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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Leisure and Nature

The development of the Cuban archipelago as a fast-growing tourist destination in the Caribbean region is based on traditional sun and beach options and the country´s natural attractions.

Hundreds of kilometers of pristine white-sand beaches distributed throughout the archipelago are complemented by unique options that allow tourists to be in direct contact with nature.

Eastern and central Cuba has a huge potential in that regard, especially Pinar del Río province, where a project that combines sustainable development and tourism is being carried out in Las Terrazas.

Also in Pinar del Río is the Viñales Valley – declared a Cultural Landscape and Humankind´s Heritage – which is characterized by peculiar round-topped hills, called "mogotes".

Another site of interest for vacationers is the region´s cavern system, the largest in the country, where the 45-kilometer-long Santo Tomás cave, the third largest cave in Latin America, stands out.

The imprint left by Cuba´s first inhabitants can be found in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, in the westernmost tip of the province. The region was named after a tribe that settled in the area. The peninsula is a biosphere reserve and a safe haven for many animal species.

Buildings on Havana`s Malecón (seafront)
City view from the Malecón
Monument to Calixto García, across from Havana`s Malecón

In western Matanzas province, the Zapata Peninsula is one of the largest swamps in the insular Caribbean, covering an area of 5,000 square kilometers of forests, swamps, lagoons and canals.

The region´s exuberant flora, with more than 900 autochthonous species, including 115 native to Cuba, is complemented by 160 species of birds and 12 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles, especially crocodiles.

Other attractions are Salinas de Bidos (Bidos´ Saltmine), where naturalists can watch up to 165 species of birds in winter, and Cueva de los Peces (Cave of Fish), the largest flooded cavern in the Cuban archipelago, an ideal place to practice cave diving.

At the same time, the central provinces of Villa Clara, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spíritus have a huge potential to develop nature tourism, including dozens of kilometers of excellent beaches.

In Villa Clara, tourists can visit the Hanabanilla, Cuba´s only lake surrounded by mountains, into which the rivers Negro, Hanabanilla and Guanayara flow, an ideal place for nature lovers.

Topes de Collantes, which is 800 meters above sea level, is an excellent place for nature and health tourism. The 110-square-kilometer area is a safe haven for endemic plant and animal species.

South of Villa Clara is Cubanacán Protected Area, which is a natural safe haven for amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds, including ten species that were included in the list of endemic species.

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