While the Isla de la Juventud and Marla la Gorda lead most Cuban divers’ wish lists, the Bahfa de Cochinos has some equally impressive underwater treats.

There’s a huge drop-off running 30m to 40m offshore for over 30km from Playa Larga down to Playa GirOn, a fantastic natural feature that has created a 300m-high coral-encrusted wall with amazing swim-throughs, caves, gorgonians and marine life. Even better, the proximity of this wall to the coastline means that the region’s 30-plus dive sites can be easily accessed without a boat — you just glide out from the shore. Good south coast visibility stretches from 30m to 40m and there is a handful of wrecks scattered around.

Aves migratorias
Gusano Marino


Playa Girón is well set up with highly professional instructors bivouacked at five different locations along the coast. Generic dive prices (CUC$25 per immersion, CUC$100 for five or CUC$365 for an open-water course) are some of the cheapest in Cuba. Snorkeling is CUC$5 per hour.


The International Scuba Center ( 21 98-41-18), at Villa Playa Gir6n, is the main diving headquarters. It is complemented by the Club Octopus International Diving Center ( 7 98-72-94,98- 72-25) , 200m west of Villa Playa Larga. Eight kilometers southeast of Playa Girdn is Caleta Buena 0 10am-6pm), a lovely sheltered cove perfect for snorkeling and kilted out with another diving office. Black coral ridges protect several sinkholes and underwater caves teeming with the oddly shaped sponges for which the area is renowned: a great opportunity for speleo-scuba diving! Because saltwater meets freshwater the fish here are different to other sites. Admission to the beach is CUC$15 and includes an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet and open bar. Beach chairs and thatched umbrellas are spread along the rocky shoreline. Snorkel gear is CUC$3.

More underwater treasures can be seen at the Cueva de los Peces (9am-6pm), a flooded tectonic fault (or cenote), about 70m deep on the inland side of the road, almost exactly midway between Playa Larga and Playa Gir6n. There are lots of bright, tropical fish, plus you can explore back into the darker, spookier parts of the cenote with snorkel or dive gear (bring torches). The beach facing has good snorkeling off a black coral shelf. There’s a handy restaurant and an on-site dive outfit. Just beyond the Cueva is Punta Perdiz , another phenomenal snorkeling/scuba-diving spot with the wreck of a US landing craft scuppered during the Bay of Pigs invasion to explore. The shallow water is gemstone-blue here and there’s good snorkeling right from the shore. There’s a smaller on-site diving concession. It costs CUC$1 to use the thatched umbrellas, beach chairs and showers, and there’s another decent restaurant. Nonwater-based activities include volleyball and chances to play the amiable custodians at dominoes. Beware the swarms of mosquitoes and libelulas (enormous dragonflies).


Lonely Planet. (Brendan Sainsbury and Luke Waterson)
Tripadvisor. Tourism Playa Larga Matanzas
Naturalezayviajes.com. cuba-oye mi amol

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