Tag Archives: Francis Drake

Vaya Con Dios

Just a few days ago I was nestled down in sun and sand to enjoy a week of Cayo Largo.

This small island to the south of Cuba is only 28 km long and 3-4 km wide and hosts all natural beaches and warm Caribbean surf.  A thousand years ago the island was inhabited by a nomadic tribe, the Guayabo Blanco, who lived on wild root vegetables and fruits, as well as fishing and hunting.  Christopher Columbus visited the island on his second trip to Cuba.  Hmm now that is something he and I have in common as this was my second trip.  who knew?  Chris Columbus, Chris King….sort of has a nice ring doesn’t it?

The island was also a popular destination of pirates and privateers and included John Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake (although he was not a Sir at the time), and Henry Morgan who apparently buried all his treasure somewhere in the key in 1666.

The island is inhabited by many large and small birds including parakeets and parrots and gulls cranes and pelicans, none of which I came across.  However there was one not so wee critter I crossed paths with that quite took me by surprise because of his camouflage which blended him right into the rocks I decided to lean against.  He didn’t seem to mind and stirred not a muscle but you can be sure I did and quickly.

The iguana is indigenous to the island and come in all sizes.  This fellow from nose to tail tip was about 3 feet.

Palm trees, palapas and warm Caribbean waters are all kept in as natural state as possible.  There are no permanent residents of this Cayo (Island).  The staff reside in temporary quarters for 20 days at a stretch and then are flown or boated home for a 10 day leave.  All employees work very long hours during their work term being on site in the wee hours of the morning and present til the late evening hours.  They do get a mid afternoon break but their time on the island is work and sleep.  There is an international airport on the island and it was quite pleasant to have only a ten minute commute from the airport to the hotel.

This is not a wild ‘let’s party hardy’ island and travel agents make it quite clear that if you are looking for night life and lots of varied activity you should look at another place.  There are some local trips to the marina and catamaran tours, swimming with the dolphins and turtles and huge starfish, but by and large the destination is designed for peace and quiet, something that meets my requirements.  It is interesting that the age groups ranged from small children to young adults to the uh more mature set.

When I travel I love those little airports where you embark and disembark from the ground itself.  Somehow it feels so adventurous.

Our destination on the island was Playa Blanco meaning white beach and it was the whitest sand I think I have encountered to date.

The Cuban people are amazing hosts and they consistently provide a safe hospitable environment.  Vacationers cannot purchase their currency prior to arriving in the country.  The CUC is a tourist peso which currently reflects the US dollar I think.  For one hundred dollars Canadian I got almost ninety-four pesos which isn’t too bad a deal.

It was a delightful week and it was with fond memories that I bade the island adios and Vaya Con Dios until next time.