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Cienaga_Zapata

FOUR CASA LISTS BEGIN HERE
REGIONAL MAP HERE
GUIDES + CASAS IN 4 LOCATIONS

CIENAGA DE ZAPATA
The municipality which bears this name covers a large territory on the southern end of the provincia de Matanzas and includes Parque Montemar (previously named Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata (70,277 ha), Gran Parque natural de Montemar (70 km of caves), and the fauna reserves of Santo Tomas and La Salina, the latter with a marsh populated by some 165 species of migrant and endemic birds. Villages and towns include La Boca/Guama (with its crocodile farm), Palpite, Playa Larga / El Caleton and of course, Playa Girón.

Just north of the area, lies its access junction, a barrio built around the once busy sugar mill, Australia and across the national highway (Autopista nacional), the quiet and mosquito-less town of Jaguey Grande (pop. 57,000).

The
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve also bears the name Ciénaga de Zapata. It covers 628,171 hectares and its fauna includes 160 species of birds, 31 types of reptiles and 12 varieties of mammals. Lest we forget the bats which nightly swallow some of the (what must be) billions of mosquitoes buzzing over the swampland, one bordering the road between Australia and Playa Larga ; ) Fear having to change a flat tire at 2 a.m. : your body will be the freshest Zapata all-you-can-bite buffet !

On the bay, the mosquitos (called
jejenes hay-hay-ness) are present like clockwork at sunset, every second day, when the wind blows from the south.

Last but not least, this area is famous because of its bay of Pigs, the Bahia de Cochinos where a CIA-sponsored invasion by Cuban exiles was promptly thwarted in 1961.

MAPS & LINKS
Tourist & Road Maps of the Peninsula
Large map of the Peninsula
Map of bayside towns + map of Playa Giron village
Map of region to Cienfuegos
Viazul bus to Entronque (turnoff) at Jaguey Grande
Island-wide bus connections (horariodebuses.com/)
5-day Wunderground weather forecast
Daily exchange rates
All that's natural in Matanzas province
Photos of diving in the bay of the Cienaga de Zapata

All the Web particuba.net

DISTANCES
from Playa Larga/Caleton
Australia & main highway, 29
Caleta Buena, 36
Cárdenas, 114
Cienfuegos, 131 via Horquitas
Jaguey Grande, 28
La Boca/Guama, 11
La Habana, 178
Matanzas, 150
Palpite, 3
Playa Giron, 32
Trinidad, 171
Varadero, 185


Bay of Pigs Invasion-era poster © ICAIC

Mapa prov matanzas
Weather on the island (Google) : click to enlarge, then click town to see 5-day forecasts © google
Weather on the island (Google) : click to enlarge, then click town to see 5-day forecasts © google




Every morning from Havana and back - via Entronque de Jaguey, a Viazul bus takes to the highway, veers south at the Entronque (junction) near Jaguey Grande, goes through Guama, Palpite, Playa Larga (10h), then Giron (10h35) and on to Cienfuegos (12h10) and Trinidad aarivant 13h50. More on click. Viazul Ruta 18
The beach in Caleton  © sogestour
The
long beach in Playa Larga is located in Caleton (where casas particulares are), the northernmost place on the bay of Pigs or bahia de Cochinos © sogestour |• Buick and chicas from Belgica © sogestour
Zapata - Ze Mapa
Click :
Park map | Regional road map
Playita near Punta Perdiz
In the Zapata Peninsula, the
largest concentration of crocs in Cuba, and they're all in the Criadero de Cocodrilos a crocodile farm where these kids have caught one ... with its mouth shut. It's an endangered species, same as humans ; ( © unk | Caleta Buena diving © sogestour
Estacion Ecologica © 2003 David Barbour
Grandiose
treasure lake — Laguna del Tesoro — measures 92 sq km : crossing it takes 25 mins ! Named by Tainos, one of Cuba's aboriginal tribes © unk_flickr •|• Villa Guama sits on the other side of the lake and is well-worth a day trip : a couple of nights in that hotel would allow the unforgettable enjoyment of the early morning with a bird concert


Guama Hotel can be reached by a 25-min boat (5-km) ride over Laguna del Tesoro (92 sq-km lake) : visit the museum and bar and shop or dine & stay at the Hotel. © unk

EXCURSIONS
Bird watching in the swamps of Zapata with Angel Martinez or his brother Orestes El Chino, the doyen of guides. Tél. (45) 98-7545; cellulaire (5) 253-9004 Rate : 10cuc per person for half-day. E-mail : chino.zapata(@)gmail.com without the brackets

Observe birds and crocos at Boca de Guama Info (45) 98-2979, (45) 98-4131

Navigate or walk between the 12 small islands of Laguna (Lake) del Tesoro and its park (Taino casas and statues of Cuban aboriginals) the Aldea Taina in Guama

Admire some 10,000 pink flamingos on the lake Laguna de las Salinas

Hike with a guide in the woods of Corral de Santo Tomás Info (45) 98-7249 or 7128)

Scuba dive in the tectonic fault at Cueva de Los Peces or at Caleta Buena from the center at Villa Playa Larga (Info 98-7225) or at the well-equiped and well-managed El Cocodrilito

Fly fishing - Lazaro Viñota works for the Parque national de Cienaga de Zapata and is an official fly fishing guide (Snook, Tarpon, Bonefish, Black Bass). pnacionalcz @enet.cu) Tel. (45) 98-7599 cellular 52 90 94 02

CITMA's Estacion Ecologica in Palpite once offered free board to travelers to help research bats, birds, batrachians, crocodiles and all. Tel (45) 98-7119


