Tourists flock to Bay of Pigs in Cuba

Cuba

Tourists flock to Bay of Pigs in Cuba

The Bay of Pigs is best known as the location of the failed 1961 bid to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro. Today there is a new invasion: tourists.

The small number of rundown state-owned hotels can’t cope, and local residents have stepped in, converting their homes to private bed-and-breakfast lodgings.

CCTV America’s Michael Voss reports.

Tourists flock to Bay of Pigs in Cuba

The Bay of Pigs is best known as the location of the failed 1961 bid to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro. Today there is a new invasion: tourists. The small number of rundown state-owned hotels can't cope, and local residents have stepped in, converting their homes to private bed-and-breakfast lodgings. CCTV America's Michael Voss reports.

Playa Larga is a small fishing village on the south coast at the far end of the Bay of Pigs. In the past, everyone there relied on fishing to maintain their modest livelihood. Now, for many, it is simply a supplement to their main income, privately renting rooms in their homes to tourists.

The private sector in Playa Larga dominates the local economy. In the past two years, almost 200 families have converted their homes into lodgings, and many more are on the way.

Until recently, these were simple fishermen’s shacks. Now most have been converted in private lodgings, catering to tourists.

Enrique Rivas has the largest private lodging in town, and in a sign of progress, the state tourist sector is sending business his way. State organized tour groups stay the night or stop off for lunch when passing through the area.

The Bay of Pigs is where in 1961, American-backed Cuban exiles launched their ill-fated invasion in a failed bid to overthrown Fidel Castro.

Today, wildlife and bird watching are another attraction, Playa Larga is surrounded by the largest wetlands in Cuba; home to pink flamingoes and dozens of other birds. Divers also come from around the world to discover the coral reefs with their abundance of marine life.

All of which is proving good business for the local entrepreneurs, some of whom are now taking bookings well into next year.