Cuba, a tourist destination par excellence in the Caribbean, includes among its newest leisure options, those related to the enjoyment of the country’s natural richness and nautical activities.
The Cuban archipelago, traditionally known for its sun and beach options, comprises over 70,000 kilometers of an island shelf which is available for diving, as well as about 5,000 kilometers of coastline bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Likewise, close to 6,500 varieties of fish, crustaceans, sponges and mollusks; accompanied by several coral species, make up one of the best preserved marine ecosystems in the region.
About three dozen specialized diving centers are distributed throughout the country, including facilities for beginners’ courses as well as for diving in the coral reefs and caverns; always taking into account the established international standards for such activity.
Diving activities are also favored by an average water temperature above 24 degree Celsius and a horizontal visibility beyond 30 meters.
The Cuban archipelago also has the world’s second largest coral reef, covering about 400 kilometers along Sabinal, Guajaba, Romano and Cruz keys; the reef is closer to the coastline in the Santa Lucía area, where a fascinating world comprising about 200 sponge species, 500 fish species and even the remains of 27 sunken ships, can be enjoyed.
Weather conditions in the country, surrounded by warm waters, also benefit diving as a complement of traditional tourism by exhibiting natural beauties which can only be observed when diving into the depths.
Bird-watching programs also complement leisure options in the island, with more than 350 species which have their habitat in the islets and keys of the archipelago, where marine birds and those from forest areas stand out with a high level of endemism.
The geographical location of the Cuban archipelago, also called the key to the gulf, constitutes an inevitable stop for migratory birds in search of food and shelter, during their long distance routes from North America to the south, and back.
The Cuban avifauna includes, among other particular birds, the bee hummingbird, which can be found in isolated woods and it is regarded as the smallest bird in the world, with hardly 60 millimeters in length; the bee hummingbird is also known by its horizontal flying position, when licking nectar form the flowers.
Another particular bird in Cuba is the parrot, with bright and colorful feathers and mainly found in areas like the Ciénaga de Zapata (the largest swamp in Cuba), the Isle of Youth and the Guamuhaya mountain range in central Cuba.
The origin of parrots in Cuba goes back thousands of years; this type of bird is easy to train, can imitate human voice and they get to learn quite a few words.
Dozens of places throughout the country provide vacationers with the possibility of enjoying the splendor of the most beautiful specimens of Cuban avifauna, from birds endemic to the country to those arriving during the migratory season, every year.