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Sailing in Cuba - Cayo Largo and onwards

Maggie's avatar By Maggie | 06 Apr 2017
Iguana sitting on a white rock on an island in Cub

The tiny island of Cayo Largo is a big earner of foreign currency for Cuba. Cut off from the world by the USA embargo and bullying, Cuba has had to survive and develop as it can. In Cayo Largo, in addition to the resorts, there is the modern marina to encourage tourism. A bar on the marina serves cocktails and snacks, a hotel and restaurant a medical clinic, small shop and post office, turtle farm and the marina office.

Immigration is taken very seriously and the officials are friendly and smiling but the process is not taken lightly. Crew lists are inspected with passports and all crew present, duly stamped and signed, before we are free to enjoy the island.

Water and power are available on the quay when they are available in the town. The nearby airport brings tourists in and out and five taxis service the resorts which line a strip of white sand beach along the southern shore.

The clinic is simple but well run and the doctor who looks about 20 years old is competent as is his staff as we find out when one of our crew has to be medicated. De-hydrated after days of the Cuba version of Bali-belly two bottles of fluid are administered and a prescription – good to go!

The bay outside the harbor is a perfect anchorage for yachts not in need of water or town services. The white sand beach Playa Sirena, recently rated in the world top ten, is just outside the anchorage and her stunning white sand wraps around the entrance to the bay where skippers beach their catamaran for passengers to step ashore.

In the same bay the famous iguanas have a similar white sand resort to themselves and the tourists wade ashore to inspect these local vegetarian inhabitants. With the warm water, soft white sand and the sunshine in this protected bay it is too easy to suppose this paradise is never changing. But hurricanes have been known to wreak havoc here. 

The area is the perfect leisure day place to rest after the long two day motor sail from Cienfuegos. Swimming or walking, resting or exploring our crews are met with the now customary experience of meeting polite, helpful people at every turn. The WIFI however continues to frustrate any hardy habitual addicts who cannot leave it alone.

At first sailing to Cayo Rosario but eventually motoring our arrival and anchoring for the night is followed by a BBQ on board including freshly caught fish and lobster. Unbelievable! The local skipper Carlos has worked in these waters for 25 years and certainly knows his way around and Vlad has grown up here. This is his back yard so the two of them are indispensable and have now settled in comfortably with us as part of the team.

Both are a wealth of information and local knowledge – a trip here would be so much less without them. They share our table, our jokes and proudly show us their place.

After another breezy night the day warms and calms. We are two cats together in the bay and the turquoise water stretches as far as the eye can see with the exception of the low reef and low tree clad island.

As we return by the same route one day drifts into the next in a sundrenched rhythm with the sound of the sea and wind in our ears and the smell of salt water on our browning skins. We feast on the bounty these waters bring to our table.