No, no… not diving with crocodiles, these were two completely separate attractions :) Everything planned, and it worked out as usual. Although the crocodile farm was not in our plans, it was a good thing that the weather didn’t cooperate.
In addition, we caught a flat tire along the way…. That is, about how to look for positives in situations when not everything goes as we planned :)
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What to do in Playa Larga?
The plan was to snorkel, visit a nearby reserve and spend a lazy afternoon on Playa Larga.
In the morning, we had a traditional Cuban breakfast (with delicious banana pancakes) and sipped on freshly squeezed fruit juices.
Immediately afterwards, we set off in the direction where we could dive, namely Punta Perdiz. You can get there by bus, which the owners of the casa will organize for you, or you can get there on your own and join some group. We went by car, and met a group of Frenchmen on the spot, which we were able to join.
I decided to dive, and Paweł decided to snorkel at the shore (that is, in Polish, to swim with a snorkel). There were a whole 4 of us diving.
At first a quick question from the instructor, who had already dived the rally I eagerly raised my hand, which turned out to be a bit of a tease. The instructor (a very nice man) assumed that those 4 people who raised their hand already knew how to dive and did not need instruction (who would waste time on that), and the rest of the less experienced would swim in the second round. So all the preparation took a maximum of 15 minutes, including the preparation of equipment, and the instructions were limited to information on how to behave in a close encounter with a barracuda. What instructions there, the kitten more important!
The dive itself was unique for me in that it was going directly down from the shore, rather than taking a boat to the reef. The reef is very close to the shore and is simply beautiful! It was probably the first time where I really relaxed and felt the fun of diving. I didn’t worry about equipment, indicators, and only focused on the reef and all those strange sea creatures.
We dived to about 11-12 meters, and not once did I have a problem in equalizing the pressure. The reef consisted of two faults, and it was a fantastic sensation when you swam to the fault, and there below was emptiness. Of course, the Cubans have thought of the tourists and in addition to the reef, we can see a shipwreck and even an exhibition on the bottom! We managed to see the barracuda twice (it quite eagerly swam over whenever it smelled food).
We highly but highly recommend you to visit this place. Diving in the Bay of Pigs is not only one of the cheapest, it is also one of the most beautiful and enjoyable.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, we surfaced, even though I thought it was still a long way to shore. Only after a while did I realize that it was pouring rain and the sky was dark as if a storm was approaching.
We quickly dressed and packed up to get there in time for the lightning. For much of the way to the casa particular we were accompanied by the now familiar crabs. We managed to arrive before the cloudburst and waited on the veranda until it stopped pouring.
Since there was no indication of improvement, we decided to buy bananas from a nearby stall. It turned out that we actually buy them straight from the tree (probably the best we’ve eaten so far).
Ponchera – remember this word in Cuba ;)
Returning, we discovered that we wouldn’t get far because we had a flat tire. And here with help came a guide thanks to whom we learned the word‘Ponchera‘ – which helped us a lot to get along with the owner of the casa. As soon as it stopped raining, he helped us change the wheel and pointed us to the nearest vulcanization point.
It turned out that we had already ridden past Poncher about 4 times and had not once noticed this point – it was a simple tin box, a few tires inside (with bicycles dominating). Fortunately, we were able to make a deal by signaling and after about 20 minutes and 10 CUCs we had the tire repaired, along with the nasty pinch that perforated the tire for us (long live the crabs on the roads!).
Since there was still a bit of daylight ahead of us, we popped over to a nearby window to grab something to chew on (a broken radiator meant we had a choice of a roll with marmalade or a roll with mayonnaise) and set off towards a nearby nature reserve where you can see a variety of birds including flamingos :)
Unfortunately, it turned out that the roads towards the reserve are difficult to access, and we preferred not to risk this trip in such weather with our wonderful chariot…. So we decided to go to a crocodile farm, which we hadn’t planned to visit before.
As with the dive, there were no crowds – we joined a tour consisting of one Dutch family of four. The guide told us many interesting facts about crocodiles and their breeding in Cuba.
During the walk, we walked between stalls, where the crocodiles were divided by age: from the smallest ones a few weeks old to those several decades old. Seeing such animals up close makes you realize how powerful these creatures are, and humans don’t stand a chance with their big jaws.
Finally, of course, souvenirs and a restaurant. Can you guess which “stuffed” animal we liked best? :)
Fortunately, on the farm we managed to see some more interesting bird specimens that we had not seen here before. So we reflected lightly on the lack of a trip to the nature reserve.
We also invite you to check out our gallery from around Playa Larga and Playa Giron: