domingo, 11 de octubre de 2015

Ecotourism in Cuba.


Why Cuba is the best ecotourism destination in the Caribbean?

Cuba’s bounty of natural attractions, paired with its meticulous conservation practices, makes it the best ecotourism destination in the Caribbean. It is home to 263 protected areas, covering approximately 22% of the total land. This includes six UNESCO biospheres that range from the coastal scrublands of Península de Guanahacabibes in Pinar del Río to the untouched rainforests of Cuchillas del Toa in Guantánamo. The abundance of carefully guarded land protects over 350 species of birds as well as endangered species such as the Cuban crocodile, the jutía and the ivory-billed woodpecker.

The province of Pinar del Río is particularly well-endowed when it comes to natural attractions: it boasts two UNESCO biospheres and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the sprawling Valley of Vinales. Pinar del Río’s Las Terrazas is an ideal base for ecotours: it was Cuba’s first sustainable resort community. Other noteworthy ecotourism destinations include the pristine area surrounding Baracao on Cuba’s eastern coast, and the Peninsula de Zapata to the south, which contains the Caribbean’s largest swamp.

Cuba boasts a wide selection of activities for ecotourists, including hiking along one of over 100 nature trails, cycling, horseback riding, spelunking, nature observation, photo tourism and speleo-scuba diving. Many of the country’s hotels, like the Hotel La Moka in Pinar del Rio, are sustainable and have been designed to blend harmoniously with their picturesque natural surroundings.

Pinar del Rio

Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve. Forests in Cuba’s first biosphere reserve, recognized in 1985. Watch out for one of the world’s smallest frogs and the colourful, pocket-sized reptile, the chipojo.

Península de Guanahacabibes Biosphere Reserve. Take a guided hike through the tropical forests in Cuba’s first biosphere reserve, recognized in 1985. Watch out for one of the world’s smallest frogs and the colourful, pocket-sized reptile, the chipojo. This sprawling reserve covers 121,572 hectares, including the Guanahacabibes National Park. Its diverse vegetation comprises mangroves, marsh grasslands, coastal scrublands and forests. Wildlife includes 40 bird species, as well as an abundance of local jutía and iguanas.

Parque Nacional de Viñales. This picturesque valley was named a UNESCO World Cultural and Landscape Site in 1999, thanks to bucolic farms and villages set against the region's iconic limestone mogotes.

Cueva del Indio. Enjoy a boat ride on the underground river that runs through this huge cavern. It is illuminated, so you can get a good look at the inside of a mogote.

Tobacco Farms. Watch ox-drawn ploughs make their way through the beautiful valleys that grow Cuba’s best tobacco.

Cueva de los Portales. Study the various stalagmites and stalactites in this 100-foot-high cavern, which now houses a museum.

Las Terrazas. This mountain community of artists and organic farmers is Cuba’s first sustainable village. There are hiking trails to stunning waterfalls, sparkling mineral springs and lush coffee farms. Stay at the Hotel La Moka, which specializes in eco-excursions.

Gran Caverna de San Tomás. Take a guided tour of Cuba’s largest cave system. Spread out over eight levels, the 46-km cave system is home to bats, underground pools and a replica of an ancient mural.

Soroa. Hike to the spectacular El Salto waterfall, or climb atop Mirador de Venus for panoramic views. Botanical experts have identified 1,000 species of exotic plants here; one hillside garden boasts 750 different types of orchids alone.


National Botanical Gardens.This spacious area located in Lenin Park contains everything from a Japanese garden to greenhouses bursting with cacti and tropical vegetation.

Parque Lenin. Wander through 670 hectares of parkland encircling a large artificial lake. An amphitheatre, aquarium, art gallery and botanical garden are just some of the attractions. Dine at Don Cuba, which sits atop a tower with a great view.


Península de Zapata (Ciénaga de Zapata, Biosphere Reserve) One of Cuba's six UNESCO biospheres, the Zapata reserve contains the largest wetlands in the Caribbean, and one of its most diverse ecosystems. Bring your binoculars: the world's smallest bird, the bee hummingbird, makes its home here. The Zapata Peninsula Biosphere reserve was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2001. It contains the largest wetlands in the Caribbean. Here you will see flamingos, manatee, crocodiles and the world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird, thriving in their natural habitat.

