Located on Cuba’s western tip, María la Gorda is a paragon of environmental protection, evidenced by its abundant flora and fauna. The Guanahacabibes Peninsula where it’s located was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1987. It is about 300km from Havana.
Considered one of Latin America’s top diving sites, María la Gorda boasts some 32 dive sites with enviable visibility, abundant coral gardens and rich marine life. Water temperatures average between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius. While a magnet for divers, María la Gorda also attracts visitors for its superlative snorkeling, pristine beaches, and big game fishing.
The 77 rooms here are in air conditioned cabanas – older ones are of wood, newer ones are concrete; some are strung along the beach, while others are in the surrounding grounds. The wooden cabins are simple, but those in the woods, reached over small bridges which blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment, are wonderfully charming. Taking a sunset cocktail on your terrace here while butterflies flit by, is unadulterated nature at its best.
The hotel is being renovated to add more rooms (by 2014 there will be 100), a buffet restaurant, a cyber café, lobby bar and more. Currently the hotel has a car rental agency, 24-hour medical post, international marina (with customs and immigration), laundry services and a small market.
The hotel is named after ‘Fat Maria’ an indigenous Venezuelan woman who – according to legend – was abducted by pirates and left behind in this remote part of Cuba.