All photos by David Badger
Playa Larga /Bay of Pigs
The drive from Moron to Playa Larga was a straightforward one with most of the journey being along the autopista until the turning at Jaguay Grande for the Zapata peninsula.
Playa Larga is a small town with a hotel complex situated on a short stretch of beach on the Bay of Pigs, the area of a US backed invasion of Cuba in the 1960′s. There are still pill boxes on the beach and the odd memorial to those that lost their lives here. We never ventured as far as Playa Giron and were taken aback that more was not made of a famous Cuban military victory.
The hotel complex and diving school offer pleasant bungalow accommodation but the area loses a little in atmosphere by the constant hawking on the beach and by the hotel staff themselves. A welcome departure from the buffet meals served at Moron was the restaurant that had a set menu but did do a reasonable spaghetti as well as the usual Cuban dishes. One of the security staff on the complex told us of a local palador that could serve us fresh lobster that evening if we wished…for $12 we didn’t need asking twice and we were directed to the house and had a fine meal of whole tail lobster with rice and beans with salad along with beers and coffee.
If there is one message in this text it is, if possible, take up the offer to eat in a Cuban home. It puts money back into the local economy as well as providing yourself with excellent food compared to the hotels and you actually meet some Cuban people in contexts other than as hotel employees.
This is probably the best known area in Cuba to go birding and from the three days we had here it is easy to see why. We picked up one or two other species such as Jacana at a visit to the crocodile farm on the road between Jaguay Grande and Playa Larga. The farm itself is one of the most advertised tourist attractions in the area, personally I’m not too sure about the ethics of the place as there are some animals kept in inadequate cages. The only Parrots we saw flying wild were over the Playa Larga hotel complex.
Jaguay Grande to Varadero
The road to Varadero passes through the citrus plantations that form a monotonous backdrop to the journey especially when arranged in the grid formation with identical Soviet style workers’ hostals every kilometre of so, The roads here are very rough and we had to make one detour due to a market blocking the only road through one village. We also noticed a corpse on the roadside here too.
If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our Caribbean Insiders page.