Casa Particular - Playa Larga
Otoniel Cortéz Chávez
Ciénaga de Zapata
Cel +53 52 47 87 93
Price: 25 CUC
Note: Otto and his wife rents, only 40 meters from the beach two bedrooms. Each of them has a double and a single bed, aircondition, ventilator, a small fridge/minibar as well as a bathroom with a hot and cold shower. It's not luxury, but it's simple and clean.
In the back of Otto's house you will find a nice place to spend some time, read a book, talk to the hosts (Otto speaks fluently english) and eat a rich breakfast (5 CUC) and a tastful lunch or dinner (10-12 CUC).
So this is a really good place for relaxing at the beach, explore the Ciénaga de Zapta and also for diving. I'm sure you will feel good at Otto's house. I recomend you a reservation in advance.
Reservation: By phone or also by e-mail(spanish and english)
Playa Larga is a perfect place for a relaxing stay, far from being busy. Here you enjoy beaches, snorkeling and diving. You can explore the Ciénaga de Zapata walking or on a boat. And if you're interested in Cubas history you may visit the small museum in the bay of pigs, about 40km from Playa Larga. Playa Larga is still a place visited mainly by people travelling independent, there's just one small hotel nearby. Most of the turists make a break of two or more days at Playa Larga while there werde travelling between Trinidad/Cienfuegos and Habana or Viñales.
Excursions near Playa Larga
- Parque Nacional de Zapata: A large part of Cienaga de Zapata is a protected area. There are four footpaths to know the park with the help of a trained guide. I do recommend Yenier to help you in this tour. He is a passionate biologist who lives in La Cienaga and so he knows every inch of this land. He speaks Spanish and English.
-The footpath "La Salina" has to be made in taxi or rented vehicle. Main attraction here is the flamingoes. They can only be seen here on December though the rest of the year you may find some other species.
- The footpath "Enigma de las Rocas" is perfect for those interested on the nature of La Cienaga. The shortest trail takes about an hour of walk but is enough to observe the flora and fauna of La Cienaga de Zapata, such as wild crocodiles, tortoises, fishes, lizards and birds. You may also swim face to face with fishes in crystalline freshwaters. I took these photos while walking the trail with Yenier, the guide.
-The footpaths "Savanah" and "Bermejas" are much longer. You generally walk 2 to 4 hours. You won't see more than what you saw in "Enigma de las Rocas" but it is good for those who want to walk for a longer time around this beautiful nature.
It´s very important to have good shoes for these trails; sandals are not a good choice. Long sleeved shirts will protect you from sunshine and mosquitoes. On April and May it is somewhat difficult to access the park due to thousands of crabs crossing the roads from Playa Larga to Playa Giron. The only opportunity is when the sun is very strong since at this time crabs are waiting under the shadows to cross later. That´s why it is very difficult finding a taxi for this trip because, though drivers do not care about crabs, they don´t want to get a punch in their tires…
Otto can arrange visits to these sites though you may also do it directly with Yenier Abreu. His phone number is: (+53) 54 17 56 35 and e-mail: email@example.com. You have to pay Yenier (the park) 15 CUC to enter the park or any footpath. If you want a car to reach the start of footpath you pay 25 CUC/person (including car and entry to the park).
- La "Boca de Guama" is a crocodile hatchery where species in danger are protected and it´s also a site for tourist visits. Tourists coming from Varadero and other places arrive here daily from 11:00 am; so it´s better if you come earlier. Before visitors were only allowed to observe the crocodiles but now you may touch, feed the animals and even take photos with them. Ah, you may eat crocodile in the restaurant, if you like…You may travel from the hatchery to Guama; it was a former Indian village but today it is a museum and there is also a hotel. A taxi from Playa Larga costs 25 CUC, wait time included. The entry fee I don't remember, think it's about 3 CUC. Please note, it's really a touristy place, completly diferent than a walk through the Ciénaga with Yenier. But if you want to see crocodiles, certainly a good options, at least before al the buses from Varadero arrives.
- Diving and snokeling. Just ask Otto, he will arange it for you. The bus will catch you up right at Otto's house between 9.00 and 9.30 and bring you to the diving centre. There you will catch the equipment and then go by boat to amazing spots for diving and/or snorkeling. Diving will costs you about 25 CUC, snorkeling 15 CUC. After the excursions the bus will drive you back to Otto's house. No adicional costs for the bus.
- Beaches. At Playa Larga there are several beaches. The one in front of Otto's house is certainly one of the best. At lest when the wind blows from north to south. There's also a beach worth to visiti nearby the hotel in Playa Larga. If you drive from Playa Larga to Playa Girón there are several very nice places to have a swim or to go for snorkeling. Some places are without sand, just rocks, there you have to enter carefully in to the water. Most of the places are virgen, so you don't pay any admission.
- Jaguey Grande. If you want to have a look at a authentic small town, then you can reach to Jagüey Grande. It's nothing special, just a normal Cuban small town. At the train station you can catch every second day a train to Cienfuegos or to Habana. A really slow way to travel.
- Playa Girón (bay of pigs). Here you will find the mentioned small museum about the invasion in the bay of pigs. There's also a beach, you can practice some sport. Friday and saturday there's a disco, visited by locals, at the hotel.
- Some more things to see: Coffee plantations, Sugar Factory "Australia" with museum, and so on. Just ask Otto he will give you some more hints so you can't get bored at Playa Larga.
- Recomended taxidriver in Playa Larga
private (with licence)
old american car (have a look at he photo on the right!)
Cecilio is a charming guy; he is constantly updated. He has a small farm near Jaguey Grande, where he works his land, sells the crops and drives his taxi. He talks about this with a great smile –he has to raise his three children who go to school, the University and demand a lot of money…Cecilio is always willing to take you to any place around Playa Larga. He, of course, may take you anywhere you ask and later pick you up where and whenever you like. It is always easy to arrange price with him.
How to go to Playa Larga
The train between Habana and Cienfuegos runs every other day. You can go off in Jagüey Grande and then look for a for a colectivo or taxi which will brings you form there to Playa Larga. If you manage to catch the train, certainly a an adventure and a very authentic (and also very slow) way to travel...