Cuban beach in Cayo Largo selected as third best in the world

Posted: 13-Jul-16 12:32

The revelation that a paradisiacal Cuban beach made it to the top three of TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards 2016, came to the delight of proud Cubans who love to boast about the pristine condition of their inviting shores. Playa Paraiso in the secluded offshore key of Cayo Largo won third place in TripAdvisor's list of "Top 25 Beaches in the World" beating several others in the Caribbean and beyond. Read on to find out what makes this near-virginal beach so unforgettably special and aesthetically unique.

Cuban beach in Cayo Largo selected as third best in the world

Taking the third spot in the list of winners of TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 “Top 25 Beaches – World”, Playa Paraiso is one truly paradisiacal enclave. Located in Cayo Largo, this picture-perfect beach lives up to its name and definitely honours the hype surrounding brochure-style photos and glossy travel magazines. No need for Photoshop retouching this one exceptionally beautiful Cuban beach, it’s every inch as beautiful as the lens captures it, even by the most novice photographer.

Forty-eight years before TripAdvisor listed Playa Paraiso as the third most beautiful in the world, one journalist, Lazaro Najarro had thus described this idyllic place in his journal:

“Cayo Largo del Sur is the most beautiful part of the Canarreos Archipelago and of all the keys and isles dotting Cuba’s southern and northern coasts.”

Its name translates as “Long Key of the South” and rightly so as its elongated, narrow shape certainly lives up to its name and offers virtually untouched miles of the whitest, finest, softest sands – 25 kilometres of them in fact. One rare peculiarity of this isle’s sugary sands is the fact that they remain cool all-year-long, regardless of season or how hot it might get – the sands remains pleasantly warm at the most, so no burnt toes or need for sandals.

Its immaculate state over the years is thanks to strict conservational measures that allow nothing to be erected higher than its tallest palm tree. Visitors staying in one of Cayo Largo’s resorts can visit this stunning beach via a shuttle train ride and they are welcome to spend the day basking in its serene remoteness, at no added cost. The only manmade facility there is a beach hut located right at the entrance to the beach (where the shuttles drop you) offering drinks, snacks and light bites.

This stunning Playa Paraiso, because of its protected state, which means no hotels or developments are to be built around it, is also one of Cuba’s few spots where nudism is allowed. It’s not an officially declared nudist beach (there’s no such place in Cuba) nor is nudism actively encouraged, yet because of its vast extension and seclusion, you can easily enjoy bathing "au naturel" without anyone in sight for miles. This is why many visitors make the most of the isolation and lack of crowds to shed their clothes and experience its beauty on their bare skin, at one with nature. Even when nudist visitors come across other non-nudist bathers, no one bats an eyelash. It’s tacitly allowed here and not a shocking encounter in this part of Cuba.

Unsurprisingly, thanks to virginal beaches like Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo is one of Cuba’s number one spots for honeymooners. What could be more romantic and seductive than endless miles of uninterrupted sparkling white sands, gently bathed by the most striking turquoise waters, stretching as far as the eye can see with no boats, no motorised water sports and no other kind of vessel in sight? A truly enchanting place for enjoying the purest of nature just as God intended. Completely free of commercialisation, music or any manmade distraction - that’s Playa Paraiso, and that’s why it’s one of the most amazing in the world.

With its waters being home to the richest variety of healthy corals and centuries-old wrecks that make for incredible scuba diving adventures, this isolated part of Cuba was once said to be a perfect hideout for pirates who came here to hide their treasures. Its biggest of treasures though is the wide variety of colourful marine life to be appreciated on easily arranged diving expeditions.

As Narrajo added:

“This isle boasts a high degree of conservation, gifted with great coral barriers, a perfect balance of flora and fauna, caverns and sunken ships, thanks to the fact taht between 1563 and 1784 around 200 shipwrecks were recorded in the area.”

And if you ever got bored of contemplating such indescribable beauty, nearby you can venture into other exquisite landscapes at the likes of the neighbouring key of Cayo Rico, boasting a scenic riverside; Cayo Iguana, home to a large population of the creatures that give it its name; Cayo Los Pajaros, named after the wide variety of bird species that call it home and Cayo Rosario; a divers’ ultimate paradise because of the vast richness of its marine life. And that’s just a sneak preview into all the natural wonders that the Archipelago de Los Canarreos zealously guards and protects.


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