Cayo Largo is located 80 km south of the Big Island, almost in the very center of the Cuban archipelago. The length of a small island is only 28 km, and its width is 3 km, but its entire southern coast is an extensive beach with 20 km of fine white sand.
There are no permanent residents on Cayo Largo, apart from, of course, brightly colored birds and iguanas; Cubans, on the other hand, come to the island only to work in hotels (and live in the small village of Isla del Sol). But there is a fantastic coral reef, an amazing “Iguana Island” and a unique marine fauna reserve. This resort is a real paradise for diving enthusiasts. Check bridgat for other cities and countries as well as weather and climate in Caribbean.
How to get to Cayo Largo
Not so long ago, a modern international airport, Vilo Acuña, was built on the island, which can receive large aircraft. There are no direct flights from Russia to this airport. It is more convenient to fly from Moscow Sheremetyevo with a transfer in Havana (with a connection at 13.5 hours and a flight the next day to Cayo Largo in 40 minutes – while the whole journey will take 27 hours with a little) or to Varadero. Flights to Cayo Largo are operated by Cuban charter airlines daily.
The fare from the airport to the hotels by taxi is 6-8 CUC. And there are free shuttle buses to the beaches of Playa Sirena, Playa Paraiso and Punta mal Tiempo, departing from the airport on schedule at 9:00, 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning.
There is only one main road on the island, which connects the port, airport and hotel area. Several smaller roads branch off from it, but most of them are sandy country paths. Due to the lack of traffic and picturesque landscapes, it is worth renting a jeep (when renting 1-6 days – 55-60 CUC per day) or a scooter (when renting 1-2 days – 20-25 CUC per day) and explore the island on your own. Bicycles can also be borrowed from the hotels (free of charge).
Cayo Largo Hotels
All hotels are located within 5 km on the south coast of the island and a 10-minute drive from the airport. The rest of Cayo Largo is largely unexplored and remains wild to this day.
At the Gran Caribe hotel, beach towels are changed on request at least every day directly in the room. And in the Sol Pelicano, Sol Cayo Largo and Playa Blanca hotels, they must be changed in the small Club House building next to the pool. They are free and included in the “all inclusive”, for lost towels – a fine of 20 CUC.
All hotels except Villa Soledad have their own saltwater pools open 24/7 and buffet restaurants. Breakfast is usually served from 7:00 am to 10:30 am, lunch from 1:00 pm to 2:45 pm, and dinner from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm. Alcoholic drinks included.
You can drink tap water, but it is not very tasty, so it is better to take bottles of mineral water in bars.
The beaches of Cayo Largo
There are no private beaches on Cayo Largo, they are all municipal and are located at hotels. It is not forbidden to use umbrellas or sunbeds of other hotels. Topless sunbathing is also not prohibited, and in order to sunbathe “a la naturel”, it is better to look for a secluded corner so as not to embarrass the attendants and conservative tourists.
Beaches from west to east:
- Playa Sirena (restaurants, bars, shops and water sports center)
- Playa Paraiso (bar, sunbeds and umbrellas)
- Punta Mal Tiempo (wild beach)
- Playa Lindamar (some of the hotels Sol Cayo Largo, Sol Pelicano, Villa Lindamar, Villa Soledad, Villa Coral, Isla del Sur and Playa Blanca)
- Playa Blanca, Playa Los Cocos and Playa Tortuga are wild beaches where you rarely, rarely meet a couple of happy, and often naked, tourists
The most popular restaurant for lunch is The Ranchons Bar and Grill, which is located on the beach of the same name near the Sol Cayo Largo, Sol Pelicano, Villa Lindamar and Playa Blanca. Here you can taste lobster and giant prawns by reservation.
Included in the all inclusive package
In addition, almost every hotel has its own snack bar on the beach where you can have a snack during the day: in Sol Cayo Largo – Sol Azul snack bar, in Sol Pelicano – ZunZun, in Barcelo – Opalino and in Isla del Sur – Medusa bar.
A la carte restaurants open at lunchtime: Las Trinas (gourmet) and Lindarena (grill) at the Sol Cayo Largo hotel, La Yana (gourmet) and Los Quelonios (Creole cuisine) at the Sol Pelicano hotel, Espigon (Creole cuisine) in Villa Lindamar and Vela Mar restaurant (Creole cuisine and fish dishes) in Playa Blanca.
All a la carte restaurants require reservations and dressing appropriately (dress code). During the low season (May to November) some restaurants may be closed.
Other restaurants and bars
The following drinking establishments are not included in the standard all-inclusive packages, but you can eat there at reasonable prices:
- restaurant and bar in Playa Sirena (lobster and shrimp)
- bar in Playa Paraiso (cocktails, beer and hot dogs)
- El Torreon restaurant (pizza and fish dishes)
- Bar Taberna del Pirata (outdoor terrace)
- disco La Movita (located in the village, open from 11 pm to 2 am, beer ~ 1 CUC, cocktails from 2 CUC; salsa lovers – you are here)
Cayo Largo Internet
24-hour internet can be found at the Sol Cayo Largo, Sol Pelicano, Playa Blanca and Isla del Sur hotels. The cost is 10 CUC for one hour, the speed is snail’s pace, the keyboard is usually only in Spanish.
Shopping and shops
Cayo Largo is far from a paradise for shopaholics. There are small boutiques in every hotel and one in the village, they are all called Caracol and have a similar assortment: rum, souvenirs, postcards, clothes, drinks, snacks, mineral water, chocolates and so on. The Sol Pelicano, Sol Cayo Largo, Isla del Sur and Playa Blanca hotels also have tobacco and cigar shops. And in Sol Cayo Largo there is also a small souvenir shop for handicrafts. In addition, souvenirs made by the hands of Cuban craftsmen are sometimes sold in the evening on small tables at the entrance to the restaurant.
The most popular souvenir is, of course, the Havana Club rum, which costs 12 CUC for a 7-year-old 750 ml bottle. It is also worth trying the local drink Guyabita del Pinar, which comes in two varieties: dry (Seca) and sweet (Dulce). The cost is 5 CUC. In addition, it is worth buying local coffee – ground or in beans – it is very good.
When purchasing more than 25 cigars, you must remember that at customs it will be necessary to show a receipt from the store. Their cost varies depending on the brand and store, the most popular brands of cigars are Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta and Monte Cristo.
Attractions and attractions in Cayo Largo
Popular excursions: catamaran cruise (70 CUC), sunset cruise (50 CUC, lunch included), Havana overnight (~ 290 CUC, overnight at Tropicana hotel), Treasure Island (80 CUC), deep sea fishing, snorkeling, a trip to the island of Trinidad (125-145 CUC).
You can also sail for half a day to the island of Cayo Rico. Departure at 8:30, return – at 13:30. In the program: snorkeling on the coral reef, visiting a wild island, lobsters on Playa Sirena beach. The cost is 75 CUC. Or swim to the “Iguana Island” (Cayo Iguana); swimming lasts 45 minutes, costs 12 CUC.
Flying to Havana on your own is also not difficult – local tour agencies sell tickets to the capital, the cost in two directions is ~ 150 CUC.