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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: A Tourist Destination par Excellence

The Cuban archipelago, a tourist destination par excellence in the Caribbean region, offers a wide range of options to develop the so-called smokeless industry in the country.

Cuba's beaches, culture, history and tradition translate into unique attractive options available for thousands of foreign tourists who visit the country ever year.

Natural and biosphere reserves, natural landscapes, national parks and protected areas create a varied offer characterized by its excellent preservation and unique features in the region.

Tours to the country's mountain ecosystems are also highly demanded by foreign tourists who bet on Cuba to spend their vacations

The potential of ecotourism lies in the Cuba's relief, which consists of four main mountain ranges that cover about 21 percent of the island's territory and hold 37 percent of the country's forests.

As an value added to the beaches, cities are also a key element in the development of the tourism industry, especially Havana, the Cuban capital.

Monte Mar Ciénaga de Zapata, Matanzas
Guamá
Diving site at Caleta Buena

Old Havana holds most of the city's museums, churches, cultural centers and buildings from the Spanish colonial period, including 33,000 buildings, most of which were built from the 18th to the 19th centuries.

In central Cuba, Cienfuegos offers a score of libraries, 11 museums, more than 30 movie halls and five theaters, in addition to houses of culture, art galleries and monuments, are visited by both national and foreign tourists every year.

The Cuban archipelago also offers more than 70,000 square kilometers of insular platform and some 5,000 kilometers of coasts, which are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Western Matanzas province holds the special marine park Cayo Piedras del Norte, which is an excellent place for scuba diving, and the ecological reserve in Punta Hicacos, a safe haven for 662 species of birds that live in Mangón Lagoon, in addition to the aboriginal pictographs in the caves of Ambrosio and Musulmanes.

In the southern part of that province is the Zapata Swamp Biosphere Reserve, a stronghold for nature tourism, an ideal place for marine spelunking and the largest swamp in the Caribbean region.

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.

Los ecosistemas de montaña del país no escapan al dinámico crecimiento del sector, y ya muchas de las alternativas incluyen recorridos y estancias en esas áreas.

El potencial de esa actividad está en el relieve cubano, pues la nación cuenta con cuatro macizos montañosos que ocupan aproximadamente el 21 por ciento de la superficie total de la isla, además de acoger al 37 por ciento de las zonas boscosas.

Como valor agregado a las playas, las ciudades constituyen también elementos a tomar en cuenta por la industria del ocio, donde destaca la capital de la isla.

En su centro histórico se localizan numerosos museos, iglesias, centros culturales e inmuebles muy vinculados a la época de la colonia, con unas 33 mil edificaciones construidas en su mayoría durante los siglos XVIII y XIX.

También se destaca Cienfuegos, con dos decenas de bibliotecas, 11 museos, más de 30 salas de cine y cinco teatros que se suman a casas de cultura, galerías de arte y monumentos diversos para llevar las tradiciones a visitantes nacionales y extranjeros.

Unido a ello, el inmersionismo tiene a su disposición más de 70 mil kilómetros de la plataforma insular cubana, con unos cinco mil kilómetros de costas, bañadas a su vez por el Océano Atlántico y el Mar Caribe.

Para ello, en Matanzas está el parque marino Cayo Piedras del Norte, mientras en la zona sur de ese territorio se localiza también la Reserva de la Biosfera Ciénaga de Zapata, plaza fuerte del turismo de naturaleza e ideal para la práctica del espeleobuceo.

A su vez, en la zona central las provincias de Villa Clara, Cienfuegos y Sancti Spíritus cuentan con un enorme potencial para la práctica del turismo de naturaleza, unido a decenas de kilómetros de excelentes playas.

En esa modalidad se destaca en Villa Clara el lago Hanabanilla, único con características intramontanas del país y alimentado por tres afluentes (ríos Negro, Hanabanilla y Guanayara), plaza ideal para los amantes de la naturaleza.

Otro de los sitios que combinan la opción de naturaleza y salud es Topes de Collantes, ubicado a 800 metros sobre el nivel del mar, y que con sus 110 kilómetros cuadrados constituye el reservorio de numerosas especies endémicas de la flora y la fauna nacionales.

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