Matanzas. Cuevas de Bellamar (Bellmar Caves). Located on the outskirts of Matanzas, these caves are among the Caribbean’s largest and most beautiful underground formations. Josone's Oasis

Criadero de Cocodrilos. Established in 1962, this crocodile breeding farm has successfully saved two endangered species of crocodiles from extinction.

Laguna del Tesoro (Treasure Lake). Head down a 5-km canal to reach this scenic lagoon located east of Boca de Guamá. A lifelike recreation of a Taíno village spans across several small islands. Row your boat, ride the minitrain or wander at will through lush tropical vegetation in the gardens, groves and lagoons of this public park.

Varadero (Varahicacos Ecological Reserve). Covering about 30 per cent of the total area of the Hicacos Peninsula, this park contains the Cueva de Musalmanes, remarkable for its 2,500-year-old human remains and giant cactus.

Varadero. Cueva Ambrosio (Ambrosio Cave). This stunning 300-metre cave is a well-preserved archeological site featuring approximately 47 pre-Columbian drawings.

Varadero. Josone's Oasis Row your boat, ride the minitrain or wander at will through lush tropical vegetation in the gardens, groves and lagoons of this public park.


Cienfuegos (Cueva Martín Infierno) See the world’s tallest stalagmite, which stands 67 metres high, inside this cave located in the Valle de Yaganabo, 56 km east of Cienfuegos.

Cienfuegos. Jardín Botánico (Cienfuegos Botanical Garden) You could easily spend a day in this 94-hectare botanical garden that holds 2,000 species of plants. It was established in 1901 by sugar baron Edwin F. Atkins, who originally planned to use the land to study sugarcane, but instead filled it with exotic tropical trees from around the world.

Santa Clara

Santa Clara (Buenavista Biosphere Reserve) Encompassing 11 core areas, spanning across 313,502 hectares, this UNESCO-recognized biosphere protects ecosystems including mangroves, coral reefs, active dune zones, keys and vital reproductive zones for aquatic birds. Caves within the reserve hold historically significant paintings.

Santa Clara. Arroyo Trinitario waterfall. The 1.5 km hike to reach this scenic waterfall is well worth the effort. Cool off with a dip in the pool.

Santa Clara. Hanabanilla Lake. Explore this picturesque reservoir framed by a lush tropical forest.

Sancti Spiritus

Trinidad (Topes de Collantes). Explore the local flora and fauna – including colourful parrots and the Tocororo, Cuba’s national bird – at this park, deep within the Escambray Mountains. Be sure to stop by the towering Salto de Caburni waterfall.

Ciego de Ávila

Morón. Jardines del Rey (Parque Nacional El Bagá) What was once an airfield on Cayo Coco’s has been converted into a 769-hectare nature park filled with lakes, mangroves, juniper forest and over 130 species of birds. Take a tour along winding trails to see the netted butterfly garden and crocodile enclosure.

Morón. Pedraplén This causeway offers plenty of bird-watching opportunities. Watch out for wading birds like herons, pelicans and roseate spoonbills just off of this road connecting Cayo Coco to the mainland.

Parador La Silla You’re certain to see a flock of pink flamingos flying overhead here at sunrise and dusk. Prime flamingo-watching season is April to November, when they congregate at the Laguna de los Flamencos.


Camagüey (Sierra del Chorrillo) Explore this protected area by foot, Jeep or horseback. The park, located 36 km southeast of Camagüey, houses La Belén, a ranch that has been converted to a bird reserve where you’ll find rare species like the Cuban parakeet and the giant kingbird. For more bird-watching opportunities, head to the park’s bird trail where you’ll find birds like the blue heron, sparrow hawk, quail and zunzún. The park also contains a petrified forest, featuring fossilized tree stumps that are over three million years old.

Camagüey. Cayo Sabinal One the refuge of pirates, this key has intimate beaches tucked into beautiful coastal scenery. The centre of the tiny island, practically untouched by man, is home to abundant wildlife, including butterflies, tree rats and wild boar.

Camagüey. Santa Lucia (Cayo Sabinal) Escape to this gorgeous, unspoiled coral key lined with mangroves, marshes and lagoons and watch clouds of butterflies flutter above the lush landscape. Be sure to spend an afternoon at Playa Los Pinos, a standout amid the key’s many beaches, located 22 km from the town of Nuevitas.

