Cayo Largo on Cuba is definitely the place for parties that enjoy pleasure sailing, diving and lounging on endless white beaches. Very close to the mainland Cuba, this small patch of sand boasts some of the most well-preserved coral reefs in the world, some of the wildest scenery and some of the best weather in the Caribbean. Just set sail with a charter yacht from Cienfuegos in the early morning and throw your anchor in the blue lagoon of Cayo Largo the same evening.
Sea & Coast
This oddly shaped island off the south coast of Cuba is little more than a speck of sand in the middle of the Caribbean but it’s also one of the most beautiful and visited places in Cuba by enthusiasts due to its wonderful clear blue waters, its white sands and absolutely amazing coral reefs.
Built entirely out of limestone by corals over the course of millions of years, Cayo Largo was named after its shape. Sitting in the Canarreos Archipelago, it officially belongs to the municipality of the Isle of Youth. The reason it’s so famous among sailors is not only the beautiful scenery but also the fact that it’s just 177 km from Havana and 135 km from Nueva Gerona.
There are 27 km of long, sandy beaches for your crew to enjoy, the most important being Lindamar, Sirena, Los Cocos and Paraíso which all enjoy the calm waves of the Caribbean. It’s worth mentioning that the sea floor here is considered the best preserved in the world and even if it’s not as spectacular as say the Great Barrier Reef, it’s still fascinating and worth a visit.
Not much variety in the vegetation species in Cayo Largo but tourists will be able to enjoy the mangrove (especially in the north) and coconut-tree patches which are typical to this part of the world, but also the more uncommon pine trees and ferns. There are also the omnipresent pine trees and some wild flower species including jasmine. And living in the trees there is a myriad of colorful, noisy birds such as parakeets and parrots, hummingbirds and Cuban woodpeckers. The island is also home to the prized Cuban iguana.
Though located in the Caribbean Sea, the island enjoys a moderate tropical climate which means pleasant temperatures throughout the year. Due to its geographical position and the shape of the island (lack of high altidudes) the prevailing winds blow from the east, bringing cool air from out at sea. The annual average temperatures range between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius, a real delight for sailors visiting here.
Culture & History
The first time the island’s name is mentioned is in the 17th century, in the reports of the Captain General of the Island. Even if it’s believed that Cayo de Largo was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his second expedition in 1494, the first inhabitants must have been Amerindians in the 14th and 15th centuries. However, the most interesting part of the island’s history to holidaymakers is the pirate period.
Some of the most resounding names are John Hawkins and the “Terror of the Seas” Francis Drake, French Jean Laffite and Latrobe which set up headquarters on the island as late as 1819. Also, there is still a legend regarding the buried treasure of Henry Morgan who landed in Cayo Largo on his way to sack the city of Puerto Principe.
Seamanship & Experience
Sailing to the island of Cayo Largo is a real treat for those lovers. The blue waters, the fresh, white sand and the permanent clear sky provide the setting for a lovely holiday off the beaten path. You’ll be glad to know that there is an international marina which boasts state of the art equipment and also some 30 diving centers.
The main winds blow from the east but never with enough force to produce big waves, the region being known for its calm, clear waters. The most popular way of getting here for sailors is through Cienfuegos on the mainland.