Cuba, a fast-growing tourist destination in the Caribbean region, offers a wide range of recreational options to meet the demands from thousands of foreign vacationers who visit the island nation every year.
Those looking for traditional sun and beach options can enjoy nature tourism, scuba diving and snorkeling, and bird watching activities.
In central Cuba, made up of Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara provinces, tourists can practice ecotourism and nautical sports, as well as learning about the island's history and traditions.
The city of Cienfuegos, also known as the Pearl of the South, offers an excellent tourist product, in which the Bay of Jagua – the venue of major nautical events – and small beaches on the Caribbean Sea are ideal sites for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Cienfuegos has a Botanical Garden, which was declared a national monument and which holds more than 1,450 species of plants, including one of the world's top ten collections of palm trees.
The development of Cuba's tourism industry has also involved the keys surrounding the main island, as major projects have been carried out on Villa Clara's northern keys, which boast several kilometers of excellent beaches and pristine nature.
A 48-kilometer-long causeway over the sea connects the largest island of the Cuban archipelago with the keys Santa María, Las Brujas, Ensenachos, Cobos, Majá, Fragoso, Francés, Las Picúas and Español de Adentro, among others.
In Villa Clara, nature lovers can visit the Hanabanilla Lake, the only reservoir in the mountains, into which the rivers Negro, Hanabanilla and Guanayara flow. It covers 14.9 square kilometers and is 30-40 meters deep. The Hanabanilla Lake is 364 meters above sea level, in the Escambray Mountain Range, and can store 300 million cubic meters of water.
There, vacationers can stay at Topes de Collantes, which is 800 meters above sea level and where they can visit the Caburní waterfall and the Caguanes archeological site and its large cavern system and flooded caves.
Sancti Spiritus province, which holds the first two villages founded by the Spanish conquistadors, is the perfect destination for those interested in Cuba's history and tourism.
The city was founded 486 years ago, in the early 1514, as Villa del Espíritu Santo (Holy Spirit). It was originally founded on the banks of the Tuinicú River, but it was moved to the banks of the Yayabo River in 1552.
Sancti Spiritus, the fourth of seven villages founded by the Spaniards in the 16th century, treasures architectural, historic, traditional, cultural and natural values, which create an attractive and singular combination.
The province also holds the former village of Trinidad, the third town founded by the Spaniards – also in 1514. The city boasts the best-preserved Spanish-colonial architectural complex in the continent.
Tourist options in central Cuba are surrounded by history and traditions that complement sun and beach offers in a nearly-pristine region.