Camagüey. Flamingo Tour Sail along the Santa Lucía coastline to visit a flamingo colony south of Cayo Sabinal. You’re sure to see hundreds of the pretty pink birds, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a dolphin in Nuevitas Bay.

Camagüey. Sierra de Cubitas Visit this beautiful ecological reserve to explore the caverns, isles and leafy trails.

Las Tunas

Las Tunas (Monte Cabaniguán) Escape to this peaceful protected area to see the world’s biggest crocodile breeding farm, and observe multitudes of birds fluttering in the trees and gliding over the water.


Holguin (Parque Nacional Sierra del Cristal) Cuba’s oldest national park, established in 1930, is home to Holguín’s highest peak, the Pico de Cristal.

Holguin. Parque Nacional La Mensura Inhale the rich pine scent in this heavily forested 5,300-hectare park south of Mayari. Stop by the mountain research centre of Pinares de Mayarí (Minari Pinegroves), which was modeled after an Alpine mountain hut. You can also hike to the foot of Cuba’s tallest waterfall, Salto del Guayabo.

Holguin. Parque Nacional Monumento Bariay The Parque Nacional Monumento Bariay was erected in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival at this spot in Holguín. This multi-purpose park also houses an archeological museum, models of huts and a 19th century Spanish fort.

Holguin. Salto del Guayabo Gaze up at Cuba’s highest waterfall, which cascades from its 100-metre perch in the Sierra del Cristal. Take a guided tour through the surrounding forest to see the abundance of native plants that thrive in this alpine microclimate.

Holguin. Grupo Maniabón Ride a steam train through this majestic, mogote-lined mountain range northeast of the city of Holguín.

Holguin. Las Guanas Eco-Archaeological Trail This winding trail near Playa Esmeralda takes you past 14 endemic plant species and leads to a spectacular bluff with a picturesque lighthouse.


Granma. Granma (Parque Nacional Desembarco del Granma) See the most pristine coastal cliffs in the Americas in this National Park, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its significance as the site of Castro’s landing with rebel forces in 1956. Highlights of the park include Cabo Cruz, an incredibly well-preserved marine terrace; and the Sendero Arqueológico Natural El Guafe, an archeological site within underground caverns featuring pre-Columbian artifacts.

Granma. Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra This gorgeous park is located in the heart of the stunning Sierra Maestra mountain range, and contains Pico Turquino, Cuba’s highest peak. You’ll find an array of endemic species here, including Sabicu (a West Indian tree commonly used for shipbuilding), and birds such as Carta Cuba, Tocororo and Zunzun. This park contains many sites of historical interest, such as La Plata, which served as Fidel Castro’s headquarters in the late 1950s.

Granma. Sendero Arqueológico Natural El Guafe Explore the caverns spread across the Parque Nacional Desembarco del Granma. Don’t miss the noted Ídolo del Agua, which pre-Columbian Indians carved out of stalagmites inside one of the caverns.

Granma. El Yarey Villa There are great bird-watching opportunities at the charming nature reserve El Yarey Villa in Jiguani. You’ll see plenty of endemic and migratory birds here.

Granma. Jardin Botánico See many of Granma’s native flora flourishing at this expansive botanical garden located just outside of Bayamo. You’ll find 74 types of palms, various cacti, beautiful orchids and a selection of endangered plants spread over 104 hectares.

Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba (Baconao Biosphere Reserve) This expansive 84,985-hectare UNESCO-recognized biosphere is home to 1,800 plant species that are of interest for their medicinal, industrial and religious properties. There are a reported 939 indigenous species of wildlife living here, too, including butterflies, mammals, reptiles and the endangered hot-cave bat. The rugged Sierra Maestra mountain range is protected within the Baconao biosphere, as is the Archeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the Southeast of Cuba – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Santiago de Cuba (Parque Nacional Pico Turquino) Climb 1,974 metres to reach Cuba’s highest peak atop this mountain in the Sierra Maestra mountains. The journey takes about two days. Santiago de Cuba.

Santiago de Cuba. Gran Piedra Climb the 454-step staircase for an unrivalled view of Santiago atop this 70,000-ton boulder teetering over the ridge of the Sierra Baconao, 1,000 metres above sea level.

