Reviews

Simply Perfection

Ocean: Absolutely beautiful, no words can explain, I didn't want to leave. Food: Seriously, for all those who are complaining about Cuba, did you ..

“Fantastic hotel getaway!!”

The hotel has a charming, old world atmosphere with extremely friendly and courteous staff. All are friendly and do all they can to make you welcomed ..

Post your review

Zapata National Park

Zapata National Park
The Zapata National Park was declared a world biosphere preserve in 2000 and a Ramsar site in 2001.  Located on the peninsula of the same name, the park covers an area of over 1930 square miles (5000 square kilometers) and is the largest, best-preserved wetlands in the Caribbean islands.  It is a national, regional and world natural preserve, with fragile ecosystems and important natural resources.
The land is flat and contains the basins of the Hatiguanico and Hanábana Rivers.  The Hanábana empties into Laguna del Tesoro, one of the largest lakes in the country, which features a restored Taino Indian village (with life-size statues of the Indians engaging in their everyday activities) on a series of islets.  The Tainos were one of the three groups of Indians who lived in Cuba prior to the Spanish Conquest.  The coast contains flooded caves and cenotes of extraordinary beauty.

The area is outstanding for the great diversity of its ecosystems, in which more than 1000 species of plants—130 of which are endemic to Cuba and 5 of which are locally endemic—have been identified.  Trees that grow in swampy and grassy areas and mangrove thickets predominate.

The fauna includes 37 species of reptiles and 13 kinds of amphibians.  The endemic ones include Cuban Crocodiles (Crocodylus rhombifer), which have the most restricted habitat in the world.  An internationally-recognized scientific breeding center here promotes their protection and development.
 
There are many marine and freshwater fish in the area, including Manjuaríes (Atractosteus tristoechus), which are considered to be living fossils because of the primitive nature of their bodies.  However, because of the diversity of ecosystems, birds are the most prolific species in the area.  Sixty-five percent (170 species) of the 354 species of birds reported in Cuba can be found here.  As a result, bird-watching is extremely popular among tourists.

Such species as Parrots (Amazona leucocephala); Cuban Parakeets (Aratinga euops); Zapata Sparrows (Torreornis inexpectata); and Bee Hummingbirds (Mellisuga helenae), which are an endangered species, build their nests here, as do two locally endemic species: Zapata Rails (Cyanolimnas cerverai) and Zapata Wrens (Ferminia cerverai).  You can also see groups of Roseate Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber).  Moreover, the Zapata Peninsula is a favorite stopping place for many migratory birds, both land and sea.

Many pre-Columbian archaeological remains have been found on the Zapata Peninsula, and the region’s history also includes the narrow channels that early inhabitants dug to facilitate river travel and the Bay of Pigs Museum at Girón Beach, whose exhibits are related to the 1961 mercenary invasion.

Other Varadero guides categories