In Playa Larga, let’s not say there are inconveniences or dangers, it could be said that several things are missing:
Spiders are missing in this town located in the national park of La Ciénaga de Zapata, mosquitoes are everywhere, the most abundant and dangerous that we have faced in Cuba. Bring repellent and mosquito nets.
There are almost no restaurants and, as in the rest of Cuba, those there take advantage of it:
- Prices are more expensive than in Old Havana, we have been asked 15 $CUC for a hamburger at a seedy kiosk, not even in the Upper East Side… In the end we found sandwiches for 3.5 $CUC and that was our lunch.
- In one of the main restaurants, “Chuchi el Gordo” they had the nerve to show us a menu, and when they saw that we were leaving, they said they had been wrong and we got another menu exactly the same but with all the prices 4 $CUC cheaper, saying that “those were the prices yesterday”, because of course, as everyone knows, restaurant prices are higher on Thursdays than on Fridays… The worst thing is that after such a nonsense, we ended up having dinner there the first night, because with the prices on the second menu it was the least expensive restaurant in the village apart from those that had a tendency to cause you diarrhea, and I admit it was the best dinner of the trip.
- But still we did not skip stomach problems: since we had sandwiches in a small restaurant on the first day and we did well, the second we emboldened and did the same thing in a street stall, and we think that could be what annoyed us during the tour in Topes de Collantes.
Transportation is lacking. Almost all of us who come here do it for diving:
- The dives begin at 11am and end at the appropriate time so that you do not have time to take the Viazul to anywhere; those who stay in the neighboring Playa Giron may reach the last one at 14:35 Cienfuegos direction, but if you buy the ticket in advance you risk not to arrive on time to the bus, and if you do not buy it, you risk it will be full. In our dive group, those who wanted to go at that time could only do the first dive. And of course in the afternoon no buses nor colectivos leave.
- So, unless you have your own wheels or rent a private taxi, once you dive, you are trapped in this expensive village until the next day, and forced to dine and spend the night.
Common sense and security are missing regarding diving:
- They tell you that it’s 25 $CUC per dive, but once there, they tell you that the Fish Cave is 40 $CUC.
- First dive is in an area that, call me demanding, is fine, but nothing special, and then they say “now we go to the next site which is better” in the hope that you would think “I will have to dive in the better site, since the first it was no big deal”, but what they get is that you think “and why didn’t you take me first to the good spot so that I love it and feel like I want to dive longer? And if I want the dive in the cave, is more expensive? ” The result is that half of our group did not do the second dive, we snorkeled, which by the way is quite similar, since the area is shallow.
- And let’s not talk about the unfortunate condition of the diving equipment. We admit wetsuits full of holes and discolored, but my jacket had an air leak and the monitor told me “nothing happens”… during all the immersion my jacket was virtually empty. As I am an advanced diver but I was in the Open Water group (because my wife is basic diver) I solved it by compensating with my lungs and keeping myself as less deep as possible, but if this is not your case, do not even think of getting into the water with a defect of this type.
Queues of more than an hour to buy your Etecsa card in full sun. The only WiFi spot is in the central square, where there is a bar and benches.
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