Zapata Pier © Bissingerbooks, flickr.com

WORTH THE VISIT IN THE CIENAGA
Casa del Zunzuncito, the world's smallest bird; Bernabé and wife Juana have 7; in Palpite
Karimakao, a great artists school for all walks of art; in Palpite
Criadero de Cocodrilos, home for some 8,000 crocodiles in Boca de Guama,
Finca Fiesta Campesina and local museum of the dismantled sugar mill, both in Australia,
Museo de la Comandancia (Cuban HQ during Bay of Pigs invasion), reopened in 2011 after extensive renovations — in Australia's old sugar mill office)
Villa Guama, the hotel reachable only by boat (20-min ride, 10cuc) on the Laguna del Tesoro, the 92 sq km lake : well worth a couple of nights; mornings and sunsets are glorious in the epicentre of nature, water, a bird sanctuary and Conjunto Esculturico a sculpture park at Laguna de Tesoro
The contra-revolucionarios were parachuted on April 17, 1961 over the Bay of Pigs (Bahia de Cochinos) in a CIA-supported attack on the sovereignty of Cuba, with the participation of the US Navy during John F. Kennedy's presidency. But Fidel’s hidden air force struck the invading landing squad on that morning as Cuban T33 jets chased away supply ships. The US 5th Battalion refused to disembark under Cuban fire as the small but pugnacious air force dealt a fatal blow to the morale of mercenary paratroopers.

Its air and sea support
decimated by Cuban pilots [trained years before by the US Air Force], the group of mercenaries were overpowered by soldiers and civilian volunteers within 72 hours. More than 200 died in the battle.

Some 1,290 were emprisoned during one year and returned to Florida in exchange for food and medication. The so-called Miami gusanos (worms as Fidel called them) and the US-funded terrorist organization Alfa 66 never got over it and
never expressed regrets for having poured napalm on their ex-compatriots.

Prior to the
Revolucion these same US-backed mercenaries owned one million acres of Cuban land, 10,000 houses, 70 factories, five mines, two banks and 10 sugar mills. Hence, in Castro’s address at the 1961 May Day celebrations, he championed Playa Girón as victory of the working class over the exploiting class. 1961-2011 — 50 years remembering a dirty war.

Stamps from 1965, Victoria de Giron
1966, the Houston in flames
| Stamps from 1965, Victoria de Giron and 1966, the Houston in flames.

Cubans who died defending their land - still considered martyrs 50 years later — Link > here <

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HAUT DE PAGE

Playa Larga logo
Cienaga de Zapata Cuba ::: Bahia de Cochinos • Playa Larga, Caleton, barcas © sogestour
Mouseover for other view. © sogestour
Playa Larga/Caleton is the northern limit of the bay of Pigs (bahia de Cochinos) : the beach is long and partly deserted; some casas remain, too close to the sea, according to authorities who, according to 2014 rumours are considering tearing down to protect the environment. CUBA GIRDS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE READ HERE The playa is empty from October to April, for the benefit of snowbirds and other travelers. In Summer (verano) it fills daylong with workers and families from Jaguey Grande. Mouseover for other view. © sogestour
OUR CASA LIST BEGINS HERE
REGIONAL MAP HERE
CIENAGA JAGUEY
PLAYAGIRON PLAYALARGA

This calm bayside village, 29 km from the national highway is the gateway to Parque Montemar (previously named Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata), then the road goes south through La Boca (for the Guama Logao del Tesoro, then Palpite, then stops here and then to Playa Giron and Caleta Buena.

From here, excursions back up the road to
Palpite, Boca Guama and its Laguna del Tesoro.

In town, also called El Caleton, or Barrio Caleton, there's a bank, a post office, a bakery, a pizzeria, two grocery counters (one with rare and expensive frozen chicken breasts) and not much else.

Otherwise, the lone hotel,
Villa Horizontes has the only activity in town, a protected beach and scuba excursions.

DISTANCES
Australia & main highway, 29
Caleta Buena, 36
Cárdenas, 114
Cienfuegos, 99
Jaguey Grande, 30
La Boca/Guama, 11
La Habana, 178
Matanzas, 150
Palpite, 3
Playa Giron, 32
Trinidad, 171
Varadero, 214


El Bohio poster © ICAIC

Mapa prov matanzas
GoogleMap here
Maps & Links here
See this map.

REST RANTS y PALADARES
Paladar Zuleida, Playa Larga Paladar K. S. Abella, Playa Giron; Casa del Mar, Playa Giron ; El Pirata, Playa Girón ; Horizontes Villa Grande, Laguna del Tesoro, Guama Horizontes Hotel, Playa Giron Pio Cuá, Rancho Benito, Caleta Buena Victoria, Playa Girón Villa Horizontes, Playa Larga ::: HOTEL Villa Horizontes, 144 rooms, 50 cabinas (45) 98-7294


Barcas of the pescadores, fishermen's bay, fed by the Hatiguanico river © sogestour
Barcas of the pescadores, fishermen's bay, fed by the Hatiguanico river © sogestour

No doubt about it, Playa Larga is the HQ of bird watchers and nature lovers who check-in at the park's office to buy a trek, a visit, a walk, a ride in the famous Cienaga © sogestour

Small bay in Caleton © sogestour
You can't miss the "entronque" (junction) of Playa Larga. 'Tis where the Viazul busses stop on their way to/from La Habana, Varadero, Giron, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. © sogestour



Ride the length of the Bay of Pigs' east coast aboard a minibus from Guama Bus Tour : for 3 cuc pp for the day with stops unlimited.

The ride leaves Guama (where the island hotel is located) and picks up riders along the way down the coast with stops at Palpite, Playa Larga at the main bus stop & junction and at Hotel Playa Larga, Cueva de los Peces (scuba), Punta Perdiz (scuba) and Hotel Playa Girón (museum and beach).

The Cuban Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) is a small species (2.4 meters - 8 feet- average length) of crocodile found only in Cuba's Zapata Swamp and the Isle of Youth, and highly endangered.

