Cayo Largo del Sur, also known as Cayo Largo, is situated on the eastern edge of the Canarreos Archipelago, and it’s a small paradise on earth for those who love beaches and relaxation. However, it’s important to note that the island is exclusively dedicated to all-inclusive resorts and is mainly inhabited by tourists. If you’re looking to experience the authentic Cuba, this might not be the place for you.
How to get to Cayo Largo? Where to stay? What to do on the island? We’ll tell you everything!
💡 Planning Your Trip to Cuba 💡
🇨🇺 Visa: Before you depart, be sure to apply for your tourist card (which is your visa for Cuba). You can easily order your tourist card online through CubaVisa.
🛏️ Accommodations: To book your accommodations in Cuba, the Captain recommends Expedia.
📸 Activities: To book your activities, the Captain highly recommends Civitatis.
Cayo Largo in a Nutshell
Although some historians speculate that Christopher Columbus may have briefly set foot on Cayo Largo, the island remained empty and uninhabited until the 1980s, when the first tourist resorts were built.
Technically, the island is still uninhabited: Cubans who work there alternate 20-day periods on the island with 10 days off when they return home to the Isle of Youth or the main island of Cuba.
Cayo Largo is therefore a purely tourist destination designed to allow visitors to enjoy its paradisiacal beaches and crystal-clear waters in complete serenity. It is a friendly and relaxed beach resort, in contrast to Varadero, Cayo Coco, or Cayo Santa Maria, without nightclubs or large shopping centers. The focus is on calm and tranquility.
Cayo Largo is also known as a naturist and gay-friendly destination, with several naturist spots, including one of the world’s most beautiful naturist beaches.
Getting to Cayo Largo
To reach Cayo Largo, head east from the Isle of Youth, off the south coast of Cuba. There are two options to get to the island:
By plane: The island has a small airport, Vilo Acuña Airport, which is served by domestic and international flights. For more information, click here.
By boat: It is possible to arrive at Port La Marina Cayo Largo del Sur.
Getting around Cayo Largo
To get around Cayo Largo, there are plenty of options:
A mini train-bus (called trencito) shuttles between the hotels and the main beaches of the island.
Many taxis wait near hotels and tourist sites (10 to 15 CUC per trip).
You can also rent bicycles, scooters, or a car from your hotel.
What to do in Cayo Largo?
Although Cayo Largo may not offer a glimpse of the true face of Cuba, it certainly provides plenty of opportunities for relaxation and leisure.
The beaches of Cayo Largo
One of the biggest draws of Cayo Largo are its beaches! The island boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
The two most famous beaches are Playa Sirena and Playa Paraiso. Here, visitors can enjoy fine sand, relaxation, and water activities. Playa Los Cocos, Playa Luna, Playa Blanca, Playa Tortuga, and Playa Punta Mal Tiempo are also popular and more secluded.
Several beaches on the island also offer designated naturist areas.
Fishing and water activities in Cayo Largo
Like Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Guillermo, and Varadero, Cayo Largo is a little paradise for fishing and water activity enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, catamaran rides, and more.
Deep-sea fishing excursions can also be arranged at the International Marina Cayo Largo for around 350-370 CUC for 4 hours and 4 people. Scuba diving is also possible at Cayo Largo for 40 CUC per dive or 340 CUC for 10 dives (+ 10 CUC for night dives).
Fauna & Flora of Cayo Largo
Cayo Largo is a must-visit destination for its exotic and diverse wildlife and flora. The island boasts a remarkable variety of birds, as well as turtles, iguanas, and crocodiles.
Hiking in Cayo Largo
Take a 7-kilometer hiking trail along the coast between Playa Sirena and Sol Cayo Largo Hotel to discover the breathtaking landscapes of Cayo Largo.
Centro de Rescate de Tortugas Marinas
Located in the northwest of Cayo Largo, the Marine Turtle Rescue Center is devoted to the protection of marine turtles that nest on the island each year. Visitors can learn about the center’s work and residents (admission is 2 CUC per person). From April to September, you can also observe the nesting and participate in the egg collection with a specialized guide. To learn more and book your visit, head to the marina.
Vivero de Crocodrilos
The oldest building on the island, the Vivero de Crocodrilos tower dates back to 1951. This small nature reserve is a great place to explore some of the island’s species, including crocodiles, iguanas, and turtles.
Excursions from Cayo Largo
For those looking to explore beyond Cayo Largo, there are a few excursions available from the island.
The most popular excursions among tourists include:
Havana (by plane), but be prepared to spend a significant amount of money (210 CUC per adult for a day).
Cayo Iguana: a small rocky island located near Cayo Largo that’s known for its population of iguanas. The excursion lasts approximately one hour and costs 15 CUC.
Los Cayos de San Felipe: an archipelago situated about thirty kilometers north of Isla de la Juventud. The area is covered with mangroves and is home to Cuban hutias, an endangered species of arboreal rodent. To book, visit the Marina Internacional Cayo Largo.