Even if the Isla de la Juventud and María la Gorda are at the top of the list of preferences of most seabed lovers, the Bahía de Cochinos is able to offer equally interesting underwater experiences. There is indeed a very large reef running 30 to 40m off the coast for over 30km from Playa Larga to Playa Girón: a fantastic natural feature which has created a 300m high, coral encrusted wall with stunning gaps through which you can swim and full of caves, sea fans and marine animals. Even better, this wall's proximity to the coast makes the region's 30+ dive sites easily accessible even without a boat – just head a short distance from the beach. The visibility of the southern coast is good and goes from 30 to 40 m; furthermore, there are some wrecks littered in the area.
Organizationally, Playa Girón is well managed, with highly qualified instructors located at five different sites along the coast. In principle, the prices are among the cheapest in Cuba for both diving and snorkelling.
The International Scuba Center, in Villa Playa Girón, is the main diving centre.
La Guarandinga is a colorful ‘bus for divers' that picks up tourists in the morning at various points in Playa Girón and takes them to Playa el Tanque, on the way to Playa Larga, the best dive site in the area, particularly suitable for beginners because the departure takes place in shallow water.
Eight kilometers southeast of Playa Girón is Caleta Buena, a delightful sheltered cove, perfect for snorkelling and equipped for swimming in natural pools and sunbathing. Here, ribbons of black coral protect several sinkholes and underwater caves, crowded with the oddly shaped sponges for which the area is known – a great opportunity to do some underwater caving! Since seawater mixes with fresh water at this point, the species present are different from those at other sites. It is possible to rent a mask and snorkel at a cost
Other underwater treasures can be seen at the Cueva de los Peces a freshwater tectonic fault (or cenote), about 70 m deep, which meets on the inland side of the road, almost halfway between Playa Larga and Playa Girón. In addition to the many colorful tropical fish, with mask and snorkel or with scuba gear you can admire the darkest and most sinister parts of the cenote (bring a flashlight). There is a restaurant and a dive shop nearby.
Just after Cueva de los Peces, Punta Perdiz is another superb snorkelling and diving spot where you can explore an American landing craft sunk during the Bay of Pigs invasion. The shallow waters are a splendid blue and offer interesting underwater panoramas already close to the beach. There is a small dive center on site, as well as a beach volleyball court, and you might as well challenge the friendly keepers at dominoes.
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