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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Environment and Tourism

The Cuban archipelago, a fast-growing tourist destination in the Caribbean, offers the country's traditional options and its natural wealth.

Dozens of kilometers of excellent beaches of warm crystal-clear waters are complemented by Cuba's flora and fauna in areas that have barely been touched by humans.

The island's natural assets can be found in more than 4,000 keys and islets where vacationers can enjoy a wide range of options, including bird watching.

That way, traditional tourist options are combined with nature, which benefits from several natural, ecological and biosphere reserves, protected areas and national parks.

Cuban fauna is very diverse and consists of more than 350 species birds that live on islets and keys throughout the country, especially marine areas and forests, and are characterized by high endemism.

In addition, Cuba's nature also attracts thousands of foreign vacationers, who visit the central provinces of Villa Clara, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus every year to enjoy the region's potential for nature tourism.

Wall in Bellamar Cave
Parrot
Bellamar Cave

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

Also in central Cuba, there is an underground museum, the only one of its kind in the American continent, in La Maravillosa Cave, where the life of aborigines and human evolution in the region are recreated.

The cave has been visited by tourists over the past four decades and is a great attraction for those who stay in Trinidad. La Maravillosa was named after the large number of stalactites, stalagmites, pearls and other secondary formations it holds.

The country's beauty can also found underground, as more than 60 percent of Cuban territory is made up of calcareous rocks from the glacial period, creating the largest caverns in the region.

Experts say there are more than 10,000 caves in Cuba, many of which are more than 25 million years old.

In western Cuba, two of the most famous caves are the 45-km-long Santo Tomás, in western Sierra de Quemados, and Cueva del Indio, through which the San Juan River runs.

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