Cayo Las Brujas

A pedraplén (causeway) traverses the shallow waters of Bahía Buena Vista (Buena Vista Bay) from the mainland to Cayo Las Brujas and beyond to the larger Cayo Santa María—both in the western half of the Jardines del Rey archipelago. Although neighboring Cayo Santa María has been developed on a grand scale, with giant, all-inclusive beach resorts and today houses the newest and most desirable properties, Cayo Las Brujas has been spared mass tourism, and we hope it stays that way.

Brujas (pronounced "brew-haas") means "witches," and local legend tells of the clandestine love affair between a fisherman's daughter and a young man. One day he arrived late to their meeting place only to discover a hoary witch in place of his tender love. A statue of the maiden now stares at sea from atop a coral bluff next to the island's one, small hotel—the Villa Las Brujas.

Cayo Las Brujas remains enchanted, but the current spell is cast by the sun as it shines on this key's beige beach, which is backed by dense foliage and fronted by crystalline waters, coral reefs, and uninhabited islets. There's good snorkeling around the point, and a larger reef lies just across the channel, in front of Cayo Francés. The hotel rents snorkeling equipment, kayaks, and catamarans, and offers trips to dive spots and a pristine beach on Cayo Borracho. You can visit Cayo Las Brujas on a day trip, but you'll have to pay 5 cuc to cross the pedraplén. If you spend the night, bring insect repellent.

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