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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Western Cuba: Nature, Beaches and Heritage

Western Cuba, comprised of Pinar del Río, Havana, Mayabeque, Artemisa and Matanzas provinces, offers a singular combination of excellent beaches, nature and major cultural and traditional values. The wide range of tourist destinations is complemented by several regions in the Cuban archipelago, including the special municipality Isla de la Juventud and Cayo Largo del Sur, just to mention the most outstanding regions. The Cuban capital, Havana, is one of the key elements in the region, due to its rich historic and cultural traditions, with attractions like the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro and the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, which are world-renowned defensive constructions. For thousands of tourists who every year visit the city, favored by its strategic geographic location, it is an attraction to walk the streets in Old Havana, including the Prado Promenade and Alameda de Paula. Havana's historic heart, also known as Old Havana and declared Humankind's Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), holds most museums, churches, cultural centers and buildings closely linked to the Spanish colonial period, with about 33,000 buildings constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp) is one of the most attractive tourist options in Matanzas province, in addition to being the paradise par excellence for nature enthusiasts. Beaches of blue crystal-clear water, exotic forests, rivers, lakes, flooded caverns, natural pools, pristine areas and typical swamp savannas are a safe haven for 30 percent of Cuba's autochthonous fauna. In a natural lagoon, ideal for fishing and boat rites, 12 small islands communicated by a system of canals and bridges hold the tourist center Guamá, the only one of its kind in the world, due to the type of aboriginal constructions. In Guamá, the Cuban famous sculptor Rita Longa built a life-size replica of a Taino village, showing the island's first inhabitants doing their daily chores. Pinar del Río, a major destination for nature tourism, holds enough attractions, ranging from sun and beach programs to trekking and excellent baths of medicinal water. Also in western Cuba are the world-famous coastal resort Varadero and Isla de la Juventud. The latter was discovered by Admiral Christopher Columbus in his second voyage to the so-called New World, and offers excellent choices for diving lovers. Coral reefs of singular beauty are found in the south coast of the isle, in addition to the attractions of the Punta Francés National Marine Park. Experts specially highlight the spectacular beauty of diving areas like Pared de Coral Negro (Black Coral Wall), Túnel del Amor (Tunnel of Love), Cueva Azul (Blue Cave), El Pasaje Escondido (The Hidden Passage), Cueva de los Sábalos (Cave of Shads), Piedra de Coral (Coral Stone), El Salto (The Waterfall), Ancla del Pirata (Pirate's Anchor), Paraíso de las Levisas (Paradise of Levisas) and Pequeño Reino (Small Kingdom).

View of Alameda de Paula
Meliá Varadero. Bird`s-eye view
Monte Mar Ciénaga de Zapata, Matanzas

Western Cuba, comprised of Pinar del Río, Havana, Mayabeque, Artemisa and Matanzas provinces, offers a singular combination of excellent beaches, nature and major cultural and traditional values. The wide range of tourist destinations is complemented by several regions in the Cuban archipelago, including the special municipality Isla de la Juventud and Cayo Largo del Sur, just to mention the most outstanding regions. The Cuban capital, Havana, is one of the key elements in the region, due to its rich historic and cultural traditions, with attractions like the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro and the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, which are world-renowned defensive constructions. For thousands of tourists who every year visit the city, favored by its strategic geographic location, it is an attraction to walk the streets in Old Havana, including the Prado Promenade and Alameda de Paula. Havana's historic heart, also known as Old Havana and declared Humankind's Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), holds most museums, churches, cultural centers and buildings closely linked to the Spanish colonial period, with about 33,000 buildings constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp) is one of the most attractive tourist options in Matanzas province, in addition to being the paradise par excellence for nature enthusiasts. Beaches of blue crystal-clear water, exotic forests, rivers, lakes, flooded caverns, natural pools, pristine areas and typical swamp savannas are a safe haven for 30 percent of Cuba's autochthonous fauna. In a natural lagoon, ideal for fishing and boat rites, 12 small islands communicated by a system of canals and bridges hold the tourist center Guamá, the only one of its kind in the world, due to the type of aboriginal constructions. In Guamá, the Cuban famous sculptor Rita Longa built a life-size replica of a Taino village, showing the island's first inhabitants doing their daily chores. Pinar del Río, a major destination for nature tourism, holds enough attractions, ranging from sun and beach programs to trekking and excellent baths of medicinal water. Also in western Cuba are the world-famous coastal resort Varadero and Isla de la Juventud. The latter was discovered by Admiral Christopher Columbus in his second voyage to the so-called New World, and offers excellent choices for diving lovers. Coral reefs of singular beauty are found in the south coast of the isle, in addition to the attractions of the Punta Francés National Marine Park. Experts specially highlight the spectacular beauty of diving areas like Pared de Coral Negro (Black Coral Wall), Túnel del Amor (Tunnel of Love), Cueva Azul (Blue Cave), El Pasaje Escondido (The Hidden Passage), Cueva de los Sábalos (Cave of Shads), Piedra de Coral (Coral Stone), El Salto (The Waterfall), Ancla del Pirata (Pirate's Anchor), Paraíso de las Levisas (Paradise of Levisas) and Pequeño Reino (Small Kingdom).

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