Bay of Pigs
The Bay of Pigs – Bahía de los Cochinos – is Cuba’s most notorious strip of coast – and not one many would associate with a beach vacation. But this bay shelters some of the islands most idyllic beaches, not least Playa Girón, which was where the infamous 1961 invasion took place. The beach today does not resemble a battle zone in the slightest, rather it is a palm-dotted arc of white sand, although those curious about the history can visit the little museum. Just east of Playa Girón, Playa los Cocos is recommended for snorkelling. Tucked right inside the bay, Playa Larga offers yet more crystalline Caribbean waters, though its main appeal is its nature: scuba divers have a choice of superb sites here, which the surrounding UNESCO Biosphere Reserve the protects the island’s most extensive wetlands.
The Bay of Pigs is a pleasant detour on the way to or from Cienfuegos – and there are a number of little hotels and casas particulares in the nearby villages if you think you’ll need longer than a day in paradise.