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.
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.
Head to Nueva Gerona, capital city of the Isla de la Juventud, to hear sucu sucu, a local variation of the famous Cuban son.