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Cienaga de Zapata
Playa Larga located in the south of the province of Matanzas, 142 km from Havana. This peninsula has a shoe shape, hence its name (zapata in Spanish). The national park of Cienaga de Zapata is the most important natural reserve of Cuba. There is the Treasure Lagoon, the Crocodile Farm, Cueva de los Peces, Playa Larga and Punta Perdiz. It is a natural refuge for a very diversified fauna: manatees, alligators, flamingos, turtles, jutias (nutria). There are also 200 species of birds including ibises, hummingbirds and parrots.
In the past, the huge marsh was used as a refuge for Tainos Indians, then for buccaneers and charcoal burners. The forests of Cienaga were filled with precious woods with rare species: ebony, mahogany, lentisk, which were unfortunately overused.
Idea of journey in Playa Larga
We stayed 4 nights, 3 days and a half there.
- The first half day, we visited the village of Playa Larga by foot.
- The second, we went snorkeling and diving in Punta Perdiz, as well as the Cueva de los peces (diving at sea), ask your casa particular to reserve you the collective truck the day before.
-Price 50cuc for round-trip transportation and two dives at sea.
-Price 15cuc for round trip transportation and snorkeling with equipment. If you already have the snorkling equipment the price is 10cuc.
- The third, we rented the services of a taxi (30cuc round trip) to go to Caleta Buena. Opening of the site at 10am until 5pm. Arrive early, you will able to choose the place of your deckchair. Our favorite swimming spot in the Cienaga de Zapata. Blue water, which is not the case of the other bathing places of Playa Larga.
- The fourth, we rented bicycles for 5cuc the day at the casa particular “Tu familia Cubana”, to get to the crocodile breeding which is 11km from the center of Playa Larga, as well as to make us at the playa Máquina beach (4km from Playa Larga). Plan on water, sunscreen, hat or cap, and of course music! We left at 10am from Playa Larga which was perfect for a return to our Casa at around 6pm.
Our favorite restaurants
Chuchi El Gordo in Playa Larga; dish between 6 and 13cuc, quantity and quality at the here.
La Finquita Restaurant in Palpite; 7cuc menu with 4 main courses (such as shrimp, lobster, fish, chicken, pork) with sides.
The lagoon of the Treasury (price 12cuc)
The 9 km2 Laguna del Tesoro is located 8 km from Boca de Guama. You have to take a boat to cross the Laguna Canal and get to the lagoon. This village built on small islets is a reconstruction on the model of an ancient village Taïno. Its name “Laguna del Tesoro” is based on a legend that a treasure was thrown at the bottom of the lake by the Indians at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards.
Crocodile farming (price 5cuc)
Crocodile farming has become one of the most important resources of Cienaga, and there are several species of all ages, including the “crocodile Rhombifer”, an endemic species that has been saved from extinction thanks to farmhouses.
The Cueva de los Peces (free)
It is a huge flooded tectonic fault (called Cenote in Central America) that hosts countless tropical fish. It is also an idyllic place where you can swim in the middle of lush vegetation, in a beautiful natural pool. Finally, under the cueva are submarine tunnels that reach the sea.
Possibility of diving in this cenote with Octopus Club, for 40cuc per dive, with transport, or dive in the sea in front of the cenote, for 25cuc per dive, with transport.
Punta Perdiz and Caleta Buena, all inclusive day (15cuc price)
They are ideal places for snorkeling and diving in turquoise water. You will spend the day, deckchairs, cocktails at will, buffet meal for 15cuc. The observation of fish and corals begin just a few meters from the shore. You can also go swimming for free in El Tanque, right next to Punta Perdiz.