Santiago de Cuba. Cordillera de la Gran Piedra Discover spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea from one of Cuba’s most bio-diverse mountain ranges. The area supports many endemic species of flora and fauna (including the endangered hot-cave bat) as well as the historic ruins of French coffee settlements.

Santiago de Cuba. El Saltón Escape to this scenic mountain resort that serves as a great base for eco-tourism excursions, bird watching treks and hikes to local waterfalls.


Baracoa (Cuchillas de Toa) Spend an afternoon at this UNESCO biosphere reserve. As one of the world’s last untouched rainforests, it boasts a large number of endangered plant and animal species, including the Cuban land snail, which is about two inches in diametre with striking spirals of colour.

Baracoa. Cueva del Aguas (Cave of Waters) Bring your bathing suit: this cave contains a cool, freshwater lagoon. After you take a dip, you can make your way up the hillside to an archaeological trail that boasts great ocean views, as well as more caves.

Baracoa. El Yunque (The Anvil) No visit to Baracoa is complete without a visit to the region’s famous tabletop mountain covered in rich vegetation. It rises 575 metres above sea level and is situated between the banks of the Duaba and Toa rivers.

Baracoa. Salto Fino Stop by Salto Fino to see the Caribbean’s highest waterfall. At 305 metres high, it’s the 20th highest water chute in the world, propelled by a sudden drop in the Arroyo del Infierno (Hell’s Stream).

Baracoa. Cactus Garden Cactus lovers, unite. This huge garden grows 2,000 cacti in this semi-arid southern region along the Guantánamo-Baracoa highway.

Baracoa. Río Toa Go bird watching along Cuba’s third-largest river that serves as an important plant and bird habitat.

Baracoa. Finca Duaba Walk along the aromatic cocoa trail surrounding this farm that houses a rachon-style restaurant.


miércoles, 14 de agosto de 2013

Free OnLine bookings in Casas particulares (private houses) in Cuba

We guarantee find a particular house in the mains cities Cuba: Habana, Pinar del Rio, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Camaguey, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa.

Our free service is reliable and personal; Internet booking is not widely available in Cuba, that is why we guarantee a response to any reservation inquiry within 24 hours in a direct connection with the Casa Owners. We have Casa Owner’s word assuring your reservation, that’s why we will not overbook and can guarantee the house you reserve, although we are not responsible if one of them don't keep the room available for you because of unexpected situation. You will never feel lost with us, once you book the room we will send you a voucher with all the information about the casa.

sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2011

Bird Watching Adventure in Cuba

Observación de aves en Cuba



                             (Hermanos Martínez Birding Guide (40 years experience’s)        Cuban Trougon (National Bird)                                   Birdwatchers Group

                               Itinerary 10 day: Bird Watching Adventure in Cuba

Day 1 – Arrive to Havana.

(Soroa Mirador)                                                  Cuban Vireo                                               Cuban Tody                                 Gray-headed Quail-Dove 

Day 2– Soroa Accommodation In the morning we will driver Soroa with stop few stops). Accommodation. Soroa with the major attraction: The Orquideario, an orchid garden which has been declared a national monument. It has one of the largest collections of orchids in the world. Here you can find a wealth of endemic birds that share the trees with orchids, such as: Fernandina’s Flicker, Antillean Palm-Swift, Gundlach’s Hawk, Bare-legged Owl, Stygian Owl, Etc. Today we will visit the Maravillas de Soroa, a wonderful trail with lot of interesting birds. There we will also take advantage to see the Cork Palm in nature, considered a living fossil. Among the many birds is the Cuban Trogon, the national bird. It is a good opportunity to see the Cuban Grassquit, with a marvellous coloration. The Cuban Pygmy Owl is one of the most interesting birds during the journey. We will found many Cuban Toddies calling everywhere in the forest, tiny jewels that combines wonderful colours. The Black Throated Warbler is a colourful migrant, usually easy to find on trees. The Red Legged Honey Creeper is a noisy bird that moves in flocks looking for food in flowers and ripe fruits; males have a beautiful combination of blue, black, white and red. The Indigo Bunting is rare, but possible to see in the trail. The nice coloured Stripe Header Tanager is quite common. The White Eye Vireo is usually found after hearing it is melodious call. The Key West Quail Dove is another rare bird that will require an acute search. Zenaida Doves are very easy to observe, even in flocks along the culture fields. Also we can find Cuban Vireo the endemic species.                                                            

