Who would’ve thought that 55 years later, tourism would be booming on the coast of the Bay of Pigs. Families are moving to the area from other parts of Cuba, looking for work or building their own Casas Particulares to accommodate the divers and snorkelers who are coming to check out the beautiful marine life.
The battle of Giron (as the Cubans refer to it) hasn’t been forgotten, as many local families lost loved ones (including young children) in that CIA disaster, but time has certainly brought a new wave of opportunity.
The couple who owned the house where we stayed are the prototype of Cuba’s new business owners. They started building their house 5 years ago, and opened for business last year. They have 3 rooms for rent, everything is super clean and brand new, right on the beach at the Bay of Pigs, and they are very customer-oriented (a rare trait in our Cuban experience).
Hopefully Cuba will be able to protect its beautiful natural resources despite the tourism boom. A Cuban host told us that in 2016, 4 million tourists visited the island. We haven’t fact-checked the figure, but it sure seems accurate. We spent the day snorkeling with a couple of fellow New Yorkers.
It’s been an interesting coincidence that most of the Americans we’ve met who are travelling “solo” (outside of the big tour groups) have almost all been from NYC. We helped our new friends get a taxi down to Trinidad, and then walked back to our casa for lunch. Along the way we asked a 12-year-old if we were going in the right direction. He said yes, and then asked us for a CUC for having helped us out. We didn’t give it to him, but we did wonder to ourselves what this tourism industry is teaching to Cuba’s younger population…