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Maria la Gorda: Nature and Diving in the West

The western end of the Cuban archipelago, full of natural, cultural and historical values, also contains spaces with unique features and ideal conditions for scuba diving and snorkeling.

That activity nationwide has more than 70,000 km of insular platform and some 5,000 kilometers of coastline, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

About 6,500 varieties of fish, crustaceans, sponges and mollusks, and an 850-km coral reef in perfect conditions, make the island in one of the best preserved underwater ecosystems in the region.

In addition, three dozen diving centers operate throughout the Caribbean country, with facilities for introductory courses and dives in coral reefs and caverns, all under the strict international standards for that activity.

Precisely in this region one can find such facility under the name of Maria La Gorda, with five decades of spots defined for diving.

Experts classify their depths in the top 10 of the Latin American subcontinent, due to the abundance of marine species and corals of extraordinary beauty.

Boat at María La Gorda Villa, Pinar del Río
Cabin at María La Gorda Villa, Pinar del Río
Cabin at María La Gorda Villa, Pinar del Río

Divers praise descents through extensive vertical walls to coral nests, exploring tunnels and caves, and the discoveries of remains of ancient Spanish galleons.

It is worth mentioning that even at only five meters deep, large coral formations with a permanent and abundant wildlife can be appreciated, especially sea fans.

Many legends have risen regarding the location´s name, as one where a Venezuelan indigenous caught by pirates was subsequently abandoned in Western Cuba, on a beach of about eight kilometers and crystal clear waters.

The mentioned aborigine, named “María”, settled at the site and opened an inn where she offered food and pleasure to the filibusters that arrived on the scene, and apparently her name attached to her physical attributes served to the current name of the territory.

The waters are calm and have great visibility, and diving ranks between 15 and 35 meters depth, right where the continental slope begins, a steep wall where virtually all the typical marine fauna of the Caribbean Sea can be found.

The complement of the International Diving Center is in the Maria La Gorda villa, deployed on a white sand beach, with seven dozens of comfortable rooms, most of them in front of the sea.

In addition, it is inserted in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula’s lathe, favored with over 15 kilometers of excellent beaches, including Las Tumbas, El Prejuicio, El Holandes, Las Canas and, of course, Maria la Gorda.

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