Day 3 – La Güira National Park       

                                                                                                                                                   (Hacienda Cortinas)

7:00am in the morning transfer to La Güira National Park. Accommodation Viñales. Here, Great Lizard Cuckoos scuttle along the branches, looking for lizards and free frogs, in the beautiful park-like setting. This former estate has some standing colonial buildings, and its woodland trails echo with the cooing song of the beautiful Cuban Trogon, Cuba’s National bird, so chosen because it has all the colours of the Cuban flag in its plumage, also we can find West Indian Woodpecker, Giant Kingbird, Olive-Capped Warbler, Cape May Warbler and many others. We will also visit Cueva de los Portales. This limestone cave was headquarter of Che Guevara during the Cuban missile crisis of the early 1960s and became a national monument being interesting from both a geological and an historical point of view. Around the cave it is possible to delight the beautiful voice of the Cuban Solitaire.           

Day 4 –Ciénaga de Zapata    Bay pig


                                                                                     (Zapata Sparrow)                                           (Bay Pig)                                                        (Cuban Boa )                                      ( Ova )

In the morning we will take the highway from Viñales to Playa Larga (3hrs from Viñales). Accommodation The trip will take several hours driving but we will break up the journey with a number of stops. Our destination is the fabled Zapata Swamp. This area was declared to be a biosphere preserve in 2000 and Ramsar site in 2001. It covers an area of 628,171 hectares and is the largest and best-conserved wetland in Cuba and in the Caribbean insular. In the afternoon bird watching in Zapata (Bermejas and Soplillar areas) where we can find the Zapata Sparrow, Zapata Wren, Cuban Emerald, Bee Hummingbird, Cuban Trogon, Cuban Tody and many others.

Day 5 – Ciénaga de Zapata

                        Today we will explore, part of the Zapata Peninsula, in the Palpite zone.

Day 6 – Visit áreas de Zapata La Turba                                                                            


                           Zapata Wren )                                                             ( Cuban screch owl)                                               ( Environmental education  ) Zapata

Day 7– Cayo Coco                                                                                                                                      


 (Iguana)                                                                                                      Cayo Coco

Early in the morning we will drive to Cayo Coco (6hrs from Zapata with some stops). Accommodation Moron

In the late afternoon we will visit several localities to looks for the Zapata Sparrow (even easier to observe here than in Zapata Swamp), large numbers of great Flamingos, the Oriente Warbler, the Cuban Gnatcatcher, the Piping Plover, the Black-Bellier Plover, West Indian Whistling-Duck and the Sanderling.

In the morning we will drive to Cayo Guillermo (40min from the hotel in Cayo Coco).

With some stop in the way we will find the Bahamas Mockingbird, Cuban Black-Hawk and many others Shorebirds.

Day 8 – Cayo Paredon Grande (with accommodation in Moron)

  In the morning we drive to Cayo Paredon Grande We will stay 2hrs of bird watching in Cayo Paredon with species such as: Capper Rail, Osprey, Egrets and some interesting Shorebirds? Afterwards we continue for accommodation and optional city tour.

Day 9 – Trinidad


Early in the morning we will drive to Trinidad (4hrs from Moron). Accommodation

Today we will visit the Cubano National Park: Situated in the limits of the Guaurabo River, and at the entrance of the UNESCO World Heritage Trinidad, El Cubano Park gives you the lifetime opportunity of getting in touch with the life of slaves at the “Ingenious” sugar refinery, considered one of the first built in this particular zone. You can observe the life of Cuban farmers, his costumes, habits and appreciate the great diversity of Flora and Fauna of the Javira River. Some of the most well-known species include: Cuban Trogon, Red-legged Trush, Cuban Bullfinch, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Cuban Pygmy Owl and Cuban Green Woodpecker. We continue with the visit to Trinidad Historical Centre. In the evening we will visit the Casilda Swamp at the coast where we can find Cuban Gnatcatcher, Sanderling and different species of Sandpipers.

Day 10 – – Havana

Early in the morning we drive to Havana. (3hrs from Trinidad) We can see some species of birds on the way.

It includes: Transport - gasoline, lodging, excellent room, with conditioned air and fan, wather cold and hot, dinner and breakfast, services of Guide - Driver

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