I am writing this after my third visit to Cayo Largo.
Scuba diving was the reason I went to Cayo Largo. Ten days of diving this time. Amazing! We were lucky to find a whale shark in our very first dive. The Cuban instructors, Israel, Ridder – thank you kindly! Nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays, moray eels – every day, every dive. One dive costs 37CUC. A bus picks up divers from hotels starting 8:45am. Usually the diving is finished by 2:30pm. I will go diving there again in a heartbeat. My favorite dive sites there are Punta Meliza, La Montana, Espondrilo. For the shallow dives Aquarium I & II are very nice with tons of fish. I shall say that diving back in April this year wasn’t nearly as spectacular as this time. I don’t know why we did not see any sharks back in April.
Be aware that lionfish is invading Cuban waters and it does it fast. 6 months ago I recall seeing just one or two lionfish there. This time an instructor killed 26(!) of them in just one dive and that’s guiding the tourists (us). Yes, killed them, don’t be surprised. This is not going to save Caribbean islands from these invasive species of course. But at least this is going to slow it down a tiny bit. Although it is a deadly venomous fish it is a very tasty one. They may cook one for you if you insist. Of course having a lobster between the dives is more traditional. Save a lobster, get a lionfish instead. You won’t regret it!
The marina is beautiful. Do not forget to visit the Turtle Farm there. It only costs 1CUC.
It appears they are about to start renting out 25 horse power small boats at the marina. I would definitely get one to explore the mangroves and lagoons.
The island is tiny and one could get bored there (I doubt that!) after a few days. This time we discovered horse riding. What an experience! For 6 CUC/hour a guide will take you through the bushes to the ocean. You’ll see things you think could never exist on this island. Birds, sand crabs, an occasional garden snake, iguanas, even salt water crocodiles if you are really lucky. Yes, salt water crocodiles live there in mangroves. They are masters of camouflage, but you’ll find one if you really want to.
The best guide is Ramon. Hi speak good English. He will teach you to ride a horse even if you have never done so. He will tell you so many stories about this island and Cuba – you simply can’t find this kind of information in any books. On our very last day we went for a ride with a guide Alberto as Ramon was busy that day. Our bus was leaving to the airport at 6:30pm. I booked a horse ride from 4-6pm. We already checked out and had nothing else to do. Alberto speaks no English, nada. All he knew that I wanted to see a sunset. He took us all the way to Paraiso beach. That’s 8 km. The sunset was magnificent. But I could not explain to Alberto using a sign language that our bus is leaving tonight and it is already 6 pm. (A note to myself to learn a few Spanish words next time!) He did not care that I paid just for 2 hours. He just wanted us to enjoy the beach and the sunset. And he could not understand why this weird gringo was showing him his watch again and again. We made it just in time to get on the bus.
Great place with great friendly people!