Characteristics that set it apart from other crocodilians :
brighter adult colors, rougher, more 'pebbled' scales, and long, strong legs.

The most terrestrial of crocodiles it's also possibly the most intelligent.

Endangered Cuban Crocodile © Judy Kensley McKie
Endangered Cuban Crocodile, a silkscreen by Judy Kensley McKie
LOCAL GUAGUAS
Local minibusses (guaguas) services cover the Cienaga from Playa Larga to Jaguey Grande at 8h and 16h30 from Playa Larga to Giron at 8h, 11h30, 16h30 and 20h from Giron to Playa Larga 3 x day : am, p.m. and 19h30 — Payable in Moneda Nacional or cuc equivalent

VIAZUL @ PLAYA LARGA
::: Busses stop at junction (entronque) of main road and ''Final" road; where taxi-cars and pedaltaxis await; all times are daily::: As there is no office in Larga, best is to try to reach Viazul Trinidad (they rarely answer) to check if the bus is leaving full Tel. (41) 99-4448

From La Habana Viazul route (ruta) #18 goes off the autopista at the Jaguey Grande junction, goes south through Guama and Palpite and gets to Playa Larga (13cuc) at 11:00 then goes to Playa Giron, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Viazul schedule here.
Playa Larga to Playa Giron at 11:05 and 15:40 (6cuc) Best take 8-10cuc taxi : seat availability is iffy.
Playa Larga to Varadero at 12:35
Playa Larga to Cienfuegos (7cuc) and Trinidad (13cuc) at 11:05 and 15:40
Playa Larga to La Habana at 11:25, 14:15 and 19:25 (13cuc) These originate in Trinidad, stop in Cienfuegos and Giron.

Pink flamingos picking for food in Las Salinas

SCUBA DIVING — IN THE CIENAGA

SCUBA DIVING — IN THE CIENAGA
SCUBA DIVING — IN THE CIENAGA
Here's the deal : officially, private instructors are not allowed to sollicit clients wishing to scuba dive. However, it is tolerated — once the monthly quotas for the official state-run diving are attained. And, because the quotas are very low (nod, nod, wink, wink), they are reached within days . So in fact, diving is all in the hands of the "cuenta propria" divers. So much so, that these divers are better-equipped than the state — in their own home ; )

In Cuba, contrary to many spots on this planet, divers are real pros, they abide by safety rules but they do not require official (costly and constraining) certifications such as PADI, NAUI, TDI, SDI, ERDI and whatever.
If it's going to be your first time diving with a tank, don't worry : Cuban instructors can get along in English and will teach you the basics in no time. More photos here.

PLAYA LARGA DIVING GUIDES
Felix Martinez, master of his water domain with over 1.000 dives; has met Commandant Cousteau; knows every single site on the tip of his fins. Tel. (45) 99-7131; also rents a casa.
Osneidi Gonzalez; also rents Casa del Buzo; tel (45) 98-7396 cell 53 69 74 75

They both charge the usual 25cuc pp including divecheck, tank, mask & fins for a one-hour dive.

SCUBA DIVING — IN THE CIENAGA
CIENAGA DE ZAPATA DIVING CENTERS
Centro Internacional de Buceo Octopus at Playa Larga Hotel Horizontes with 13 dive sites directly from bayside.
Cueva de los Peces a few k's from Playa Larga : very busy (too busy for divers seeking calm) spot with 68-diver capacity
Punta Perdiz a few k's before reaching Playa Giron : more spread-out spot, completely renovated with 100-diver capacity; more relaxed atmosphere; meeting room for groups, restaurant.
Centro Internacional de Buceo Azul at Playa Giron Hotel with the usual equipment and dives off the bay.
Centro Internacional de Buceo El Pirata at Caleta Buena a few k's further up the coast from Playa Giron with 19 dive sites including some deep dives in cenotes and caves.

Those who wish to be certified in Cuba can do so through an ACUC course (recognized in Europe and Canada through the WRSTC); details on Course Standards page.


OUR RECOMMENDATIONS
::: Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba. Unless you only want a room in any house which may be of the same quality, not the specific casa you booked through photos on these websites ::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: Since October 2010, maximum bedroom capacity is not limited to two adults ::: Also, large casas are not limited to renting only two bedrooms per night. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by the website staff. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 15-20 per bedroom per night [up to 40+ for 4 in a room] on the peninsula de Zapata; breakfasts 3-5cuc, dinners 7-10cuc. ::: Any casa particular anywhere in Cuba must have a hot water shower, otherwise it cannot have a permit to rent ::: Please share your Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]cubacasas.net

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PLAYAGIRON JAGUEY
BOOK BY PHONE ••• HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 0 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 01 + the 8 digits of the cell.

BOOK BY EMAIL :
Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here.
Click photos to open page,
read description and see more pictures.
Locate town in region on this map.
See Playa Larga - Caleton casas in sequence.

Click logo to see next.

DAYAMI
Two large upstairs ac br's, ensuites, bayview
Located off the bay of Pigs (Cochinos) on "Final" — main road to beach. Playa is one-minute walk away. Tel. (45) 98-7145 cell 52 94 10 58




FEFA
One ac bedroom, ensuite, terrace on bay
Located on fishermen's bay in Caleton. Beach is five-min walk away. Tel. (45) 98-7133

CASA FEFA © sogestour

EL PARAISO
Two ac bedrooms with ensuite, terrace, bayside
Located right on the bay of Pigs (Cochinos). Beachside with private terrace. Cell 52 75 48 15 Cell. 58 06 11 74

EL PARAISO

CASA DEL BUZO + SCUBA
Upstairs, three ac br's, ensuites, gazebo on bay
Located on fishermen's bay in Caleton. Beach is five-min walk away. Tel. (45) 98-7396 Cell 53 69 74 75 or 52 81 93 73

