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Maria La Gorda: Secluded Beach in the Heart of Nature Reserve

It is located in the Peninsula Guanahacabibes, West of Cuba. The peninsula itself was declared as Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. We drove for around 3 hours from Las Terrazas. It was only three hours driving but the closer we were, the more I felt how isolated Maria La Gorda was.

I was so excited to see how clear the sea water along the coast. The beach was white; the water was blue and calm. Maria La Gorda is a perfect place for relaxing combined with snorkeling and swimming in the sea. However, it is very isolated from anywhere. The only way to get there is by rental car; tour bus (organized by a travel agent in Havana) or classic car taxi.

Maria La Gorda means Maria, the Fat. The name derived from a story of a Venezuelan woman with enormous breasts named María, who was stranded in the coastal area of Guanahacabibes after her father’s ship crashed. It was believed that she tried to survive by becoming a food trader for the ships who passed by. But there was another story that Maria was providing prostitution service to the sailors that had made the area so famous and, in the end, being called after her.

At present, there is only one hotel in the area, and it is called Maria La Gorda Hotel. No Casa Particulares nor restaurants in the area. You will have to depend on the hotel services. The only restaurant available there was okay. Our choice was buffet or ala carte menu. I forgot the cost of the buffet; I took the buffet for lunch and dinner after found out that some menu in ala carte were also included in the buffet.

And of course, we did diving in Maria La Gorda. We stayed for three nights and did ten dives in total. The dive center is attached to the hotel. Besides of diving or any water activities, tourist can also take a trip to Guanahacabibes National Park. The hotel can help in arranging a tour guide to the National Park.

We also noticed that the area has lots of cows and they were everywhere including in the beach area. But no one from the hotel staff seemed dares to oust the cows from hotel’s complex and beach. We found out that these cows are state-owned animals, and they get full protection. Anyone who kills any (wild) cows would face jail sentences. No kidding. This is how Cuban government tried to preserve their last cows and in responding to the lack of cow’s meat and milk.



  1. I also stayed here! The nature around is very lunar like. The sea was beautiful. We also stayed in another resort, somewhere “across the bay” but cannot remember the name.
    We had wanted to visit Cuba for such a long time but it did not turn out to be our favorite destination. Difficult to explain but first of all everything was very challenging… (much more than ever in India, we felt, strangely!). But yes, I would like to return, but to do Cuba by boat. That must be fantastic!

    • Maria La Gorda was beautiful indeed 🙂 I think the resort you stayed probably much better than the one we stayed 😀 Cuba was challenging for us too but we like it and we hope we can visit the country again, I just like the Caribbean atmosphere 🙂 Cuba boat sounds exciting! Like a mini cruise ship around Cuba? Have you written your Cuba trip yet? PS: I will be bit slow in responding after this..will be off to Valencia soon for a long weekend, as I am back to normal daily life, I will respond asap 😀 xoxoxo (and have a great weekend!!)

      • Hey, we stayed a few nights at the same dive resort than you (after all, there is only one, “the main one”, at least when we were there) but then it got full so we found another one.
        The first one was quite basic. Many bats I remember!!!! The food was ok but nothing special… The second was a bit more stylish, but still quite simple.

        We did a 8-person catamaran snorkeling trip in the islands of Seychelles by a company called Dream Yacht just before Cuba and that was really cool. Turtles 🙂
        So, after Cuba we said to ourselves that we should have used this means of travel to visit Cuba.

        This may be hard to explain and I hate talking negatively about traveling and countries, but I somehow felt that Cuba was not what I had expected, it did not meet the marketing image it had created to sell itself. Sounds weird I know!

        I remember being puzzled. I had worked in Haiti and Costa Rica in the past, and prior to visiting Cuba I was expecting to witness something really unique, but to me Haiti and Costa Rica were much more authentic. I know, sounds harsh!

        Also, Cuba is one of two countries where I have had a big problems with (child) prostitution.

        Well, some of my thoughts! I must be the only person who is not that fond of Cuba 😉

        Have a lovely long weekend in Valencia!! The weather keeps staying hot so you will have great beach time too I assume?! 🙂

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