Cuba // Artemisa and Pinar del Río //

María La Gorda

Turn left after La Bajada to get to the Península de Guanahacabibes’ most popular spot, María La Gorda, where there is an international dive centre and a small hotel complex on a fine white-sand beach. The relaxing drive here follows the shoreline of the bay, with dense forest on one side and an open expanse of brilliant, placid blue-green water on the other. Along the way are a few slightly scrappy but likeable little beaches, which you can make your own if you want complete privacy, but it’s best to wait, as there’s usually plenty of room on the much larger beach belonging to the resort at the end of the road. The white-sand beach is expansive enough for guests and non-guests (who can use the beach for free) to spread out without feeling too crowded. The sense of idyll is marred only slightly by the presence of a hard frill of rock which fringes the sand at the water’s edge; and the fact that as the beach is rarely swept, a small amount of debris usually accumulates.

You should bring enough cash to cover all your costs here, as there are no banks, ATMs or places to change money, and the restaurants don’t accept credit cards (though the little shop does).

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