Bay of Pigs – snorkeling with exotic fishes in Punta Perdiz

The Bay of Pigs
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Turquoise water, golden sand, lush vegetation and… thousands of colorful fish. Sounds like a fairy tale? Perhaps, but this is everyday Caribbean reality. It was in such exotic scenery that we snorkeled together for the first time in Cuba.

Wondering what to see in Cuba? Discover the best attractions of the largest Caribbean island!

Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron and Punta Perdiz

Can you… reach the horizon? As you can see in the photo below, anything is possible in Cuba. Also the fact that this ordinary wooden pier on which we are standing is the path to a real underwater paradise. All you need to do is put on a mask, immerse your head in the water and see the amazing! But before we get to the absolutely wonderful snorkeling, let us tell you (literally) a few words about the Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron and Punta Perdiz.

Bay of Pigs the most beautiful beaches

Despite the name, in the Bay of Pigs you will no longer meet either a graceful sow or a pink piglet. ‘No longer’, because in the past it would have been highly probable. When Cuba was still a Spanish colony, this bay was the main point for unloading hoggery, which is where its name comes from. Back then, no one was surprised to see little pigs walking or lounging on the beach.

Bay of Pigs Punta Perdiz

One of the most important and famous places in the bay is Playa Giron – this is the name used to describe both the local village and the beach. It is a symbol of the Cuban victory over the United States during the American military invasion in 1961. The fighting lasted here for 3 days, finally forcing the US to withdraw from the island and finally sealing Fidel Castro’s triumph.

where to snorkel in Cuba

Punta Perdiz, in turn, is a lovely beach just a few kilometers from Playa Giron. It is considered a ‘strategic’ place in Cuba for both real scuba divers and ‘snorkelers’, who only immerse their heads in a mask with a snorkel. So, for example, for us. Due to favorable conditions and gentle currents, both beginners and experienced enthusiasts of the deep sea can try their skills here.

Punta Perdiz Cuba

Today, fortunately, in the Bay of Pigs you don’t have to worry about transporting piglets or landing soldiers. Here you will meet either friendly locals or tourists from all over the world. They may be half-naked European men with a palm tree on their heads (photo above) or slightly corpulent mermaids freshly emerged from the water (photo below). Be especially careful with these two – they can stay out of the water for an hour and a half, take lots of photos and admire everything around them.

the most beautiful beaches of Cuba

Snorkeling in the Bay of Pigs, Cuba

We have introduced you a bit to the geography of Cuba, but we still haven’t said a word about the most pleasant attraction we experienced in the Bay of Pigs, i.e. snorkeling. What surprised us the most, even before we put on the masks and immersed our heads in the water, was its transparency. It was so incredibly clean that when we stood in it, we could easily see the bottom and all the animals swimming in it. However, the real magic begins to happen only under water. Be sure to take a waterproof camera, camcorder or phone with you – if you don’t, you will regret the unrecorded views. Well, see for yourself!

Bay of Pigs snorkeling

Although scuba diving is much more extreme and allows you to go deeper, regular snorkeling will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the marine world. And this one looks completely different than ours. You will see whole schools of colorful tropical fish there. The vast majority are yellow-green striped humpbacks and silvery Bermuda pluckers. There are also a lot of other species swimming there that we can’t even identify because we’ve never seen them before. If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot some adorable little seahorses.

snorkeling in the Bay of Pigs

But it is not everything. In addition to animals, there are also fragments of coral reef underwater. We had never seen her before, it was the first such adventure in our lives. Of course, the one in the photo is already largely dead and does not look as colorful as in Australia or Egypt. Nevertheless, seeing her live, at your fingertips, was a fantastic experience. If you have more time, courage and skills, about 100 meters from the shore you can dive with a scuba tank to a much greater depth to see the wonderful, lively and colorful Caribbean coral reef.

snorkeling in Cuba

Punta Perdiz is a fabulous place – both from the shore and from the perspective of a diver. But in every place intensively explored by man there will be ‘a fly in the ointment’. Here it would be better to say: ‘a piece of iron in a beautiful sea’. Fortunately, in this case, nature did a great job of dealing with the waste of unknown origin and perfectly incorporated it into the natural seaside landscape. Let us hope, however, that over time we will develop as a civilization, and such stuff as in the photo below will become fewer and fewer in nature.

Cuba diving

Exactly. Finally, one more thing to clarify. If you watch our snorkeling video and photos carefully, you will surely notice that we do not use the snorkeling equipment correctly. It’s not because no one has instructed us how to do it properly. The reason was the (in)delicate lack of hygiene on the part of the rental staff. Well, the masks were ‘disinfected’ on the beach, in a large bowl filled with water, with the addition of a small amount of unidentified detergent (it could have been either soap or dishwashing liquid, it is not known). A nice service lady rinsed the equipment by immersing it in water for a few seconds. And then she dipped more, and more, and more masks in the same solution. Not mentioning the water, of course. Both the time and method of disinfection seemed slightly different from common sanitary standards, so we preferred not to take any risks and put the tubes into our mouths. We advise you to do the same or take your own antibacterial fluid.

Bay of Pigs diving

Trip to Punta Perdiz in the Bay of Pigs – price

Snorkeling on the Punta Perdiz beach in the Bay of Pigs was part of an optional trip that we purchased from our operator, the Rainbow travel agency. The entire trip cost +/- 60 euros per person. The price included:

  • hotel pick-up and coach transport,
  • Polish-speaking guide,
  • buffet lunch,
  • open bar on the beach,
  • snorkeling equipment.

