Villa Maria La Gorda is on a splendid location inside the Great Natural Park of Guanahacabibe - listed by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve since 1987 and a national park-, on Cuba’s westernmost point, in the province of Pinar del Río.
The legend tells it was named after “Fat Maria”, an indigenous Venezuelan woman who was abducted by pirates and left behind in this remote part of the island.
Because of its more than 30 different dive sites, abundant marine life and its amazing black coral reserve it is especially recommended for divers.
Those who prefer to snorkel will also enjoy this hidden beach since at only 14 meters of depth it is possible to appreciate the beauty of the coral formations, amongst which are marine species such as barracudas, snappers, rays, turtles…It is as well a great beach for walking and relaxing, being so isolated and peaceful there.
It must be said that facilities are basic and somewhat dated, but rooms are comfortable and most offer a balcony or terrace. The newer ones are in concrete cabanas built closer to the beach while out back are older log cabins that are surrounded by vegetation, rustic and charming.
Food is nothing to write home about and there isn’t much variety either, but it is abundant. There are two restaurants: one by the beach which is à la carte, the other one offering buffet style meals.
Please keep in mind that María la Gorda is pretty remote (some 5 hours by car from Havana through a not so well maintained road) and with no other close by hotels, restaurants, bars or shops. There’s also no place to withdraw cash, so bringing plenty of it is probably a good idea, together with insect repellent, since there usually are sand flies.