The largest country in the Caribbean is home to great natural treasures distributed throughout its territory, with around 20 percent managed under some form of environmental protection. From east to west, along the main island, in the hundreds of keys that define it as an archipelago and the surrounding seas, boast wonderful landscapes, spectacular varieties of flora and fauna with high levels of endemism.
Making a selection is always difficult, but below you will find the most attractive and accessible natural treasures from a general perspective, where you can experience multiple activities to interact with the green surroundings and its inevitable combination with the sea: ecological and thematic trails, walks horseback riding, cycling, bird watching, exploring caves, climbing, diving, among others, to return to our daily lives energized and full of fresh air.
Valle de Viñales,Pinar del Río
Declared a Natural Landscape of Humanity, it combines extensive green plains and fields, with cave systems and multiple picturesque elevations, called mogotes, in a spectacle worthy of the most beautiful oil painting, and supported by a colorful urbanization that brings together a large number of private accommodations. .
Where to stay in Viñales: best areas and hotels
Centro de Viñales
The surroundings of Viñales are an interesting area to stay, in addition there are several hotels that have a swimming pool and magnificent views of the Viñales Valley. Our favorite accommodation in this area and, due to its proximity to the center of Viñales, is the Hotel Horizontes La Ermita, a hotel that has all the facilities for tourists and with great views of the Viñales Valley.
There are also some private houses to stay, if you want tranquility, this is the best area, although remember that to move you must do it with transport. Best accommodations around Viñales:
Ciénaga de Zapata (Matanzas)
Largest wetland in the insular Caribbean, categorized as a Ramsar site. It has the largest reservoir of migratory and endemic birds in Cuba, such as the tocororo and the ferminia, and a crocodile farm essential for the preservation of the species.
Where to Stay?
Located in the Ciénaga de Zapata, province of Matanzas, bathed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea, this hotel rises where the visitor has all the facilities to enjoy the beach and nature. With an All Inclusive modality, its attractions include the practice of bird watching and contemplative diving, as it has 2 International Diving Centers.
The Hotel Villa Playa Giron offers air conditioning. The hotel is suitable for sports. There is a bar inside the hotel. The property is fully equipped with a conference room. Guests can use the hotel restaurant. The Hotel Villa Playa Giron has facilities for business tourism. The hotel is ideal for sports.
Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt, Holguín y Guantánamo
It is the largest and most important biosphere reserve on the island, and has been declared a World Heritage Site. Mountain, coastal and river ecosystems coexist in it. Two percent of the universal flora is represented there and rare animals such as the almiquí live there. It was the last place in Cuba where the royal carpenter was seen.
The park offers camping places, lodging, guided routes and highly trained personnel to solve any doubt or problem for visitors. You can do the trails Sendero Marino por Bahía de Taco, Sendero el Balcón de Iberia, Sendero el Recreo, Sendero el Copal and Sendero Riberas del Jiguaní, where you will come into direct contact with nature, exploring both river and land space. You will enjoy spectacular views, refreshing waters, beautiful landscapes of endemic vegetation, interesting fruit crops and being lucky enough to appreciate exotic animals in their natural environment.
Jardines de la Reina, Ciego de Ávila y Camagüey
An almost virgin archipelago in the south of Cuba, made up of more than 600 immensely rich cays and a model of sustainable exploitation. More than one hundred species of fish of economic and contemplative importance, crustaceans, turtles and corals, allow controlled sport fishing and diving, from floating hostels.
When we first see the island landscape, currently the most preserved in the Caribbean, we understand what inspired Columbus to name it that way. It is a pristine environment, without buildings, avenues or smoke. This area maintains practically the same state as when the Spanish navigators crossed its waters.
How to get to the Jardines de la Reina
To get to Jardines de la Reina it is necessary to book on one of the “live on board” cruises that depart from the port of Júcaro; connecting flights may be necessary. The floating platform known as La Tortuga is the visitor reception point, the diving center and an eight-room hotel. This, together with some barges in which the workers are housed and where the essential machinery for the operation of all the facilities and equipment is located, are the only elements that alter this extraordinary natural space.
Pico Turquino, Santiago de Cuba
With 1,972 meters above sea level, it is the highest elevation in Cuba. Its ascent, which lasts one or two days depending on the chosen route, is an adventure adorned by exuberant and full nature.
Among its charms, Cuba stands out for its excellent sites for the development of hiking, ecological tourism, or adventure, as it is also known. One of the favorite sites for Cuban and foreign visitors is the Pico Turquino, the highest place in Cuba.
Guanahacabibes, Pinar del Río
Located on the western peninsula, there they pride themselves on the health of the birds, iguanas, deer, hutias, crabs and crocodiles that inhabit the coastal forests, especially the care they profess during the nesting of sea turtles. They have about 150 aboriginal archaeological sites.
