Most beautiful natural parks in Cuba

 
Fri 10 Mar 2017
 

beautiful natural parks Cuba

Are you interested in visiting the most beautiful natural parks in Cuba? Even though the island is known for its cigars, rum or music, there is so much more to see. Bed and Breakfast in Cuba has resume a list with some of the places why this island is called a paradise.

Ecotourism in Cuba

No matter if you have plenty of time or if you are limited to just a few a days. Cuba has something to offer you if you the kind of people who likes to go beyond the borders of the cities.

The Island is one of the best places in the world for ecotourism lovers. With a large number of national parks, ecological and biosphere reserves, around 10% of the land area is protected.

Unique species of flora and fauna inhabit Cuba. And a large number of them are endemic. There are also a huge number of caves, experts say more than 10.000.

With the opportunity to go hiking, trekking, bird watching and more, the Caribbean island has become a great destination for ecotourism.

These activities has received great impulse with programs to promote the care of natural resources. The travelers will find an extensive number of excursions and activities to do at the parks.

Tip: Always hire a guide. Some of the parks are huge and the routes can be solitary and complicated. It would be hard to find the way back even following the tracks.

We recommend to choose the park you want to visit before arriving to the island. This way you’ll be able to know everything you need and book an accommodation close to it. For this matter you can contact us and check out the Casas Particulares available in our website.

Most beautiful natural parks in Cuba

Let’s get started with our list of natural wonders in Cuba. Take a few minutes to imagine yourself living a fulfilling live experience.

Alejandro de Humbolt National Parkalejandro humbolt national park

  • Where is it located?: It’s located at the north of the provinces of Holguín and Guantánamo, at the east of the island. Guantánamo is the nearest city.
  • Outspread: The area of the park is 711.38 km2, including land and marine areas.

“Alejandro of Humbolt” National Park is a tropical rainforest and the most humid place in Cuba. It took this name to honor the German scientist's, who is considered the “second discoverer of the island”.

This is a protected area, and there is only one archeological site, located in the zone of Aguas Verdes.

A little bit more than 22 square kilometers (more than 8 sq miles) is marine area, the rest island area. It’s the most extensive park at the island. Is the home of 24% of the species of the world’s flora. This number includes 16 of the 28 protected endemic plants species.

There is also a interesting variety of animal species such as the endemic Cuban Solenodon. If you are lucky you would see the smallest bird in the world, the Mellisuga Helenae. In the park also lives the world smallest bat, the smallest frog in the north hemisphere and the smallest scorpion.

There are short and long hiking routes to walk around the forest intersected with waterways. Don’t take the tour by yourself, hire a guide to lead your way.

Viñales Valley

  • Where is it located?: Pinar del Río Province, not so far from Havana.
  • Outspread: The area of the valley is 132 km2 or 51 sq miles.

Viñales is well known for tobacco crops cultivated in the valley. It’s located in the Sierra de los Órganos mountains.

There are a diversity of activities for tourist. You can take a tour by the farms where tobacco is grown. Go bird watching and try to find some of the many indigenous bird species who lives there.

At the park you’ll see the mogotes. These are formations of vertical walls and rounded tops. Within the mogotes is an interesting system of caves that can be visited with a guide. Some of them are Cave of Indian, Cave Santo Tomás, Cave of the Sijú, among others.

You can go hiking, and the adventurers can also rock climbing.

At the valley there is also a big number of endemic plants and animal species.

Gardens of the Queen

  • Where is it located?: Provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila.
  • Outspread: 2.170 km2 or 840 sq miles.

This park is actually at the ocean, from Cayo Breton to Cayos Mordazo. More than 600 cays and islands form the second largest archipelago of Cuba. It was name “Jardines de la Reina” by Christopher Columbus.

The area is very quiet, and just two of the island have permanent residents. Scuba diving and fishing are the main activities here. On the warms waters of the archipelago is possible to see the whale shark.

Turkino National Park

  • Where is it located?: Santiago de Cuba province.
  • Outspread: 229.38 km2 or 88.56 sq miles.

The Turkino Natinal Park is also known as Sierra Maestra Park. At this tropical forest is located the highest point in Cuba, Pico Turquino, which is 6,480 ft tall. Pico Suecia y Pico Cuba are also located at the park.

It’s possible to go through these formation, but as a turist you need to know there are some rules. Always go with a guide, don’t smoke and don’t create noises. It’s forbidden to hunt, to fish and talar.

flamingos in cuba

Caguanes National Park

  • Where is it located?: Sancti Spíritus Province, at Yaguajay municipality.
  • Outspread: 204.87 km2 or 79.10 sq miles.

79 caves are found in this park that begins at the coast of Cuba and extends to the ocean. It’s a great place to explore. It has a very rich ecosystem with more than 200 species. 24 of them are endemic. If you are lucky you’ll be able to see the American Flamingo.

Topes de Collante

  • Where is it located?: Sancti Spiritus province.
  • Outspread: 110 km².

Is an ecological reserve located 800 meter over the level of the sea. The weather is different to the rest of the island, with temperatures between 16 and 25 °C. 45 % of the endemic birds lives at the park.

At this area you´ll find Sierra del Escambray. The third most important mountain system of the island. Caves, rivers, and waterfalls are the main attraction.

Cascadas El Nicho are a popular spot at Sierra del Escambray. These are located just 46 kilometers away from Cienfuegos. So you can book a room at Hostal Casa Verde if you want to visit these falls.

Zapata Swamp

  • Where is it located?: Matanzas province.
  • Outspread: 4,354.3 km² or 1681.2 sq miles.

Ciénaga de Zapata in Spanish. This is a great place to go birding because there lives at least 258 of the 374 bird species in Cuba. 21 of bird species are endemic.

The Swamp includes Las Salinas, a wildlife sanctuary. Crocodiles, turtles, manatees and garfish are some of the animals that can be found at this place.

There are excursion that offers trips around the park and include visits to the coast to observe the pre-barred coral barrier.

Some other natural spots

Beaches, forests, mountains… Cuba has a lot to see. These are just some of the places you can visit to experience the island. Some other parks includes Sierra Cristal, located at south of Holguín province. This is actually the first National Park Created in the country.

The Guanahacabibes Peninsula, at Pinar del Río province, is one of the largest lakeside areas in Cuba. Unesco named as biosphere reserve. 11 species of endemic birds lives at the westernmost point on the island, around 4 and 7 species of marine turtles and coral reefs.

Each park hides some of the best natural spots in Cuba. Reserve some time for Caverna El Panal in Valle de Viñales, or Caleta Buena in Ciénaga de Matanzas and Salto Sendero de Vegas Grande in Topes de Collantes.

Cueva Saturno at the town of Carbonera, in Matanzas is a most see on your trip. Inside is a lagoon with crystal clear water where the travelers can take a bath. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit with you!

Before going to any of these places ask the locals what regulations you must know to visit the parks. Always bring sun protection with you and fresh clothes, because some of these trips can be very hot.

Are you ready to start your trip around Cuba. We are happy to help you, so keep in touch with our Twitter account to know our updates.

Did you know the most beautiful natural parks in Cuba? Do you think we are missing a place? Let us know it at the comments.

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