by a caged Cuban Bullfinch, a small black bird, so prized for its song that Cubans organize bird-song competitions. 

Playa Larga, Península de Zapata, Matanzas

Zapata Swamp National Park

The Zapata National Park was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park covers an area of 4,520 km2 (1,641 miles2) encompassing mangroves, cactus, dry woods, savannahs, salt pans and forest, providing habitat for reptiles, mammals, and many birds. Bird-watchers from all over the world flock to this national park in hopes of feasting their eyes on some 190 bird species, including 21 endemic species such as the eponymous Zapata Rail and Zapata Wren, along with the red, white, and blue tocororo—Cuba's national bird and the zunzuncito (Bee Hummingbird), the smallest bird in the world. Even if you're not a passionate birder, you can still enjoy watching a mass of wading birds—flamingos, wood storks, sandhill cranes—feeding here. There are many marine and freshwater fish in the area, including Manjuaríes, which are considered to be living fossils because of the primitive nature of their bodies. Many pre-Columbian archaeological remains have been found on the Zapata Peninsula, and the region’s history also includes the narrow channels that early inhabitants dug to facilitate river travel. The main access to the park is via Playa Larga at the head of the Bahía de los Cochinos. 

Península de Zapata, Matanzas

Guamá Crocodile Breeding Farm

Approximately 10 000 specimens of the 16 species of crocodiles are raised at the Crocodile Breeding Farm in Guamá, Zapata peninsula, approximately 100 km from Varadero. The original enterprise was the idea of Celia Sánchez, one of Fidel Castro's close companions and advisers, who was determined to restore the failing crocodile and caiman populations in the Zapata Swamp. Visitors may view the Cuban and American species as they sleep in the mud or taste its meat at the neighboring restaurant that specializes in exotic dishes.

Península de Zapata, Matanzas

Treasure Lagoon

Treasure Lagoon is located at east of Boca de Guama, and it’s reached by boat a canal of 4 km (2½ miles) into the lagoon. According to legend, Taíno aboriginals dumped gold and other loot in this lake to hide it from the Spanish. No treasure has ever been found, although Taíno relics have been recovered from the lake and are now displayed in the Guamá Museum. A lifelike recreation of a Taíno village spans across several small islands. This impressive replica has 32 life-size figures of Taínos going about their daily business, was created by Cuban sculptor Rita Longa.

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