Divers consider the seabed of María la Gorda, located in the Guanahacabibes Biosphere Reserve, among the top ten dive locations in Latin America due to its abundant marine life and extraordinarily beautiful corals.
María la Gorda (Fat Maria) is located in the Guanahacabibes Biosphere Reserve in Pinar del Río province, about 300km from Havana. Here dive enthusiasts enjoy crystal-clear waters, with average temperatures of between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius. The underwater landscapes are unique in the Caribbean, with mysterious shipwrecks and a large variety of corals and caves.
Supposedly, the name María La Gorda comes from an indigenous Venezuelan woman who was abducted by pirates and left behind in this remote part of Cuba.
With no fewer than 32 dive sites, rich marine life and extraordinarily beautiful corals, this is Cuba’s "must see" dive destination. Sites near María La Gorda are reached by boat – between 5 minutes and one hour of navigation.
Notable sites include Salón de María (María’s Hall) and El Almirante (The Admiral). The first is a cave with three entrances, and is home to sponges, coral formations, and many tropical fish. The second is a sponge and sea fan covered wall. Tarpon, angelfish, grunts and groupers frequent this area.
The María la Gorda International Dive Center is the only hotel in the area and caters mainly to divers of all levels. Non-divers may enjoy snorkeling or fishing. Boat rides are also available and the beach here is divine.