Beautiful coastal resort on the southwest tip of Cuba. Tatty, inexpensive accommodation, limited food, lovely people, stunning coral sea and white sand beach. Difficult to get to, but that ensures only the more adventurous tourists get there. Fantastic scuba diving with a friendly crew.
If you drive there, you can't afford to be squeamish about crushing crabs, there is a crab crossing area on the way in and you won't be able to avoid them. Otherwise, take a taxi from Pinar del Rio (it's not worth an overnight stay)and get chatting with the driver!
The beach at Maria la Gorda ('Fat Mary') is said to be named after a Venezualan courtesan abandoned there by pirates once upon a time.
It's in the Cabo San Antonio nature reserve on the remote south western corner of Cuba. In 1999 it was the idyllic home of a little scuba diving school, six or seven chalets and a cocktail bar.
We hired a car in Havana and drove south west via Pinar del Rio. The journey took four or five hours, and we gave lifts to Cubans who gave us directions.
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