- Destination: Zapata Swamp
- Open: Daily
- Address From: Zapata Swamp, Matanzas. Cuba
Description Beaches: Playa Larga Beach, Zapata Swamp. Cuba
Playa Larga can be found in the famous Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs), at the Zapata Peninsula, 32 km. from the National Highway. This bay became famous after on April 1961, an army of Cuban exiles invaded the island in order to overthrow Fidel Castro’s newly established revolutionary government.
The visitor may take sea baths at Playa Larga, a beach of excellent sand and warm waters located at the bay’s end, as well as enjoy nature at Montemar Great Natural Park.
The International Birdwatching Center operates in Playa Larga as a starting point for different sites of day or nighttime birdwatching in the heart of Montemar woods.
21 km. southwest of Playa Larga lies Laguna de las Salinas, now included in the Wildlife Refuge. This is a place where, from November to April, the visitor can see many species of migratory waterfowl.
A more accessible site is the Cueva de los Peces, a flooded tectonic fault about 70 m. deep on the island side of the road, almost exactly midway between Playa Larga and Playa Girón. These half-rounded lagoons, called cenotes have arisen from the partial caving-in of cave’s roofs.
Among the most interesting sites of the park is the speleological system stretching over 70 km., where the partial caving-in of cave’s roofs has created superficial half-rounded lagoons called cenotes.
About 200 m. west along the beach from Villa Playa Larga is the International Octopus Club Diving Center, offering full scuba facilities. In these turquoise-blue waters dwell a wide variety of fish, sea fans and huge colonies of crabs, lobsters and barracudas.
Like at Playa Girón, wall-diving can be practised here. Underwater areas are immensely attractive because of the steepness of the ocean wall, which is extremely close to the shore and covered by astonishing coral beds, including black ones, as well as sea fans and sponges. It’s also possible to go deep into the underwater caves belonging to the speleological lake system of Montemar, which reach in some points depths of 70 m. Blind fish can also be seen in these caves.
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Playa Larga Beach is located in Zapata Swamp
The Zapata Peninsula, one of the most important ecosystems in Cuba and the largest swamp reserve in the Caribbean, is situated in southern Matanzas. It features exceptional species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic.
The Montemar Great Natural Park is located in the peninsula. Here, you will find beaches, woods, mangrove swamps, rivers, lakes, flooded caves that open on the sea, natural pools and a seabed of particular beauty. In short, it is an ideal place for day and night scuba diving by both beginners and experienced divers, including the exploration of marine caves., One of the park's main attractions is its cave system, which extends along the coast for 70 km (over 43 miles). The roof of some of these caverns has caved in, turning them into semicircular lakes called "cenotes". The park is also an excellent place to go hiking, horseback riding and boating. In addition, many animals live here, and the international flyways of several kinds of birds go over the park, so you can see both native and migratory species. While in you are in the area, Guamá -a restored Taino Indian village on Laguna del Tesoro (Treasure Lake)-, the crocodile-breeding center and the Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) Museum are musts.