Maria la Gorda
It is a legendary diving destination located in the real west of Cuba, about 300km away from Havana, in the Bahía de Corrientes Bay (Pinar del Rio Province). According to the ancient legend, once there was Caribbean pirates’ base, and pretty Maria was their host and attendant - she cooked, served drinks, treated slashes got in fighting, consoled the gloomy... As she allegedly was a bit fat, she was called Fat Mary - Maria la Gorda. When she died, she was buried by pirates under the tallest palm in the bay - and as proof of gratitude they put a magnificent pirate treasure in the grave with her body. Although there were a lot of attempts, the treasure hasn’t yet been found. Who knows - it may wait for you...
And even if you haven’t found the pirate treasure, it isn’t necessary to feel desperate - the Guanahacabibes Peninsula itself is one of the greatest natural treasures in Cuba. The whole area of over 50 000ha is part of the national park with the same name which was in 1987 designated as a UNESCO world biosphere reserve. The coral world below the water surface and intact countryside around the coast are one (after Jardines de la Reina and Cayo Largo) of the most beautiful areas you can see in Cuba.
| ||A small diving resort called Maria la Gorda is not one of pompous luxury tourist centres but in spite of this - or rather because of this - it is a popular oasis of peace and quiet in the uninhabited and intact countryside. || |
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Maria la Gorda
A small diving resort called Maria la Gorda is located directly on one of the local beaches. It contains 38 bungalows, two restaurants, reception and diving base. The double rooms are equipped modestly but cleanly and sufficiently. Each room has its own sanitary facilities, TV, air-conditioning, minibar and safe box.
| ||Breakfast and dinner are served in the restaurant on the beach as buffet. Besides the beach restaurant, there is bar-restaurant "la carta" for guests. It is not possible to pay with cards there; and as no ATM is available far and wide, we recommend bringing a sufficient amount of cash for the holiday in Maria la Gorda. " || |
| ||The diving base is relatively well equipped compared with the local situation. Dives are usually organized three times a day, by ship, directly from the base pier. The schedule of dives is quite simple - it is okay to sign on at the dive centre one day in advance. A majority of more than fifty localities are reachable up to twenty-minute cruise.. || |
| ||The coral reefs in the area of Maria la Gorda - Ensenada de Corrientes - are one the most protected biotopes in Cuba. From the depth of 5m you can watch individual reef formations with rich fauna containing more than twenty coral species (particularly gorgonian) and plenty of tiny and medium coral fish; it is often possible to watch lobsters, crabs and green morays in rocky holes. || |
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With an increasing depth, the individual coral blocks form chains creating peculiar formations - walls and mountain ranges with channels, tunnels and canals.
Maria la Gorda
| ||The local coral walls are richly decorated with structures very attractive for divers - canyons, holes and vertical caves in which you can watch wonderful colonies of black coral, large pillow or pipe sponge, and up to 2m-long gorgonian. || |
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As regards the fish swimming around the walls, we often see barracuda, various species of horse mackerel, snapper, grouper and ray. The number of shark is considerably lower there compared with that in Jardines de la Reina, but you can also see there nurse shark... and occasionally - when being lucky - whale shark.
Maria la Gorda is a classic Cuban locality, proved by years and years of diving. Through its position away from civilization - the sea on one side and jungle on the other side - it provides a chance of romantic holidays full of diving experiences. In view of the fact that, except for diving and relaxing on the beach, there is de facto "nothing to do", the destination is not very suitable for divers with non-diver family members.
Guided trips :
The price from 1,150 euro includes two nights at a hotel in Havana with breakfast, transfer from Havana, 7 days of accommodation in a double room in the Maria la Gorda resort with a half board, 10 dives, and transfer back to Havana (the prices are in force from 01-01-2017 until further notice, min. 9 divers).
For individual travellers (without guide) :
On-line BOOKING DIVING MARIA la GORDA (10 dives=260 EURO) BOOK YOUR HOTEL (from 42 EURO p.p.)