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ZULEIDA y VIÑOLA + PALADAR
Three ac bedrooms, ensuites, terrace, bayside
Located right on the bay of Pigs (Cochinos). Beachside with private terrace. Tel. (45) 98-7599 cellular 52 90 94 02

ZULEIDA y VIÑOLA + PALADAR

ERNESTO y YODAINY
Three aircon bedrooms with ensuites, patio
Located on fishermen's bay in Caleton. Beach is five-min walk away. Tel. (45) 98-7276 cell 54 26 50 16



FABY
One ac bedroom with ensuite
Located in Batey Caleton off the bay of Pigs (Cochinos) on "Final" road. Neighbour of Dayami's Tel. (45) 98-7571 cell 53 69 74 79



EDENIS y HERIBERTO
Three ac br's, two w/shared bath — bayside
Located on fishermen's bay in Caleton. Beach is five-min walk away. Tel. (45) 98-7501 cell 53 11 27 09

Edenis_comedor © sogestour

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AMERIS y FELIX + SCUBA
Two ac bedrooms with ensuites — in village
Located in Caleton, in the neighbourhood called Batey Mario López. Public beach is 8-min walk away. Tel. (45) 99-7131 Cell 53 60 72 75 and 58 24 71 10

Ameris y Felix © sogestour

MIRTA
Two ac bedrooms with ensuites
Calle 3ra (tercera) #39, e/2da (secunda) y 4ta (quarta), close to Jaguey-Giron junction & bus stop. Public beach is 8-min walk away. Tel. (45) 98-73-15 Cell 52 83 04 43 or 54 12 08 88

MIRTA NAVARRO GONZÁLEZ © sogestour

CASA FRANK
Upstairs, three ac br's ensuites, terrace, view
Calle 3ra (tercera) #8, e/2da y 4ta, close to Jaguey-Giron junction & bus stop. Public beach is 8-min walk away. Tel. (45) 98-7189 cell 52 75 79 30



ILIANA y EDUARDO
Two ac bedrooms with ensuites
Calle 3ra (tercera) #36, e/4ta y Final, close to Jaguey-Giron junction & bus stop. Public beach is 8-min walk away. Tel. (45) 98-7254 cell 54 11 51 97



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MAYITO V
Three upstairs ac bedrooms, ensuites — bayview
Located in Batey Caleton off the bay of Pigs (Cochinos) on "Final" — main road to beach. Playa is one-minute walk away. Tel (45) 98-7428 cell 53 68 97 39



KIKI V
Four ac bedrooms with ensuite — bayside
Located in Batey Caleton off the bay of Pigs (Cochinos). Beachside with private terrace. Tel. (45) 98-7404 cell 53 11 27 12



VILLA RIO-MAR V
Upstairs indep. one-bedroom apartment, views
Located on fishermen's bay in Caleton. Beach is five-min walk away. Tel (45) 98-7439 cell 53 11 25 99



ERNESTO AUTOSERVICIO
The whole two-bedroom casa, kitchen, patio
Located in Batey Caleton off the bay of Pigs (Cochinos). On beach road. Tel. (45) 98-7276 cell 54 26 50 16 (same as Ernesto y Yodainy up page)



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YAIMÉ y MANOLITO
One aircon bedroom, ensuite, yard, on beach
Located on Calle de la Playa. At junction (entronque), take "Final" road, turn left at futbol pitch/school then right along the beach road. Tel (45) 98-7124



HOSTAL ENRIQUE
Three ac br's,. ensuites, ranchon on rooftop
At junction (entronque), take "Final" road — next door to Dayami; access from beach road. Tel. (45) 98-7178 cell. 52 25 11 17



DON CANGREJO V
One aircon bedroom, ensuite
Main road (« Final » ) starting from intersection (junction) facing the TRD-Caribe store. Tel. (45) 98-7154 cel. 54 12 09 68



CASA NIÑA (EUSEBIA) V
Two ac br's,. ensuites, terrace
Calle Mario Lopez, one block from the Parque nacional office. Tel. (45) 98-7479 cel. 53 25 38 93




RECOMMENDED BY PAPER GUIDEBOOKS IN PLAYA LARGA
Footprint (FH), Gallimard/Insight (GI), Lonely Planet (LP), Michelin (MC), Moon (MH), National Geographic (NG), Rough Guide (RG)
::: FH : El Varadero, Casa de Yeni, Kiki Hostal, Ernesto Delgado Chirino ::: GI : Roberto Pujol Mesa ::: LP : El Caribeno, Hostal Enrique ::: MC : Casa Eneida, El Caribeno ::: MH : Hostal Mayito, Hostal Kiki, Villa Juana ::: NG : Hostal Enrique ::: RG : Casa del Buzo, Casa Frank, Josefa Pita, Villa Morena


SIGNATURE

TOP OF PAGE
PlayaGiron
CASA LIST BEGINS HERE
CIENAGA MAP HERE
CIENAGA JAGUEY
PLAYAGIRON PLAYALARGA

Named after a 17th century pirate, Gilberto Giron, the road going south to get there from Playa Larga is monotonous : you don't see the bay most of the time, just rows of bushes and trees right and left.

A nice stop along the way is
El Galeon with its restaurant (low-priced veggy buffet for lunch), lookout and dive center — El Cocodrilito. Scuba dubas hang around Giron if only to marvel at the undersea world off Caleta Buena, a few k's past.

Little
Museo Municipal Playa Giron tells the step by step lost battle of the exiles in 1961.

Laid-back and mostly deserted
Hotel Horizontes Playa Giron is mid-range, stretched along a man-made breaker (rompeolas) which protects the beach.

Its swimming pool and bar are about the only action in this sleepy town but typically too
loud on weekends when Cubans invade the hotel with families, loud music, drunken binges and loud music. Did we mention loud music ?