Cuba snorkeling

Punta Perdiz in the Bay of Pigs – how to get?

  • Plane. First you need to get to the Cuba. In our opinion, the best option would be to fly to Havana or Varadero (we chose the latter option) and from there make a one-day trip to the Bay of Pigs. We decided to take an organized optional trip offered by our Polish travel agency.
  • Car/coach. Traveling on your own – both from Havana and Varadero – to the Punta Perdiz beach in the Bay of Pigs will take you about 2 hours, mainly on highways of ‘questionable quality’.

Cuba snorkeling coral reef

Bay of Pigs in Cuba – tips

  • If you go on this trip, be sure to bring beach shoes. Otherwise, you may hurt your feet because the ground can be rocky.
  • Near Punta Perdiz there are towns such as Playa Giron and Playa Larga. In the first one you will find the Museum of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, which took place in 1961. History lovers will have the opportunity to learn about the detailed course of military operations, preserved photos and the weapons, military equipment and soldiers’ equipment used at that time. In turn, in the Playa Larga area you can see the bunkers remaining after the famous invasion.
  • Since we are already in the Bay of Pigs and talking about diving, we have a travel and political curiosity for you. You certainly know the character of Fidel Castro. If you know at least a little about world history, you also know that many tried to take his life – apparently, unsuccessful assassination attempts were made over 350 times! The United States was particularly interested in getting rid of the Cuban dictator. Due to the fact that Castro loved diving – also on the coral reef in the Bay of Pigs – the CIA decided to stealthily give him… lethal equipment. The suit given as a gift was said to be a breeding ground for a fungus causing skin disease, and the breathing oxygen was said to contain tuberculosis bacilli. The United States envoy, James Donovan, who was conducting negotiations with Fidel regarding the release of American prisoners of war, was supposed to convey the ‘no strings attached’ information. Ultimately, however, Donovan came to his senses and withdrew from giving the killer gift.
  • There are no pigs in Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. However, there is another island in the Caribbean inhabited by these charming(?) animals. Pig Beach, located on Big Major Cay in the Bahamas, offers swimming with pigs. If you don’t believe it – check Google Images.
  • Interesting fact for parents: do you know why there are so many fish hanging around the boy shown in the photo below? His parents stood on the shore and threw food into the water. We’re not sure if it’s healthy for the marine animals, but it’s definitely effective.

Punta Perdiz snorkeling

Trip to the Bay of Pigs with snorkeling – reviews

  • Patrix – 10/10! This place looks like something out of a fairy tale! It’s absolutely amazing. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I highly recommend seeing this place while in Cuba. Snorkeling is also an amazing adventure. The fish swim up to the bathing beachgoers themselves. The view of the coral reef is magical!
  • Wiolczix – 10/10. It was one of the most beautiful places in the world I have ever seen. The paradise landscape of Punta Perdiz resembles photoshopped photos from travel agency catalogues. Except this isn’t Photoshop! The real highlight was, of course, snorkeling. I have never, ever seen so many colorful fish in one place. Swimming with them was like entering another world. And also these small fragments of the reef. Well, it’s just a fairy tale!

Bay of Pigs Cuba

Bay of Pigs in Cuba – FAQ

Where is the Bay of Pigs?

The Bay of Pigs is located on the southern coast of Cuba, in its central-western part. It belongs to the Caribbean Sea. Historically, it is mainly famous for the failed American military invasion of the island. Naturally, it is one of the most beautiful corners of Cuba, with sandy beaches and turquoise waters. The Bay of Pigs also offers extraordinary conditions for diving and snorkeling.

Where does the name Bay of Pigs come from?

The Cuban Bay of Pigs takes its name from the pig transshipment point that the Spaniards organized in this charming place. Apparently, in those days, the sight of pink animals walking on the beach was an everyday occurrence. Another interpretation is also known. It is said that the bay owes its name to a species of fish popular here – pigfish.

What happened at the Bay of Pigs?

The famous invasion of United States troops against the dictatorship of Fidel Castro took place in the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. Although the operation was organized by the United States, it involved mainly Cuban emigrants along with American mercenaries and air forces. The operation was aimed at establishing a government favorable to the US on the Caribbean island. However, the three-day invasion ended in defeat for the United States. Many of the combatants were captured by Cubans, and Fidel Castro’s soldiers seized a lot of American weapons and ammunition.

Where are the most beautiful beaches in Cuba?

Cuba is a real paradise for beach lovers – you will find over 400 of them here. The winners in the ranking of the most beautiful are: Playa Paraiso, Playa Varadero, Playa Cayo Santa Maria, Playa Pilar, Cayo Blanco, Guardalavaca, Playa Los Cocos, Playa Pesquero, Playa Ancon and the beaches in Bay of Pigs, i.e. Playa Giron, Playa Larga and Punta Perdiz. On each of them you can expect delicate golden sand accompanied by transparent turquoise water.

Where to dive in Cuba?

The most popular diving spots in Cuba are around Playa Larga and Playa Giron. There are famous cenote caves and colorful coral reefs here. Equally attractive views await you in Cayo Largo. Underwater tunnels, reefs and corals will delight even the most demanding explorers of the sea depths. In turn, in the Santa Lucia region you can count on meeting… a great shark. This is an option for the truly brave.

Bay of Pigs

Bay of Pigs – Playa Giron – Punta Perdiz – map

The Bay of Pigs offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba. While you are here, be sure to go to Punta Perdiz.

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