Designed especially for divers, but is a wonderful option for echo-tourists and vacationers looking for a quiet and isolated place, the Centro Internacional de Buceo Gaviota (CIB, International Diving Center Seagull) "Maria la Gorda" is located at the westernmost tip of Cuba, the Guanahacabibes peninsula, near Corrientes Cape. It’s a true opportunity to discover the intricate places of this biosphere reserve and experience a paradise inhabited by many species of animals and endangered endemic species and where there remain still untouched small and sheltered beaches wrapped in pirates and hidden treasures stories.
It is not known with certainty the identity of the person who gave name to it, if it was a Venezuelan indigenous brought into force on a pirate ship and then abandoned to their fate, or the daughter of a Spanish sailor who shipwrecked in the area, but Maria la Gorda (the fat Mary) settled down at the edge of the inlet streams, 143 km southwest of the city of Pinar del Rio and to survive, she began to provide food and fun to any ship which ventured that corner of Cuba, where it is assumed that over 100 sunken Spanish galleons lie, and where there is talk of fabulous hidden treasures such as the Mexican city of Merida.
Private, quiet and known for its clear sea beds, ranked among the top in the world and for many the best for diving in Cuba, the Canto del Veril marine platform is about 300m from the coast and its 50 dive sites are always nearby; here you can enjoy a marine flora of indescribable colors by the gorgonian varieties that inhabit them, as well as the contemplation of walls which are covered by black coral colonies, which constitute the largest reserve on the island. The marine life is abundant and surprising, mostly in August by the presence of whale sharks. More than 20 corals species, different sizes fishes, lobsters, crabs and eels can be seen frequently in these sea beds.
The villa is located in a mixed environment, where the lush forest and diverse wildlife are considered a natural refuge. Birds abound, more than a hundred native species nest in the place (especially the green woodpecker, the parrot and the tocororo) as well as numerous temporary residents. There are also a lot of live reptiles, amphibians and mammals (mainly iguanas, frogs, deer and jutías). Extremely abundant are invertebrates and a special attraction is the speleology-fauna, to which belong the hot caves, its main biotype. This region’s vegetation is endowed with diverse formations such as evergreen semidesíduos forests, coastal thickets, rocky coast and sandy coast vegetation, of lagoons, mangrove swamps and grasslands. Its flora reaches about 70 species of which 17 are endemic of district itself, among them is the smaller plant with flowers and fruits in the world which does not exceed 0.3 mm., demonstrating the varied landscape, one of the main attractions of the place.