Hotel Cubanacan Playa Giron (45) 98-4110, 282 rooms (45cuc double) mostly in bungalows, for its bar, food and scuba diving centre (see below).

Museo Municipal Playa Giron (45) 98-4122 is worth the ride here with its salas of artefacts from the famous Bay of Pigs invasion; nice to watch the short documentary named First defeat of US imperialism in the Americas which 50 odd years later is still stuck in the throat of the CIA-backed gusanos breathing their last gasps on calle Ocho in My, Am Me.

DISTANCES
Australia & main highway, 60
Caleta Buena, 4
Cárdenas, 114
Cienfuegos, 131 (81 via Covadonga)
Jaguey Grande, 61
La Boca/Guama, 11
La Habana, 210
Matanzas, 150
Palpite, 35
Playa Larga/Caleton, 32
Trinidad, 171
Varadero, 214

Bay of Pigs Invasion-era poster © ICAIC

Mapa prov matanzas

MAPS + LINKS here

CIENAGA map.

REST RANTS n' PALADARES
Paladar Zuleida, Playa Larga Paladar K. S. Abella, Playa Giron; Casa del Mar, Playa Giron ; El Pirata, Playa Girón ; Horizontes Villa Grande, Laguna del Tesoro, Guama Horizontes Hotel, Playa Giron Pio Cuá, Rancho Benito, Caleta Buena Victoria, Playa Girón Villa Horizontes, Playa Larga.

GUAGUAS
Local minibus (guaguas) services cover the Cienaga from Playa Larga to Jaguey Grande at 8h and 16h30 from Playa Larga to Giron at 8h, 11h30, 16h30 and 20h from Giron to Playa Larga 3 x day Payable in Moneda Nacional

Playa Giron © Johnsen, pbase.com
The must-visit building in the Zapata Peninsula : retelling history at Museo Giron © sogestour

El Galeon © sogestour
A local food counter,
café & pizzeria in "downtown Giron" © sogestour

 First in line, the Titanic : its owner says you can't be optimistic with a misty optic © sogestour
Fishing boat parking at the end of Horizontes Giron Hotel beach. First in line, the
Titanic : its owner says you can't be optimistic with a misty optic © sogestour

Punta Perdiz bayside terrace the bay © sogestour
Punta Perdiz bayside restaurant & terrace & diving center © sogestour

GUAMA BUS TOUR
Ride the whole length of the Bay of Pigs' east coast aboard a minibus from Guama Bus Tour : for 3 cuc pp for the day with stops unlimited, the ride leaves Guama and picks up riders all along the way (Palpite, Playa Larga, etc) with stops at Hotel Playa Larga (beach), Cueva de los Peces (scuba), Punta Perdiz (scuba, lookout, restaurant) and Hotel Playa Girón (museum and beach) down to the end at Caleta Buena


Click for Playa Giron, Cuba Forecast
The temperature at this very moment in Playa Giron. (The time is totally wrong ; (


Touristic hop-on, hop-off
VIAZUL @ PLAYA GIRON
::: In Giron, the bus stops at the shopping mall in front of the Museo ::: There is no real Viazul office in Playa Giron. Best is, for routes originating in Trinidad to check availability by trying to reach Viazul Trinidad (Good Luck as they rarely answer) to see if your bus is leaving with empty asientos. Tel. (41) 99-4448; coming from the capital, try Viazul La Habana (7) 881-1413, 1108 or 5652 ::: In Giron, we know that Hostal Luis, one of our Top 5 Casas in Cuba is always up to date on bus schedules and is sometimes available to drive his guests anywhere — all the way to Varadero.

From La Habana Viazul route (ruta) #18 goes off the autopista at the Jaguey Grande junction, goes south through Guama, Palpite and Playa Larga and gets here in Playa Giron at 11:35, then runs off to Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Viazul schedule here.

Playa Giron to Playa Larga and La Habana (13cuc) at 10:55, 13:50 and 19:00 See Ruta 18 here

Playa Giron to Varadero at 12:45
Playa Giron to Cienfuegos and Trinidad at 12:05

Playa Giron at 15:30 to Viñales
Playa Giron at 17:00 to La Habana

Playa Larga to Playa Giron at 11:05 and 15:40 (6cuc) Best take 8-10cuc taxi : seat availability is iffy.


The small village of
Playa Giron is located about 60 km south — in a straight line — of the main highway at the "entronque" (fork). Town boasts a Museo Municipal dedicated to the battle of the Bay of Pigs, a Casa de la Cultura, a large budget-class resort (Horizontes) property with cabinas and a beach.

And a few nice casas to rest and recuperate in.

And this shaded place (by the Servi-Cupet on road to Cienfuegos) — where locals and pedal taxistas will meet for café, pizza with some "just sayin" on the side © sogestour
La Guarandingua is the name of this guagua, a morning shuttlefor the scubaderos and buceadores lodging in the area © sogestour
La Guarandingua is the name of this guagua, a shuttle bus for the buceadores and scuba divers lodging in the area © sogestour ]• Caleta Buena, "the good creek" where divers learn the underwater sport or go down to meet the living fauna © sogestour

Punta Perdiz diving installations now include a demo room, tables and chairs for enjoying a drink, equipment rental and seaside lawn chairs for those relaxing after a dive or waiting for their spouse to get their underwater kicks © sogestour

Seaside at
Cueva de los Peces close to Playa Larga - another diving spot — the most popular on the bay of Pigs © sogestour
SCUBA DIVING IN THE CIENAGA
Here's the deal : officially, private instructors are not allowed to sollicit clients wishing to scuba dive. However, it is tolerated — once the monthly quotas for the official state-run diving are attained. And, because the quotas are very low (nod, nod, wink, wink), they are reached within days . So in fact, diving is all in the hands of the "cuenta propria" divers. So much so, that these divers are better-equipped than the state — in their own home ; )

In Cuba, contrary to many spots on this planet, divers are real pros, they abide by safety rules but they do not require official (costly and constraining) certifications such as PADI, NAUI, TDI, SDI, ERDI and whatever.
If it's going to be your first time diving with a tank, don't worry : Cuban instructors can get along in English and will teach you the basics in no time. More photos here.

