Bay of Pigs combines history with rich undersea landscapes

Playa Giron, Cuba, May 13 (EFE).- The Bay of Pigs, so historically symbolic for Cubans, is today an area developed for tourism that combines a key battleground of the revolution with beautiful undersea landscapes.

Posters and a museum recall the failed 1961 invasion by U.S.-backed exiles two years after Fidel Castro took power.

The victory of the socialist revolution in Cuba disturbed the United States, foreign visitors are told here.

Outside the Playa Giron Museum, two tanks and a fighter plane greet arriving tourists. Inside is a photo exhibit and speeches full of revolutionary rhetoric that recall the 66 hours of combat that began on April 17, 1961.

A video and several maps also illustrate the phases of Plan Pluto that ended with an exchange of prisoners held by Cuba for food and medicine.

The battle half a century ago is still present in the thoughts of Cubans, though Playa Giron is today a peaceful coastal area with hotels catering to scuba divers who enjoy exploring the coral reefs with their exotic tropical fish.

In early May an International Diving Center was opened here, with the particularity that divers can practice in an area just off the coast with no boats and therefore no seasickness, those managing the facility told Efe.

In the bay there is a drop at just 30 meters (98 feet) from the beach that continues some 30 kilometers (19 miles) down the coast, from Playa Larga to Playa Giron, a natural phenomenon that has created a wall 300 meters (980 feet) high, which allows scuba diving throughout the area with no need for a boat.

The Bay of Pigs is rich in corals, sea fans, sponges and a great biodiversity of marine flora and fauna, including species only found here.