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Nature

Cuba’s ample rainfall nourishes its fertile land, contributing to its status as one of the most important natural habitats in the insular Caribbean in terms of size, biodiversity, number of endemic species and conservation. Its rolling plains are punctuated by four mountain ranges: to the west, the Guaniguanico cordillera, which includes the Sierra de los Organos and the Sierra del Rosario; in the central region, the Guamuahaya mountain range, made up of the Sierra de Trinidad and the Sierra de Sancti Spiritús; to the east, the Sierra Maestra and Sagua-Baracoa. These mountain chains are unconnected to each other, which contributes to the island's great bio-diversity. Pico Turquino in the Sierra Maestra is Cuba's highest mountain peak.

Cuba is home to 4% of the world’s land species, including 6,700 different plants, 14,000 invertebrate species and 650 vertebrates. Highlights unique to Cuba include the world’s smallest frog – just 12 mm long, and the tiniest bird, the bee hummingbird. Cuba is also known for the wealth of rare orchids sprinkled throughout its lush tropical forests, as well as prehistoric cacti in the arid southeast, mangrove-lined everglades and one of the world’s longest coral reefs.


Baracoa

Cueva del Aguas (Cave of Waters)

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.

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.

Salto Fino

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).

Cactus Garden

Cactus Garden

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

Río Toa

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

Finca Duaba

Baracoa - Finca Duaba

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


Camagüey

Sierra del Chorrillo

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.

Cayo Sabinal

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.


Cienfuegos

Cueva Martín Infierno

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.

Jardín Botánico de Cienfuegos (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.


Granma

Sendero Arqueológico Natural El Guafe

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.

El Yarey Villa

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.

Jardin Botánico

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.


Havana

Jardín Botánico Nacional (National Botanical Gardens)

Jardín Botánico Nacional - National Park

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

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Parque Lenin

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.


Holguin

Salto del Guayabo

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.

Grupo Maniabón

Grupo Maniabón

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

Las Guanas Eco-Archaeological Trail

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.


Jardines del Rey

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.


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.


Peninsula de Zapata

Criadero de Cocodrilos

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)

Laguna del Tesoro

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.


Pinar del Río

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

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.


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.

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.

Sierra de Cubitas

Visit this beautiful ecological reserve to explore the caverns, isles and leafy trails.


Santiago de Cuba

Cordillera de la Gran Piedra

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.

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.


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.


Varadero

Cueva Ambrosio (Ambrosio Cave)

Cueva Ambrosio (Ambrosio Cave)

This stunning 300-metre cave is a well-preserved archeological site featuring approximately 47 pre-Columbian drawings.

Cuevas de Bellamar (Bellmar Caves)

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

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.


Villa Clara

Arroyo Trinitario waterfall

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.

Hanabanilla Lake

Hanabanilla Lake

Explore this picturesque reservoir framed by a lush tropical forest.