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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Natural Alternatives for Tourism

Cuba, with an extensive catalog of excellent beaches, history and traditions, has as a relevant complement a unique nature that can meet the demand of holidaymakers.

Approaching nature from a beach or city also adds value to the tourist product, supported by the growing interest of visitors in knowing the reality in Cuba's countryside and enjoying an almost pristine environment that constantly calls for adventure.

In this context, Cienaga de Zapara (Zapata Swamp) stands out, with an area of 300,000 hectares that holds 900 vegetal species, as well as a fauna with 12 species of mammals, 160 of birds and 31 of reptiles.

According to experts, it is a place of low, marshy plains, located on deposits of peat and limestone, with hydromorphic soils and vegetation of natural savanna.

The space holds forests on limestones and badly drained soils, and mangroves, in addition to great extensions of soil that are generally flooded where swamp vegetation grows.

It is worth mentioning that the Zapata Swamp was declared a Biosphere Reserve and a true paradise for travelers, who wish to take photographs or prefer active rest.

Cayo Saetía. Crocodiles
Cayo Saetía Alligator

The region's attractions also include sites where nature enthusiasts can watch up to 165 species of birds, in addition to visiting Cueva de los Peces, the largest flooded cave in the archipelago, an ideal site for cave diving.

Meanwhile, to the south of the western provinces is the special municipality Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), which holds the so-called Cienaga de Lanier (Lanier Swamp), which is the third most important wetland in the country.

In addition, that region holds multiple samples that certify the presence, in the past, of a wild population of Cuban crocodiles, which has been reintroduced in the area for its preservation at a larger scale.

Cuba also has specimens of the so-called Rhombifer, which is endemic to the Caribbean island and is characterized by a solid body and thick and rough skin. It is an animal that is not very attractive to the eye; nevertheless it attracts visitors.

Its name comes precisely from the rhomboidal shape of its head, besides presenting an upright displacement and preference for freshwater sites, in remote regions and difficult to access.

Experts also report the existence on Isla de la Juventud of the so-called American Crocodile, which crawls and moves to salty waters during the breeding season, as well as a limited population of the Colombian caiman or babilla.

The marshes and swampy areas cover approximately 8.26 percent of the surface of Cuba and Isla de la Juventud, so it is essential to consider their use in the economic and ecological development plans of the country.

These areas, permanent or seasonal, can be used in agriculture, after total or partial desiccation and the regulation of their depth.

The list of such sites also includes Batabano, in Havana, and Buey and Birama, associated with the mouth of the Cauto River, just to mention some examples.

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