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Cayo Largo’s scenery and sugar-white beaches make it one of Cuba’s most sought-after tourist destinations. The tiny key sits in the calm Caribbean waters, at the easternmost tip of the Archipélago de los Canarreos off Cuba’s southern coast. The island is comprised of limestone, formed over millions of years from the remains of marine organisms, much like the ones that form coral reefs.

Cayo Largo and the nearby Isla de la Juventud offer spectacular scuba diving – most notably among the reefs off Punta Francés. Protected from strong sea currents, the seabed is varied and unspoiled, with an abundance of underwater caves, valleys and steep, gorgonian-encrusted walls. Whether you’re a beginner or a diving pro, you’ll marvel at the coral formations, colourful sponges and breathtaking tropical fish on display in the warm, translucent water.

On dry land, the lush island gives nature-lovers lots to enjoy. Spend a moonlit evening watching turtles nest on the beach. Native wildlife also include flamingos, iguanas and Cuba’s tiny bee hummingbirds. Both Cayo Largo and Isla de La Juventud have fascinating museums with unique artifacts and exhibits. A particular point of interest is the Cueva de Punta del Este, called the ‘aboriginal Sistine Chapel’ – a cave featuring hundreds of historic pictographs.

Local flavour

Don’t miss Cayo Largo’s ancient La Yana Tree, which reportedly predates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Legend has it that pirates and corsairs used the tree as a guide when hiding their treasures, Or, head to Nueva Gerona, capital city of the Isla de la Juventud, to hear sucu sucu, a local variation of the famous Cuban son.

The immaculate white-sand beaches on Cayo Largo make the most of their incredible natural assets. Most of the hotels here offer beachside equipment rentals, so in addition to soaking up the sun you can enjoy sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and water skiing.

Cayo Iguana

Join the colourful iguanas basking in the sun on this peaceful key located just north of Cayo Largo.

Playa Tortuga

Sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand at this beach located northeast of Cayo Largo’s main resort area.

Playa Mal Tiempo

Savour the seclusion at this remote beach featuring plenty of nature-watching opportunities.

Playa Paraíso

Sip a Caribbean cocktail in the sand at this sunny southern beach that has a charming beachside bar.

Playa Sirena

One of Cuba’s most beautiful beaches, Playa Sirena’s shimmering stretch of white-sugar sand melts into the blue Caribbean waters. This picturesque enclave on the western side of the key is close to Cayo Largo’s all-inclusive hotels, and offers easy access to water activities like windsurfing and kayaking.

Cayo Largo is a Caribbean paradise particularly popular with divers, who are attracted by the region’s magnificent seascapes and amazingly beautiful seabed. The calm Caribbean waters also offer excellent sailing and fishing.

Boating and sailing

Sailing is an ideal way to explore the beautiful keys surrounding Cayo Largo.

Trimaran Tour to Cayo Rico

Sail over to Cayo Rico, where you’ll be sure to spot some iguanas. The trimaran tour to Cayo Rico includes a stop at the beach, snorkeling, lunch and an open bar.

Blue and Ciprey Catamaran

Enjoy a day-tour on a small catamaran, from which you can go snorkeling along the coral barrier, visit Cayo Iguana and swim in the sea. The tour includes a lobster lunch and an open bar.

Marina Internacional Cayo Largo

This bustling marina has a floating pier with 36 docking points available for mid-sized yachts.

Fishing

The region is teeming with fish, including tuna, snapper, stone bass, bonefish and shad.

Marina Internacional Cayo Largo

Set off on your own fishing adventure from here. The region is great for deep-sea fishing: you can reel in sierras, tuna, snapper, stone bass and more. Or try your hand at fly-fishing, and bait some bonefish, shad and Ray’s bream.

Scuba diving and snorkeling

The Archipélago de los Canarreos, which includes Cayo Largo and Isla de la Juventud, has 56 designated dive sites that offer spectacular underwater sightseeing opportunities. The diversity of the seabed has fostered a wealth of marine life here, with coral walls, caverns, tunnels and sunken ships to explore.

Marina Internacional Cayo Largo

Most of the Cayo Largo dive excursions depart from this busy marina. There are 30 points of interest in and around the key, including intricate coral bottoms and steep walls covered with gorgonians.

