Photographed: Exploring the Bay of Pigs<br> and Playa Larga

Photographed: Exploring the Bay of Pigs
and Playa Larga

Americans hear Bay of Pigs and they think of the failed 1961 invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles backed by the U.S. And that’s why it’s so strange to visit the area and see it for what it was and what it still is: a quiet beach resort.

We stayed on Playa Larga  (see photo, above) in the village of Caletón, one of the two beaches that were invaded on the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs), and then took a 40-minute taxi ride to the Bay of Pigs Museum.  


The Bay of Pigs Museum

The entrance to the Bay of Pigs Museum in Cuba.
PERSPECTIVE: The Museo Girón is a small museum that explains the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 from the official Cuban perspective. After paying a nominal admission fee guests are ushered into a small theater to watch a short, black and white, propaganda-style film.


A memorial with a list of those who died.
MEMORIAL: A memorial outside the museum lists the names of Cuban soldiers who died in the invasion. About 170 soldiers fighting for the Cuban government died and 500 were injured.


A plane and museum sign.
IN PLANE SIGHT: Tanks and aircraft used in the invasion are on display outside the museum. About 100 of the invading troops were killed, and the majority of the survivors were taken prisoner and later returned to the United States.


A man and woman talk in front of a museum sign.
WELCOME: Cubans are very friendly and provide a warm greeting at the museum.


A woman sits a desk at the entrance of the museum.
THE ENTRANCE: The main message throughout the museum is that the conflict resulted in the first defeat of U.S. imperialism in Latin America.


A tank.
TANKED: One of the tanks used in the conflict can be seen through window slats from inside the museum.


Museum display with photo of Fidel Castro.
COLD WAR: About 1,400 exiled Cubans landed in the bay in April, 1961 with hopes of overthrowing Fidel Castro.


A display room in the museum.
ON DISPLAY: Weapons used in the invasion were on display along with placards that featured photos and text in Spanish.


Photos of soldiers on a wall.
PICTURE PERFECT: Photos of those who fought to defend the island are on display along with some of their personal belongings.


An old war plane outside the museum with souvenir stands in the background.
GIFTED: A few independent souvenir stands are across the street from the small museum.


Playa Larga


A sunset over the water.
COLORFUL SETTING: The sunsets are beautiful on the Bay of Pigs.


A dinner table in the sand.
TABLE FOR TWO: A few of the small cafes on the beach set up tables on the sand at dinnertime.


A man rides a bike on a quiet street.
QUIET TOWN: The village of Caletón is a quiet town without sidewalks.


A guest house sign featuring a statue of a topless woman.
ACCOMMODATING: There are several small guest houses and places for rent near the beach.


An American car from the 1950s with fins.
BACK IN TIME: The iconic old cars from the 1950s are just one of the things that adds to the laid-back, retro vibe.


A waiter smiles.FRIENDLY WAITER: A friendly waiter at Restaurante Casa de Yeni told us he’s a professional baseball player in Cuba.


Two baseball players in a dugout. PROOF POSITIVE: He then showed us a photo of himself sitting in the dugout. The food was fantastic at this place and in other independently-owned restaurants in Cuba. You just have to know where to go.



An old car from the 1950s on the street.

TRANSPORTING: Cubans are very resourceful when it comes to getting around the large island. Besides old cars, you’ll also see horse-drawn carts, old buses, hitchhikers, and bicyclists.


A horse and cart on a quiet street.
ONE-HORSE TOWN: A horse-drawn cart makes deliveries outside our Airbnb.


PICTURE PERFECT: The village of Caletón in Playa Larga is very picturesque.


Sunset at the beach.

BATHING BEAUTY: You can buy the best piña colada for $3 and it comes with this view.


Small waves at Playa Larga.
SURFS UP: The water is warm and clean.


FAMILY AFFAIR: Families and couples flock to Playa Larga but it’s not crowded.


A sign on a building reads: "Bahia de Cochinos"

A SIGN: In case you forgot where you are.


SUNSET STROLL: There’s only a narrow path to walk along the water’s edge.


ICONIC SILHOUETTE: Palm trees swaying in the breeze may be cliché but it doesn’t make it less breathtaking.


CALM WATERS: The waves are small.


IMPRESSIVE: If you squint at sunset you’ll get a view that looks like an impressionist painting.


QUIET TIME: It’s quiet on the beach.


ON THE BEACH: People exercise, swim, and meditate.


EVENING WALK: It’s a great place for a walk at sunset.


(See more photos from our trip to Cuba.)