María la Gorda, a dream place

María la Gorda, a dream place


By Irene Ferrer

For lovers of the seabed it is a dream place, but the María la Gorda International Diving Center, at the western end of Cuba, is also for those who enjoy the sun, the beach, the green nature, the tranquility and the legends of ancient adventurers.

Considered among the 10 best places for recreational diving in Latin America, the area is characterized by its crystalline, calm waters, which cover coral reefs of great beauty not very deep, which allows dives between 15 and 35 meters deep.

In these places there are 60 diving points from which impressive formations can be appreciated, such as in the Black Coral Valley, with the largest coral surface of that color in this archipelago, and the María Hall, with sea lilies and colorful corals.

Diversity of fish and other species, practically all the typical marine fauna of the Caribbean congregates in this area, where a hundred Spanish galleons sunk during the colonization of America also rest. In addition to contemplative and scientific diving, the site offers the possibility of snorkeling, for those who prefer to observe the bottom from the surface, and other varied water sports.

María la Gorda belongs to the Guanahacabibes National Park, a Biosphere Reserve, with profuse vegetation and varied fauna, which provides additional attractions to the stay in this territory of the province of Pinar del Río.

There are different versions of the character that gives the place its name. One of them says that she was a Venezuelan aborigine brought by force, while another refers to the daughter of the Spanish captain of a ship wrecked during a hurricane. Apparently in exuberant ways, María la Gorda was dedicated to trafficking food and women with the pirate ships that docked in the area, where there are also traces of old Spanish forts and slave settlements.

They say that in these properties there are still buried treasures, but many think that the real wealth is on earth, in the many natural attractions that are found there.