A stone’s throw from Viñales, Cayo Levisa is the perfect place to take the plunge! Whether you are a seasoned diver or an expert in sunbathing, you will, no doubt, fall under the spell of the heavenly beaches and crystal clear waters of Cayo Levisa!
Cayo Levisa, a heavenly retreat
Cayo Levisa is a little piece of paradise in the archipelago of Los Colorados, a group of islands located north of the Province of Pinar del Río. Here, you will find no resorts! The island has remained uninhabited and untouched, with the exception of the 40-room hotel, which is the only facility on site.
Swamp and mangrove cover most of the island. A 2 miles beach runs along the northern coast of Cayo Levisa. From there, the coral reef is within easy reach! Twenty diving spots are accessible from the island. In the area, the bottom of the sea is strewn with countless sunken ships!
Reaching Cayo Levisa
To get to Cayo Levisa, the ferry is the only way. It serves the island twice a day, at 10am and 6pm, departing from Palma Rubia, in the Province of Pinar del Río. To get back to the main island, a ferry leaves Cayo Levisa daily at 9am and 5pm.
Palma Rubia is located 1h50 drive from Havana and 45 minutes from Viñales.
If you’ve rented a car, the ferry ticket will cost 10 CUC per person. It includes the ferry trip (round trip), the use of a deckchair onsite and a sandwich at the restaurant.
*** Want to find out more about car rental in Cuba? Check out our article: Renting a car in Cuba: our tips & recommendations ***
If you haven’t rented a car, you can book an excursion to Cayo Levisa from Viñales at the Cubanacan agency on Viñales’ main street. The excursion amounts to 39 CUC per person. It includes the bus ride to Palma Rubia, the ferry crossing, the deckchair onsite and a sandwich for lunch (for an additional 5 CUC, you can enjoy the buffet).
Hotel in Cayo Levisa
Cayo Levisa was preserved from the vast tourist construction plans which disfigured part of the Cuban coastline. Here, there’s only one hotel with a total of 40 individual bungalows. The rooms are a little dated, but the surroundings are exceptional.
Villa Cayo Levisa features a bar and two restaurants. Massage services are also provided.
The double room amounts to approximately 150-170 CUC per night, full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner included). The price also includes the ferry crossing from Palma Rubia.
Find out more : Hôtel Cayo Levisa
Activities & experiences in Cayo Levisa
Cayo Levisa is a diving paradise! 23 diving spots are accessible from the island. The on-site diving center organizes various excursions (40 CUC equipment & boat ride included).
You will be able to observe over 120 species of neritic fish and 47 of the 59 varieties of corals identified in Cuba. You may even be lucky enough to see some of the rarest species of the region: black corals, sea turtles, lobsters, molluscs and sponges of all kinds.
The bottom of the sea in the area is also strew with sunken ships dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The nautical center of the island also rents equipment: kayak, pedal-boat, stand up paddle … It’s the perfect way to explore the mangrove!
As for us, we opted for a kayaking (8 CUC per hour)… A storm unfortunately fairly quickly put an end to our little adventure!
Where are the Cubans?
Once you’ve reached Cayo Levisa, you’ll notice that there are hardly any Cubans in sight. The answer to this mystery is quite simple: Cubans are not allowed on the island, except for the staff.
Historically, numerous Cubans came to Cayo Levisa to try and flee the country and reach the US. Cubans were therefore forbidden to set foot on the island. If this mass exodus has now ended, the island still remains inaccessible to Cubans …
Cayo Levisa or Cayo Jutias?
Cayo Levisa is not the only heavenly island in the province of Pinar del Rio: Cayo Jutias is another little piece of paradise in the Archipelago of Los Colorados.
Cayo Jutias is also a cheaper option. It is connected to the main island by a pedraplén, a dike road over the sea: no need to take the ferry! It’s Cayo Jutias’ greatest asset, but also its main drawback: as the island is easily accessed, it is stormed by tourists (both Western and Cuban), especially in the summertime!