The western Cuban province of Matanzas offers an array of tourist options that range from the world-famous beach resort of Varadero to Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp).
Precisely, Varadero is considered Cuba's best beach, despite strong competition from the islets that make up the tourist destination known as Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens).
A score of kilometers of excellent beaches and natural attractions such as caves, pristine keys and crystal-clear water are complemented by a large infrastructure to meet the needs from the most demanding vacationers.
In addition, Varadero's sea is inhabited by more than 40 kinds of corrals, schools of fish, lobsters, shrimps, crabs, turtles and more than 70 kinds of mollusks.
Marinas like Dársena de Varadero and Gaviota provide diving enthusiasts with excellent conditions and services, including boats, skilled personnel, diving training centers, hyperbaric chambers and emergency transportation.
One of the best diving sites is Hoyo Azul Ojo del Mégano, a huge cave that has 70 meters in diameter and holds underwater walls, coral reefs and huge schools of multicolor fish.
At the same time, the Zapata Swamp is one of the most attractive tourist options in Matanzas, in addition to being the paradise par excellence for nature lovers.
Pristine beaches, exotic forests, rivers, lakes, flooded caverns, natural pools, virgin areas and grasslands are a safe haven for 30 percent of Cuba's autochthons fauna.
The swamp shelters 171 species of birds, 18 of which are native to the region, which is one of Cuba's richest zones for ecological tourism.
The geographic center of the region is Playa Larga, a 400-meter fine sand strip bathed by warm water and surrounded by corals and natural trails where tourists can enjoy nature at the International Bird Watching Center.
Other attractions include Salinas de Bidos (Bidos' Saltmines), where bird watchers can watch up to 165 species of birds in winter, and Cueva de los Peces (Fish's Cave), the largest flooded cavern in the Cuban archipelago and an excellent site to practice speleological diving.
One of the largest crocodile breeding farms in the Caribbean Island and the Caribbean, with more than 15,000 specimens, is in the Zapata Swamp.
Matanzas also boasts a natural underground wonder, Cuevas de Bellamar (Bellamar's Caves), which were discovered in 1861, the ruins of the Triunvirato sugar mill and the River Canímar.
One of the most beautiful natural sites in Cuba is the Yumurí Valley, whose breathtaking landscape can be enjoyed from Mirador de Bacunayagua (Bacunayagua's Lookout), which overlooks a bridge that is considered one of the Caribbean Island's seven wonders of civil engineering.