Colony International Scuba Diving Center (Isla de la Juventud)

This renowned dive center services 56 dive sites, including access to the National Maritime Park at Punta Francés, one of the world’s most outstanding diving areas. The center hosts Fotosub, the prestigious international underwater photography competition.

Cayo Largo’s natural assets have been carefully protected. For a look at a fascinating cave featuring historic pictograms, venture over to the nearby Isla de la Juventud to explore the Cueva de Punta del Este.

Excursions

Explore the extensive natural attractions found on and around Cayo Largo. On the Isla de la Juventud (the largest island within the Archipiélago de los Canarreos) you can visit the town of Nueva Gerona, or explore pre-Columbian cave paintings.

Cueva de Punta del Este (Isla de la Juventud)

This national monument located south of Nueva Gerona on the Isla de la Juventud has been called ‘the aboriginal Sistine Chapel’ of the Caribbean. The cave was discovered in 1910, and features 235 historic pictographs.

Wildlife viewing

Join one of the many organized nature-watching tours offered from Cayo Largo. You just might see some of the flamingos, iguanas and monkeys that call the remote keys west of Cayo Largo home.

Jeep tour

Take a Jeep tour of Cayo Largo, which includes stops at a crocodile breeding farm, a turtle farm, the television tower, Casa del Tabaco and the ancient tree La Yana. It also includes snorkeling and lunch.

Trimaran tour to Cayo Rico

Sail over to Cayo Rico, where you’ll be sure to spot some iguanas. The trimaran tour to Cayo Rico includes a stop at the beach, snorkeling, lunch and an open bar.

Horseback riding

Saddle up behind the beach at Playa Blanca for a brisk gallop along the stunning, unspoiled Cayo Largo coastline.

Soak up the region’s unique culture and rich history by visiting one of its museums, or enjoying the rhythms of quiet city life in Nueva Gerona on the Isla de la Juventud.

Museums

Beyond the stunning beaches, you’ll find some fascinating museums that offer a glimpse into the region’s history.

Museo Finca El Abra (Isla de la Juventud)

Visit the colonial farmhouse where José Marti endured his house arrest in 1870.

Casa Museo

Explore artifacts and exhibits about Cayo Largo’s commercial, cultural and social history

Take the kids to a turtle farm, where they can learn about the creatures inside the shells. Or enjoy a fun family outing to a local recreation hall.

Iguana recreational facility

Go bowling, play pool or learn about Cayo Largo’s history at this fun entertainment venue.

Granja de las Tortugas

Take the kids on a fun and educational visit to this small turtle farm in Combinado. During nesting season, from May to September, it offers evening turtle-watching excursions to several of Cayo Largo’s beaches.

Nightclubs and Bars

Evening entertainment can be found at local discotheques and nightclubs, in addition to shows hosted in the hotels. Visit La Movida, La Taberna and El Torreón in the Boulevard, where the music and fun never stop.

Recreational center La Movida

If you love good times and good music, this is spot for you. Kick up your heels with the locals and enjoy great Cuban salsa music along with great Cuban rum.

El Pirata Tavern

Enjoy recorded music and traditional Cuban-style rhythms at this friendly tavern. Open 24 hours.

Iguana Disco

For an evening of karaoke (as well as recorded music), head to the Iguana. Open: 10:00 pm – 5:00 am.

Restaurants and Cafes

El Torreón

This friendly restaurant, with it’s decor evoking the days of pirates and corsairs, is a great place to enjoy traditional Cuban food and drink, a good cold beer, and lively music.

Shopping

The Cigar Shop (in the Boulevard)

Friendly, knowledgeable staff will help you choose from a fine selection of cigars, rum and jewelry at this shop, which features a Cava offering renowned brands of Cuba’s famous cigars; an exclusive jeweler’s; and a VIP room where you can enjoy an excellent cigar, accompanied by a superb Cuban rum.

Artisans Plaza

Artisans selling jewelry, woodwork, leather and a fascinating assortment of handmade crafts can be found throughout the area around the Boulevard.

Carnaval

In the evening, the Boulevar de Cayo Largo comes alive with joyful fiestas. One of the best, the Cayo Largo carnival, is celebrated along this bustling avenue.