Cayo Largo del Sur doesn’t get the credit it deserves, say travel industry insiders who specialize in Cuba. The sun-kissed island, located off the south coast of the northwestern part of the island, and roughly equidistant between Havana and Varadero, is one of Cuba’s smallest resort islands, but it’s big on tranquility.
Recently, a delegation from the destination called in Canada to take part in a travel trade luncheon for agents organized by the Cuba Tourist Board and Hola Sun, which offers packages there. Here is a brief sampling of information and observations from the Mississauga, Ont., event:
· The cay is 25 km long and three km wide surrounded by turquoise waters and boasting 24 km of the white, sandy beaches that rank amongst the best in not only Cuba but the world. The beach is even better than Cayo Santa Maria.
· “Cayo Largo is one of the most relaxing areas of Cuba of I’ve ever been to,” says Brenda Bradley of Melia Hotels’ Cuba division in Canada, who adds, “If you plan to go there and forget it all, you can even go there and forget your bathing suit.”
· As might be expected for an resort island, water sports are king, with snorkelling, diving, fishing, catamarans and all manner of activities above and below the waves available.
· The waters surrounding Cayo Largo feature 32 diving sites with fascinating coral formations, a wealth of vibrant marine life, and over 200 sunken ships dating back to the 16th and 18th century.
· All hotels on the island are beachfront. There aren’t as many new ones as in Cayo Coco, but they are well maintained. A tram connects many of the properties.
· The island has a reputation for being a little too peaceful, but for the activity minded there is plenty to do, from the aforementioned water sports to crocodile and turtle farms or an excursion to Iguana Island. Sunsets are spectacular.
· Havana and Varadero are easily reached by short flight and affordable day trip excursions are plentiful.
· Cayo Largo is currently more popular out of Montreal than it is out of Toronto.
Meanwhile, as if on cue, Sunwing recently announced the addition of a new flight service to Cayo Largo from Toronto this winter. Operating Fridays from Dec. 15 to April 13, the destination is Sunwing’s eighth in Cuba.
Sunwing will also offer a wide range of accommodation packages suitable for families, luxury and adult vacations that include:
· Sol Cayo Largo – known for offering numerous ecological excursions
· Ideal for families with small children due to is calm, shallow waters, the Hotel Pelicano
· The colourful Iberostar Playa Blanca is five minutes from Playa Sirena beach and is ideal to take advantage of snorkelling and diving opportunities
· Couples and singles seeking a quiet getaway will find just that at Villa Iguana, where guests can take part in ecological excursions, diving, fishing, or relax on the beautiful white-sand beach.
Sunwing will begin flights from Toronto to Cayo Largo this winter.