PLAYA GIRON DIVING GUIDES
Ronel Almeida He knows all the sites in and around Giron and beyond. Cell 53 11 73 89 or 53 11 86 99
Julio Ruiz He co-founded the Giron diving instructor's school; his casa is right by Ivette and Ronel's Cell 53 98 58 33

Both charge the usual 25cuc pp including divecheck, tank, mask & fins for a one-hour dive.

CIENAGA DE ZAPATA DIVING CENTERS
Centro Internacional de Buceo Octopus at Playa Larga Hotel Horizontes with 13 dive sites directly from bayside

Cueva de los Peces a few k's from Playa Larga : very busy (too busy for divers seeking calm) spot with 68-diver capacity

Punta Perdiz a few k's before reaching Playa Giron : more spread-out spot, completely renovated with 100-diver capacity; more relaxed atmosphere; meeting room for groups, restaurant

Centro Internacional de Buceo Azul at Playa Giron Hotel with the usual equipment and dives off the ba

Centro Internacional de Buceo El Pirata at Caleta Buena a few k's further up the coast from Playa Giron with 19 dive sites including some deep dives in cenotes and caves.

Those who wish to be certified in Cuba can do so through an ACUC course (recognized in Europe and Canada through the WRSTC); details on Course Standards page.
HEED THE HINTS IN THIS FINE PRINT
::: Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba. Unless you only want a room in any house which may be of the same quality, not the specific casa you booked through photos on these websites ::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: Since October 2010, maximum bedroom capacity is not limited to two adults ::: Also, large casas are not limited to renting only two bedrooms per night. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by the website staff. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 15-20 per bedroom per night [up to 40+ for 4 in a room] on the peninsula de Zapata; breakfasts 3-5cuc, dinners 7-10cuc ::: Any casa particular anywhere in Cuba must have a hot water shower, otherwise it cannot have a permit to rent ::: Please share your Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]cubacasas.net

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PLAYALARGA JAGUEY
BOOK BY PHONE
• From Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by Jaguey Grande's area code, 45) • From Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by Jaguey Grande's area code, 45) ••• HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 05 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 01 + the 8 digits of the cell.

BOOK BY EMAIL :
Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here.

HOSTAL LUIS
Five large ac br's, ensuites, terrace, super food
At the corner of Giron's main street, on the road leading to Cienfuegos, 200 m from the hotel and beach. Tel. (45) 98-4258 cell 52 38 12 64

HOSTAL LUIS y MARLEY © sogestour


IVETTE y RONEL + SCUBA
Three ac bedrooms, large lot & dining room
About 500 m left at the first fork coming from Playa Larga, on the left-hand side, leading to Casa de la Cultura. Tel. (45) 98-4129 Cell 53 11 73 89 or 53 11 86 99

RONEL y IVETTE © sogestour

LIDIA y JULIO + SCUBA
One aircon bedroom, with twins-king, terrace
About 500 m left at the first fork coming from Playa Larga, on the left-hand side, right by Ronel y Ivette's. Cell 53 98 58 33



ABELLA + PALADAR
One ac br, patio, great food, roof terrace
Third casa after Hostal Luis on road leading to Cienfuegos. Tel. (45) 98-4383 cell 53 68 88 37

K. S. ABELLA © sogestour

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ANA y CARLOS
Two ac bedrooms, ensuites, patio
Playa Giron village casa #39, about 500 m straight at the first fork coming from Playa Larga, on way to Caleta Buena. Tel. (45) 98-4341 cell 52 83 36 42

ANA y CARLOS RIZO

MIGUEL y ODALIS
Three ac bedrooms, large patio, dining room
Playa Giron, 15 m from camino principal, behind (and between) the public-housing edificios in front of Abella's Tel. (45) 98-4194 cell 54 16 96 26



DAMIAN y ILIANA
One aircon bedroom, ensuite, meals, parking
Across the street from Hostal Luis, on corner of road to Cienfuegos and road to Caleta Buena, 200 m from beach. Cell 53 53 57 34


VILLA MERCI
One ac bedroom, ensuite, patio
From the town's main intersection, on the way to Caleta Buena. Cell 52 27 96 57 or 52 29 24 37 or 52 71 01 84



JOSE y LUCY
Two ac bedrooms, ensuites, patio, parking
Calle 16 #788 Tel. (45) 98-4105 Cel. Jose 52 95 23 91 Lucy 54 87 97 18



HOSTAL AMELIA
Chambre clim, sdb privée, repas, parking
Tel. (45) 44-6598

SL 030315


RECOMMENDED BY PAPER GUIDEBOOKS IN PLAYA GIRON
Footprint (FH), Gallimard/Insight (GI), Lonely Planet (LP), Michelin (MC), Moon (MH), Rough Guide (RG)
::: FH : Hostal Luis, Ivette y Ronel, Lidia y Julio ::: FH : Hostal Luis ::: LP : Hostal Luis, KS Abella, Julio y Lidia, Ivette y Ronel ::: MC : El Castillito, Hostal Luis ::: MH : Hostal Luis, Villa Merci ::: RG : Aida y Miguel, K.S. Abella


SIGNATURE


Going south to the bay of Pigs, past Guama, before getting to Laguna del Tesoro, one goes through the quiet village of 700, Palpite © sogestour
•]• Poem by Pablo Neruda and its illustration in the Palpite town plaza © sogestour
CASA LIST BEGINS HERE
CIENAGA MAP HERE
Palpite is this small town which bus riders cross barely noticing just after going through Guama and its crocodile farm after passing by Laguna del Tesoro and its dock taking guests to the middle of the lake hotel. Road goes on to the bay of Pigs (bahia de Cochinos) going by the bayside towns of Playa Larga then Playa Giron.