The territory is home to a variety of species that are endemic, threatened or require special protection, including botanical rarities such as the restricted-range herb Goerziella minima, a unique genus and species, local endemic, and the zunzuncito Mellisuga helenae, the smallest bird in the world with very small populations. for the rest of the country and relatively abundant in the peninsula. It constitutes an active migratory corridor for birds and a nesting site for 4 species of sea turtles. The marine area protects one of the best preserved coral reef ecosystems in the country and one of the most diverse in the Caribbean, with seabeds of spectacular beauty
The wonders that surround the first town founded by the Spanish colonizers in Cuba are simply impressive. Between mountains, rivers and the sea, Baracoa allows you to climb El Yunque, enjoy boat rides, observe birds, polimita snails, coffee plantations, cocoa, coconut palms and dishes based on teti fish.
Parque El Bagá, Ciego de Ávila
In the heart of the Jardines del Rey tourist destination, very close to transparent beaches and All Inclusive hotels, exotic animals, 300 species of plants and an ecological restaurant are shown.
During your stay in the park you can hire a guided tour through a circuit of approximately three hours. The guides are more than qualified to answer any questions you may have about the native species that surprise you during the journey. Some of the exotic animals that you will find during the tour are iguanas, hutias… and you could even come across the most fearsome land reptile of the place, the crocodile.
Topes de Collantes, Cienfuegos
Some outstanding landscapes that deserve a photography contest every year, are reached through steep slopes. There are all the conditions for rest, to combat stress, while exploring trails among tree ferns, waterfalls, birds, amphibians and mammals.
One of the most visited attractions in Topes de Collantes is its spa. A tourist rest and health center located in the Sierra del Escambray where patients go for anti-stress treatments, rehabilitation, massages, etc.
Las Terrazas, Artemisa
Just 70 kilometers from Havana and in the Sierra del Rosario, an ecological town surrounded by generous flora and fauna welcomes visitors with a wide heritage in plastic arts and crafts with the use of biodegradable raw materials, ruins of colonial coffee plantations and the exciting alternative to the Canopy Tour.
In this environment, you will be able to contemplate the historic ruins of the coffee plantations, an exceptional landscape with various wonders of nature and you will find the perfect environment for outdoor activities such as canopy, boat rides or exciting hiking and horseback riding routes.
Parque Nacional Caguanes, Sancti Spíritus
Surrounded by legends due to the aboriginal presence, Caguanes brings together dozens of caves on islets, coastlines and mainland, where bats, iguanas, cartacubas, cranes, pink flamingos, dolphins and manatees abound.
Another of the main attractions of the park are the Caves of the Caguanes Park, formed by a large cave system of about 11 km of underground galleries, which preserve the historical legacy of the primitive peoples who transited the area and cave representations can be seen.
El Nicho, Sancti Spíritus
Near Topes de Collantes, in the Sierra del Escambray, we find one of the paradisiacal places in Cuba. Between pools of crystal clear water, ferns and wild orchids, the El Nicho waterfall is a feast for the eyes and the body during hot days. It can be combined with the Martín Infierno Cave, host to a 67-meter stalagmite.
To get to the waterfall you have to follow a beautiful natural path of just over a kilometer known as the Kingdom of Waters, through which you can discover the exuberant fauna and flora of the area, such as tocororos and palmiches. To rest from the walk, you can take a refreshing swim in the numerous natural pools that you will find, such as the lovers’ pool. Furthermore, there are numerous caves that are waiting for you to discover them.
La Gran Piedra, Santiago de Cuba
Going up to the Gran Piedra, an elevation crowned by a gigantic 75,000-ton volcanic rock, is the excursion most in demand by cruise passengers arriving in the bay of Santiago de Cuba. From there the Baconao biosphere reserve is completely dominated.
Weighing nearly 63,000 tons, the rock that sits on top of a mountain with a cool atmosphere and exuberant vegetation, shelters numerous places of interest such as the Botanical Garden, the Isabelica Coffee Plantation and the Prado de las Sculptures.
Ciénaga de Lanier, Isla de la Juventud
This National Park located in the southeast of the Isla de la Juventud, encompasses coastal areas, lagoons and freshwater swamps, where crocodiles, slider turtles, deer, green and loggerhead turtles, cranes are protected, and is an important refuge for the Cuban parrot.
Other important species of the fauna of the place are: the crane, the catey, the partridge and the parrot; the Cuban crocodile has been reintroduced for conservation on a larger scale, such as the deer introduced in the 17th century, which have integrated very well.
Elige a ojos cerrados los tesoros a visitar en Cuba
In addition to the famous white sand beaches to visit in Cuba, the island offers several natural, outdoor options. This tourist destination has 14 national parks, 25 ecological reserves and six biosphere reserves, which are intertwined with water, coastal, community, tourist, flora and wild fauna values. The autochthonous flora exhibits some 6,300 varieties and its fauna accounts for about 16,500 species.