Bike Cuba heading


Playa Girón (The "Bay of Pigs")

Playa Girón is a long but easy ride from Cienfuegos. This quiet beach, seen here in late afternoon light, was the principal landing site in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by U.S.-backed Cuban exiles. Over 160 loyal Cubans died repelling the invasion, most of them teenaged military cadets who arrived before the regular army troops. About 1100 of the invaders were captured. Cubans take pride in their costly success and call it "The Victory at Girón."
Today, Playa Girón is promoted as a resort, but the main swimming beach is enclosed by a long sea wall that obstructs the view. It was built for defense after the invasion, but we don't quite see the point since there are plenty of landing places beyond the wall, if the Miami exiles were ever foolish enough to try again. At least the wall is nice for walking at sunset or sitting and watching the small fishing boats.
Although the beach is rather disappointing, there is a fine museum at Playa Girón. It pays tribute to the young fighters who scored "the first great defeat of imperialism in Latin America," as the nearby billboard says.
This unusual casa particular, inlaid with thousands of sea shells, is a congenial place to stay in the small village at Playa Giron — far more comfortable than the hotel, and with much better food. Host Sylvia Acosta and her family often welcome cyclists who visit the area.