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Guanacahabibes: Enigmas and Legends in the Caiman's Tail

The Guanacahabibes Peninsula, a region named by Cuban aborigines many centuries ago, treasures innumerable enigmas and legends, and has a privileged position in what Cubans call the caiman's tail.

The region, which begins in Ciénaga de Remates (Remates Swamp) and ends in Cabo de San Antonio (Cape San Antonio), was declared a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1987.

The granting of that category contributes to fostering biological, ecological and conservation research and preserving the region's natural wealth.

Most of the peninsula, which covers an area of 100,000 hectares, consists of a carse plain, while the north coast swamp sits in an area of 39,000 hectares.

For centuries, this peaceful region, which was isolated from the rest of the island during the Spanish colonial period, witnessed many shipwrecks and pirate attacks.

According to legend, renowned pirates like Henry Morgan and "El Olonés" took refuge in the Guanacahabibes area and named various coves, inlets and beaches of the area.

Guanacahabibes. Vegetation
Guanahacabibes. Sea bird.
Guanahacabibes. Landscape

The sea bottoms off Guanacahabibes coast treasure the remains of Spanish ships and a large colony of corals, creating a breathtaking spectacle for those who love diving in crystal-clear waters.

Moreover, divers can find all kinds of natural treasures, thanks to the existence of a large population of black corals in the reefs, as well as species like lobsters, crabs and queen winkles, among others.

The peninsula, one of the last refuges of aboriginal communities fleeing from the Spanish conquistadors, according to experts, also holds some 140 archeological sites linked to the life of aborigines, who were known as guanahatabeyes.

Research has shown that aboriginal communities in different stages of development settled in the region, although the largest population consisted of fishermen and pickers rather than harvesters.

The most recent enigma was found recently, when Cuban and Canadian experts discovered impressive megalithic structures in the platform of the Guanacahabibes Peninsula, raising a heated debate among scientists on their possible natural origin or the existence of an ancient city.

Those interested in the region's endemic flora and fauna can enjoy an incomparable natural wealth, although many prefer to watch the "zunzuncito" (bee hummingbird - Calypte helenae), which is the smallest bird in the world and can only be found in Guanacahabibes and Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp).

History, full of traditions and legends, gives a peculiar touch to the peninsula, which also has excellent beaches and a unique natural wealth, especially for those interested in ecological tourism.

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