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Ecology, Leisure and Tourism in Cuba
The Cuban archipelago, which boasts exuberant nature, benefits from that wealth in the design of tourist programs for nature lovers.

In western Matanzas province, vacationers can visit the Zapata Swamp, which is part of the Montemar Grand Natural Park. It is one of the most attractive tourist options in the region, in addition to being a natural paradise for ecological tourists.

White-sand beaches, exotic forests, rivers, lakes, flooded caverns, natural pools, pristine areas and typical swamp savannas are a safe haven for 30 percent of Cuba's native fauna.

The geographic center of the region is Playa Larga, a 400-meter-long beach of fine sand and crystal-clear water, sea bottoms covered by corals and several ecological trails, including the International Bird-Watching Center, where vacationers can fully enjoy the island's pristine nature.

In Cuba's westernmost province, Pinar del Río, foreign tourists can also enjoy the island's breathtakingly beautiful nature.

As Cuba's conquest began in the east, the western region became one of the Spanish conquistadors' last options, so its endemic flora and fauna remained well preserved.

In addition to fertile soils for agriculture, mining resources (copper and gold) and the world-famous Havana cigars, Pinar del Río also boasts one of the most valuable treasures in its natural environment, the attractive Viñales Valley, which was declared a Cultural Landscape and Humankind's Heritage.

Large round-top hills called mogotes give Viñales a special touch. On one of those peculiar hills, called Dos Hermanos (Two Brothers), the Mural of Prehistory, which depicts the evolution of live organisms, was painted.

Another site of interest for vacationers is the region's cavern system, the largest in the country, where the 45-kilometer-long Santo Tomás cave, the third largest cave in Latin America, stands out.

Some 100 kilometers off Havana's southern coast is Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), which is surrounded by legends, adventures and traditions, in addition to exuberant nature and many tourist attractions.

In Punta del Este, vacationers can visit several caves decorated with paintings made by Cuban aborigines, especially the group known as Guayabo Blanco, of the Siboney culture.

Many experts have described the place as the Sistine Chapel of cave painting in the insular Caribbean region, where visitors can see the lunar calendar, which consists of 56 concentric circles (in red and black) and the nine planets of the solar system.


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