The origin of the word Palpite is not clear. Local seniors have attributed it to the noise of water - like a tide - which rises in this swamp-filled region. A population of just 700 souls survive in some 195 dwellings. This used to be the poorest place in Cuba where carboneros (carbon wood used for cooking) toiled in dire conditions in an mosquito and crocodile filled region in Palpite and nearby Soplillar — until Fidel developed crocodile protection and nature protection schemes employing the people who used to poach the crocs.

Bird species abound in the vegetation of the Zapata Swamp. Crocodile farming has reached huge proportions of a few hundred meters north of here in Guama, almost saving the species. There are also muchos parrots, dogs and wild pigs and a rich concentration of gnats and mosquitoes. In addition, the strong presence depending on the mating season, of varieties of crabs, some red, others brown, black, yellow and white.

With the popularity of the huge nearby lake (Tesoro) and destinations further south, people of the area have slowly adapted to international travel (it's a bird watchers and scuba divers paradise) and began to work and established private restaurants and casas.

In this, "the middle of nowhere", a national institution founded for the emergence of artistic talent, Escuela de Arte Conjunto Korimakao; used to cater to local youth, now teaches young budding artists from all over la Isla Grande with volunteer teachers from the world over.

Cuba’s Green Revolution
::: Large swaths of this more-than-one-million-acre area – which stands out as Cuba’s best bird-watching venue – are protected from development. Orlando, a local naturalist, orients us to a section of the swamp.

::: We have barely disembarked the bus when we spot a pair of bee hummingbirds — almost indistinguishable from their insect namesake — hovering over delicate cream-colored Moringa blossoms. Most of us are so captivated with this discovery that we almost miss a mourning dove, great egret, and La Sagra’s flycatcher. And this isn’t even the most protected part of the swamp! ::: Jeanine Barone, Travel with Heart, NatGeo 12.04.13

DISTANCES
Australia & highway, 15
Caleta Buena, 36
Cárdenas, 114
Cienfuegos, 99
Jaguey Grande, 28
La Boca/Guama, 18
La Habana, 178
Las Salinas, 18
Matanzas, 150
Palpite, 3
Playa Girón, 32 km
Punta Perdiz, 18
Soplillar, 5
Trinidad, 171
Varadero, 185

Alerta! - Jesus Forjans, 1962
Juana & Bernabé, Casa del Zunzuncito, the Bee hummingbird © sogestour

Mapa prov matanzas



Conjunto Korimakao in rehearsal © unk

ONE OF THE MOST RIDICULOUS THINGS
NOCHEBUENA CARBONERA THING 59-09
A BEE HUMMINGBIRD IS A SMALL THING
SMITHSONIAN SHOWS THE CROC THING
Conjunto Korimakao founded in 1992 by Comandante Faustino Pérez and actor Manuel Porto; its theatre and music students tour villages of the Cienaga promoting ecology during summer © sogestour ] A show in 2010 © ecured


Casa del Zunzuncito — guests can't sleep there, they come to watch the bird show ] The magic tree which attracts zunzuncitos © sogestour


It's the farmacia, its staff is named farmacéuticos © sogestour


A casa, a garage door, a work of "Munchesque" art © sogestour


On December 25 1959, Fidel surprised the population of Soplillar (and its dirt-poor carboneros) by joining them for a Xmas dinner ] 50 years later, he came back to inaugurate Memorial de la Cena Carbonera which includes a modest but modern library © marisol ruiz soto

The elusive bee hummingbird © carol foil, flickr ] Fernando rest rant patio © sogestour


Palpite is the small town which tourists cross — barely noticing it — goin' down South after Boca de Guama, the crocodile farm and Laguna del Tesoro.


The Escuela de arte is Conjunto Korimakao © sogestour


"The CIA was forcing JFK to do what they wanted — a quick take-over of Castro. The Brigada 2506 heroes should have realized it was
the CIA that had screwed them by a lack of human decency and military respect." © combatreform dot org


HOSTAL ENRIQUE
Two aircon bedrooms, ensuites, patio
Calle 2da no 33 e/5ta y 11na, about 300 m west of the main road. Cell 52 25 16 90




HOSTAL YULY-YENIER
Two ac bedrooms, shared bath, ranchon, pool
Calle 11na-A, no 14, entre 2da y 4ta Cell 52 25 80 23 or 58 21 17 99



SIGNATURE


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Jaguey Grande
OUR CASA LIST BEGINS HERE
REGIONAL MAP HERE
CIENAGA JAGUEY
PLAYAGIRON PLAYALARGA

Some 500 meters from the junction of the trans-island autopista, on the way to Cienfuegos and Trinidad, gateway to Zapata Peninsula, this city of 57,000 grew in the golden era of sugar exports as the human resources supplier of Central Australia, the sugar mill by the highway.

The local sugar mill was dismantled in 2003 and its office building turned into a museum, the
Museo de la Comandancia, re-opened in 2011 after extensive modernization

The area is still quite active but the sugar mill staff has been
recycled into teachers, instructors and other jobs since 2002, when the dismantling of most of the sugar mill network began.

Before the Revolucion, the area numbered 877 privately-owned farms growing over some 30,000 acres; before the dismantling of the Russian empire, the local grove was said to cover 115,000 acres and was probably
the largest in the world under one management. Most harvests were the work of students and overall, about 27,000 workers were caring and picking full-time. Some 80% of citrus were red grapefruits (Henderson, Rio Red and Star Ruby varieties), the rest is limes and a few tangerines, mostly for export.

