Welcome to Playa Larga, a small fishing community, south of Matanzas region, in the Zapata peninsula: crystal water and white sandy beach, lots of palm trees and deep vegetation.
I was very impressed by this place, still at his own natural stage and quite untouched and not crowded with tourists, really what I needed.
You need to know few important things about Playa Larga: is a very small village, you can either get there from Havana with Viazul (if you are not a Cuba resident, otherwise you can also use local buses) or taxi collectivo. To check cost with Viazul click on this link http://www.viazul.com/
With Taxi collectivo, it might cost from 20 to 30 CUC generally: it is quite easy to get one either booked with your Casa Particular or simply go to the Viazul Terminal and ask for one. There is also the taxi directo option (you won’t share with anybody) but it will be far more expensive.
The trip from Havana takes around 3 hours and the road it’s sometimes bumpy, but not too bad.
All the Casa Particular are concentrated on 2 roads, and only you need to know is the name of the house: everybody knows each other and it won’t be a problem at all to find the Casa – there are not name of the roads here as it is a very small village.
I stayed at Casa Francesito and I highly recommend this house: Pepe is the owner, a Cuban moved to France a long time ago who comes back to Playa Larga every 2-3 months and rents the house at a quite cheap price offering a very lively vibe and lots of music. Pepe is also a Salsa teacher, so you can also book with him Salsa Lesson. For more info about his house, do not hesitate to message me.
Was not really a tranquil house, so might no be the perfect place for kids or if you are looking for something super calm. Rather than this, the vibe in the house is fantastic and Pepe will make you feel at home since the very first minute, pampering you with nice drinks and good music.
He also offers delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner at very competitive price.
Very close to Pepe’ s house there is a long beach, not really white sandy but quite pretty and not crowded: it will be 5/10 minutes walking distance from the main road with all the Casas and you can buy some drinks and food right in front of the beach.
What I did instead was an excursion with Pepe: he took us for only 5 CUC (food included) to discover the real Playa Larga, with no frills or lush but I promise you, this is what yo want to do if you want to know the local reality.
We went on a Horse carriage and off to the wild side of the village: very important that you take with you some water and a very good repellent as you will need both of them all the way through.
You might not hear much about Playa Larga and his beauty, as it is not a touristic area, is more like a summer holiday place for Cuban, but if you are looking for nice beaches, wild spot and scuba-diving, far from the Westernized Varadero, this is the right place.
On board of our carriage, we visited local villages inhabited only by locals with their own private sandy beach : it was impossible to resist and we went for a nice swim into this crystal clear water (for privacy I won’t disclose the name of the village, but it will be nice for you to find out yourself once you reach Playa Larga )
The excursion carried on, getting now into the deep vegetation (here is where you need the most of your repellent, vital): beautiful trees, a variety of birds and butterfly, crabs and social history that Pepe was very happy to explain through the way, sipping our refreshing Cuba Libre.
In 1961 there was what it is now called the Bay of Pig’s Invasion. In an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro from power, CIA and US backed 1,400 Cuban exiles who landed at this beach. The invasion was a failure with the invaders being outnumbered by Castro’s troops and the exiles surrendered after less than 24 hours of fighting.
The first stop was at a Natural swimming pool, where we all couldn’t refrain to dive in more and more: for all my subscriber I will be happy to send over a nice video of the natural swimming pool.
Lunch time was getting closer, so we stopped at the nearby neighborhood where we met Valentino, our chef for the day: Valentino’s cooked for us a nice crab soup out of tomato, beers and salt and pepper. As simple as that, but very tasty and the beauty of it was that we stopped somewhere in the wood, to light up a fire and cook the meal in the wild: really a great experience
The atmosphere was very nice, friendly and a nice sense of freedom and peace, really outstanding: this is the effect that nature and simplicity give to you.
After our bellies were full, we moved along with the excursion, and Cuban music on the background (all the carriage carries little speaker of course) and stopped on what the local call “El Puente” (The Bridge) : a long a clean river, we dived in and it was really refreshing and worth it. This river goes directly to the “Laguna del Tesoro“, accessible only by boat.
Also, you can opt for scuba diving, or nice long walk and relax on the close by beach by Baya de Cochinos, the options are really there for you to enjoy a good time in Playa Larga.
- take a good repellent with you
- there are very few WIFI hot spot, so if you are need internet be aware of this and also the connection might be very slow
- not many restaurant option but y this won’t be of a problem, as every Casa can cook traditional food
- Be humble and respect the nature around you
- Take with you Cash, it will be easier
- Book in advance you Viazul tickets or ask one day in advance at your Casa to book a Taxi Collectivo