"Areas of Natural Interest (Continuation...)" Havana Travelogue by havanaivan
Havana Travel Guide: 1,591 reviews and 3,654 photos
Archipiélago de los Jardines de la Reina. Venezuela. Ciego de Avila
This group of cays is located to the south of the Province of Ciego de Avila and is noticeable for the abundance of Coral Reefs, with some sandy beaches, but a small place in general. Its sea bottoms have great attractions for the lovers of sightseeing diving, due to its beauty and the existence of a valuable fauna.
Pinares de Mayarí. Mayarí. Holguín
This plateau is located in Pinares de Mayarí, province of Holguín, and isolated in the altiplano of Nipe with 5 340 hectares. The most important attraction of the park is the contrast of its tropical vegetation with the dense forests of pines, with great groups of plant endemism and an extensive variety of the ornithofauna. To discover the places of incredible beauty that exist in this area, it is recommended that you go on a walk tour, where naturalists will feel very comfortable while visiting archeological sites, waterfalls that form impressive cascades by falling on the altiplano and the beautiful views of Nipe Harbor, the largest one in Cuba.
Sierra del Cristal. Undefined. Holguín
It is located in Sierra del Cristal range, to the northeast of the eastern region and covers an area of 16 010 hectares. It was the first protected area ever declared in Cuba, in 1930. The region is covered by varied vegetation with outstanding pine plantations and rain forests. It constitutes one of the largest biodiversity fields of the country.
Sierra Maestra. Niquero. Granma
This Park is located at the western end of the Sierra Maestra mountain range. It covers an area of 25 764 hectares and contains, as its most important attraction, one of the most relevant systems of sea terraces in the country, with vertical hills and cliffs that rise very high and have a marked esthetic value. In general the park can be considered an enormous botanical garden, where you will be able to find ancient arborescent ferns and wonderful orchids that cover the trunks of centennial trees. The attractive landscapes with cascades, water reservoirs and a great diversity of fauna turn place into a must-see site for naturalists.
Baconao. Santiago de Cuba. Santiago de Cuba
This Reserve of the Biosphere outstands in the eastern region of the mountain range of Sierra Maestra. It covers 80 000 hectares that stand right between the Sierra Maestra and the Caribbean Sea, from the outskirts of the city of Santiago de Cuba to the Lagoon of Baconao. Its flora and fauna are very varied and have high endemism in its flora and ornithofauna. Besides the natural beauty, which includes dense vegetation with outstanding arborescent ferns and excellent beaches for diving. Baconao offers multiple attractions for visitors: game park, Museum of Sciences, Aquarium and Dolphin Show, the Garden of Cactuses; and the Prehistoric Valley, which shows natural size stone sculptures representing the fauna that existed in the planet millions of years ago. The lagoon of Baconao is an ideal place for the observation of birds, horseback riding and boat tours. The existing touristic infrastructure includes hotels and villas where excursions and long walks can be organized, allowing you to climb surrounding mountains and to access different diving facilities.
La Gran Piedra. Santiago de Cuba. Santiago de Cuba
With only 4 300 hectares, this is the smallest park located in the Sierra Maestra Mountain Range; its margins limit with the mountains that surround the city of Santiago de Cuba. Its most important attraction is La Gran Piedra (The Great Stone), an enormous rock that crowns and gives a name to this mountain. Its flora has a high degree of endemism, with outstanding arborescent ferns and wild orchids, favored by the warm climate and the high relative humidity prevailing in the area. The fauna is varied, with the prevalence of autochthonous species of the ornithofauna. Horseback rides and excursions, as well as the climbing of La Gran Piedra, are the best ways to get acquainted with the beauty of this park.
Sierra Maestra. Guamá. Santiago de Cuba
It is located in the mountain range of Sierra Maestra and covers an area of 17 450 hectares of the eastern provinces. This park treasures the highest mountains in Cuba: Pico Real del Turquino with 1 974 meters above sea level, Pico Suecia with 1 734, and Pico Cuba with 1 872. Climbing any of theses peaks is an exciting and unique experience that will enable excursionists to contact the wild nature of the area, whose fauna and plant formations are very well preserved.
It covers the provinces of Guantánamo and Holguín, in the northeastern region of the country, within an area that was declared Reserve of the Biosphere and known as Cuchillas del Toa (Blades). The area hosts more than 100 exclusive species of plants over 59 770 hectares. The landscapes of the area are typical and at the same time unique in the country, showing contrasts between the mountains of Sagua-Baracoa, with the vegetation of tropical humid forests. On the northern coast prevail the gray sand beaches, pocket bays and wide river outlets. 64 species of birds have been reported in its fauna, out of which 12 are endemic, which makes this area very appropriate for their observation. The region represents the last habitat of the Royal Woodpecker, and among mammals, one of the last ones for Almiques. Here we can also find one of the most beautiful species of snails in the world: the Polymita. Out of all the possible excursions in the area, the most interesting one is climbing to the top of El Yunque de Baracoa (The Flat Top Mountain of Baracoa), declared National Monument and symbol of the city of Baracoa, considered and ecological island that called the attention of Admiral Christopher Columbus in his first trip to the Americas, serving as an orientation feature due to its unusual characteristics (flat topped). This is the region of the country where the most precipitations occur, reason why we find her the most plentiful river in Cuba: Toa River, wading through it is a true excursion, as well as visiting its branches and later on go down in “cayucos”.
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