Today, joint ventures, with most notably
Israel takes up a fourth of the total Cuban production (500, 000 tons yearly) and limes are on the way up as demand from the US is increasing; also, local processing facilities are capable of producing the juice qualities demanded by U.S. consumers. In 2013-2014, a virus has hit most crops and is endangering the livelihood of hundreds of workers and millions in exports.

Jaguey Grande is also calm, away from the autopista nacional and is
a favored spot for those who want to enjoy the Cienaga de Zapata without having to face the mosquitoes which bug everyone every second day ...

DISTANCES
Caleta Buena, 66
Cárdenas, 114
Cienfuegos, 94
Colon, 43
Criadero de Cocodrilos, 15
La Boca/Guama, 17
La Habana, 150
Matanzas, 90
Palpite, 28
Playa Giron, 62
Playa Larga/Caleton, 30
La Habana, 146
Trinidad, 141
Trans-island highway (autopista), 1
Varadero, 90

Bay of Pigs Invasion-era poster © ICAIC


Mapa prov matanzas
Maps & Links here
Regional map here

kingdom of the citricos industry © Azerefu, panoramio
Peaceful kingdom of the
citricos industry © Azerefu, panoramio

Palacio del Pueblo + Chevrolet Naranjo © Cubanos 2112
Palacio del Pueblo + Chevrolet Naranjo © Cubanos 2112

Finca Fiesta Campesina, the Finquita restaurant © Lordcafe, panoramio
Finca Fiesta Campesina, the
Finquita restaurant © Lordcafe, panoramio


"Death to the invador",
the rallying cry was not heeded : Fidel sent the failing 1,290 CIA-supported exiles to prison for one year and then returned them to Florida in exchange for food and medication. ©

SEE.KNOW.DO
Scuba-diving in the Cienaga de Zapata — Details up this page

Hotel Batey Don Pedro (45) 91-2825, 10 cottages (35cuc double), for its green surroundings and the neighbouring Finca (Farm) Fiesta Campesina. Link

Casa de Cultura Rolando Tomás Escardó, calle 15 No. 5411 e/ 54 y 56 in Jaguey Grande

Boca de Guama is a tourist complex purportedly showing a aboriginal culture including snacks and restaurant, gift shop, a tiny croc show but mainly the dockfrom where to cruise or cross Laguna del Tesoro and reach Villa Guama, the lakeside hotel.

Finca Fiesta Campesina, nearby : typical Cuban cuisine feasts in a typical campesina farm in Australia.

Museo de la Comandancia, (Tue-Sun), the building used by Fidel to oversee the fight for the island's sovereignty, attacked by US-backed exiles in what was called the Bay of Pigs; the spot was the office of the Central Australia sugar mill, 500 meters from the autopista.

Criadero de Crocodilos (8-5pm), a breeding farm and Cuba's first environmental protection scheme, launched in 1962; a tiny zoo and ceramic shop — Taller de Ceramica — are on premises or nearby.

IN AND AROUND JAGUEY GRANDE :

Casa de Cultura

Cine General Antonio

Galeria municipal de Arte

Museo Memorial Comandancia

Fiesta Campesina

Central Australia
GETTING HERE WITH VIAZUL + MOVIN AROUND WITH GUAMA BUS TOUR
Get here from La Habana on route (ruta) #18 by VIAZUL which goes to Cienfuegos and Trinidad; the bus stops at "Entronque de Jaguey (fork)" before turning south : this is where you get off at 10h30 and cross the highway to enter Jaguey Grande; the bus goes through Playa Larga/Caleton, then Giron town along the bay of Pigs (Cochinos) and on to Cienfuegos and Trinidad cutting across mostly barren land through La Ceiba and Yaguaramas; Viazul schedule here. ::: Local minibus (guaguas) services cover the Cienaga from Playa Larga to Jaguey Grande at 8h and 16h30 from Playa Larga to Giron at 8h, 11h30, 16h30 and 20h from Giron to Playa Larga 3 x day : am, p.m. and 19h30

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PLAYALARGA PLAYAGIRON
BOOK BY PHONE
• From Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by Jaguey Grande's area code, 45) • From Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by Jaguey Grande's area code, 45) ••• HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 05 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 015 + the 7 digits of the cell.

BOOK BY EMAIL :
Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here.

Click photos to open page, read description and see more pictures. Locate town in region on this map.
See Jaguey Grande casas in sequence.

Click logo to see next.

BERTHA
Two ac br's, ensuites, piscina, terraza, bar
Calle 52 # 1727 entre 17 y 19, into town, blocks from bars and cultural activity. Tel. (45) 91-2116 or 91-2310.




SALVADOR y MARISOL - EL RANCHON
Four ac br's, ensuites, pool, ranchon, wifi
Calle 52 # 915, e/9 y11, by the police station.
Tel. (45) 91-2039 Cell esposa 53 53 69 93 cell 53 04 54 14




JORGE y NORA
Two ac bedrooms, ensuites,
Calle 17 #6005, e/60 y 62.Tel. (45) 91-2039 cell 52 93 83 62 or 52 92 03 39



ILEANA FENTE RAMIREZ V
Upstairs, two ac bedrooms, ensuites
Calle 15 #5831, e/58 y 60 . Tel. (45) 91-3738 cel. 52 44 21 17

sondra82@hotmail.com

DOÑA LOIDA V
Two ac br's, ensuites
Road to playa Larga from Jaguey Grande; facing restaurant Pio Cua Los Alpes. Tel. (45)




RECOMMENDED BY OTHERS IN JAGUEY GRANDE
Footprint (FH), Lonely Planet (LP), Michelin (MC) et Moon (MH)
FH : Casa Bertha, Violeta Pita


SIGNATURE


Content & photos © sogestour

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Updated 18.11.2017