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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Green Nature for Tourism

Cuba, a tourist destination par excellence in the Caribbean, offers its diversity to thousands of holidaymakers who visit the island every year.

From traditional sun and beach options to adventure tourism, the portfolio of offers in Cuba includes nature, heritage, ecotourism and bird watching.

In addition, a network of botanical gardens throughout the national geography is inserted in that environment, taking into account that the Cuban archipelago holds two percent of the world's flora.

The Cuban fauna is made up of some 16,500 described species, in a context where some zoological groups show an endemism of more than 90 percent, while the native flora consists of more than 6,300 varieties, in a multicolored panorama and the most diverse forms.

The list of scientific institutions includes the National Botanical Garden, the Cienfuegos Botanical Garden, the Juan Tomas Roig Experimental Station, the Fundamental Agricultural Research Institute and Capaynicu.

In addition, there are other botanical gardens in Holguin, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Pinar del Rio, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, the Soroa Orchid Garden and the Fern Garden in Santiago de Cuba.

Paraíso Beach.
River and mountains in Baracoa.
Monte Mar Ciénaga de Zapata, Matanzas

Cuba also has a well-preserved seabed and around 4,000 kilometers of coral reefs.

The archipelago holds six RAMSAR Sites, a certificate granted to the best preserved and protected wetlands, like the Maximo River in the eastern province of Camagüey and the Zapata Swamp in the center.

Cuba also has 11 National Parks, 12 Ecological Reserves, an Outstanding Natural Element, 12 Wildlife Refuges, two Protected Natural Landscapes and three Protected Areas of Managed Resources.

The list of environmental treasures includes 67,000 square kilometers of insular platform, 5,700 kilometers of coasts, more than 500 beaches, 500 sources of mineral-medicinal waters and 25 percent of forest area. The main one of these facilities is the National Botanical Garden of Cuba, with an exhibition area of 2,353 square meters and three pavilions where plants of approximately 600 species belonging to 250 genera of 90 families are exhibited.

However, the oldest botanical garden is in Cienfuegos and holds the most complete plant collections, and focuses on research on crop improvement and exports to third countries.

Founded in 1901, it has a collection of orchids with more than 400 species, 23 of bamboo and 280 palms, with species such as the elephant foot, walking tree and monkey trap.

On the other hand, the Soroa Orchid Garden, in western Cuba, gathers more than 20,000 specimens from different parts of the planet.

The first varieties of that plant arrived in Soroa in 1948, and were imported by the then owner of the place, Tomas Felipe Camacho, from Spain, who at the time was considered the person with the best knowledge about orchids in Cuba.

Santiago de Cuba's Fern Garden is in the east and has about 3,000 square meters dedicated to that species, with exponents from all Cuban regions, although there are 67 exotics representative from different areas of the world.

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