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

Cuba, which has a strategic location in the Caribbean, benefits from the archipelago's natural wealth to gain ground in the competitive regional tourist market.

Competing with major tourist powers such as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, Cuba offers dozens of kilometers of excellent beaches with crystal-clear water and fine sand.

Vacationers' access to one-of-a-kind places from the natural viewpoint is an additional element in Cuban authorities' efforts to boost the tourist sector.

Eastern Cuba is an active tourist region, especially Holguín province, where Cayo Saetía, which is located at the entrance of the Bay of Nipe, is regarded as the largest game preserve in the country.

The 42-square-kilometer islet has forests, which shelter a wide variety of animals, including whitetail deer, zebras and antelopes.

Under the concept of a Natural Park, Cayo Saetía is a pristine area that has not been affected by human activity, thus preserving its original flora and fauna.

Cayo Saetía. Pier
Cayo Saetía. Zebras
Cayo Saetía. Macaws

Cuba's mountain ecosystems do not escape the dynamic growth of the tourist sector, which offers tours and stays in mountainous areas, which cover about 21 percent of the island's total surface and holds 37 percent of forests.

Moreover, protected areas, biosphere reserves, swamps and regions with endemic flora and fauna are available to tourists in specialized trails.

In western Cuba, vacationers can visit the cavern of Santo Tomas, with more than 45 kilometers of underground galleries in Sierra de Quemados, and Cueva del Indio (Indian's Cave), through which the San Juan River runs.

Another option for both foreign and Cuban tourists is Cueva de Bellamar (Bellamar Cave), in Matanzas.

The 23-kilometer-long, 300,000-year-old cave is made up of three caverns: Bellamar, El Jarrito and Soto Jíbaro, which used to be only one thousands of years ago.

The underground sites for tourists also include the caves of Cuyaguateje, Cable, Simón, Paredones, Los Tomates, Quintanal, Aston, Caguanes, Palmarito, La Patana, Solapas de Jauco and Caleta del Rosario, among others.

On Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), south of Havana, tourists can visit the underwater cave of Punta Francés, one of the most beautiful seascapes in the region and an ideal place for spelunking.

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