The Bay of Pigs is located on Cuba’s southern coast in the area known as the Zapata Peninsula, two hours driving from Varadero, a bit more from Havana. Playa Girón and Playa Larga are two famous, fabulous white beaches ringing the Bay of Pigs – both are reason enough to visit this bio-diverse and historically important region.
Most people know the ‘Bay of Pigs’ ( Bahia de Cochinos) from the US-backed covert operation that took place here on April 17, 1961. Visit the Museo de Playa Girón for a complete (and interesting) overview of the historic event that heated up the Cold War to dangerous levels.
Playa Larga is the headquarters of the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, birdwatchers come from near and far to explore the excellent trails here.
Meanwhile, scuba divers of all levels come for the superlative diving (and snorkeling). These are shore dives – dozens of them – negating the need for (and additional costs of) boats.
Halfway between Playa Girón and Playa Larga is Cueva de los Peces . Teeming with an impressive variety of tropical fish, this is a cenote – a geological formation created when the roof of an underground river collapses, leaving a pool connected to the sea by a system of immersed tunnels. The pools here – some over 80m deep – are considered a real challenge for experienced cave divers.
Caleta Buena , a picture-perfect inlet with crystal clear waters and thatched umbrellas about 8 kilometers from Playa Girón , is a sublime way to pass an afternoon.