The most beautiful landscapes in Cuba
BY ROBERTO F. CAMPOS / PHOTOS: JOSÉ (TITO) MERIÑO, , ROBERTO MOREJÓN & JULIO LARRAMENDI
While it is true that making a list of Cuba’s most beautiful landscapes is truly difficult because of the variety and amount of scenery, it is possible to point out those that have been most attractive to visitors.
Cuba has many wonders, already familiar to both foreign and local tourists, and their opinions count for the guides, as they do in this proposal.
It is worth noting that within the landscape of this archipelago, there are 14 national parks, six biosphere reserves, six Ramsar sites, two World Natural Heritage Sites, and 28 Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
In these recommendations, we have taken into account environmental protection, natural beauty and color, possibilities of visits, attractions and programs. As far as nature trips, one can consider Baracoa, in the far east of Cuba, and the Escambray mountain range, in the center of the country, as the most significant and beautiful, for their fantastic landscape and greenery.
On the other hand, the variety in the western province of Pinar del Río makes for very interesting trails, where adventure and ecotourism are mixed.
The urban landscape of Old Havana cannot be ignored, which together with the Varadero beach resort are the two most visited recreational centers and the one with the greatest number of travelers.
We will order the list from the geographical point of view, from west to east, without hierarchy.
Pinar del RíoPinar del Río is a magical region. Ideal for excursions in nature, it is an area where green stands out above any other color.
For Cubans, besides being the most western province of the island, it symbolizes the homeland of the best tobacco in the world, where the leaves are harvested for the wrapper of the Habanos cigars, a task carried out with passion by the expert farmers of this true natural jewel.
A first stop could well be Cayo Levisa, 27 kilometers from La Palma, in the north of Pinar del Río. To reach this spot three nautical miles from the mainland, one must set out from the Palma Rubia pier. Once at Cayo Levisa the traveler finds four kilometers of virgin beach of fine white sand bathed by the Atlantic.
Magic HavanaOfficially founded in 1519 in the shade of a leafy ceiba tree, Havana suddenly became a very cosmopolitan city, full of travelers from all over the world eager to know it in depth.
The Villa of San Cristóbal de La Habana, as originally known, was founded on November 16 on the shores of Puerto Carenas, after an initial settlement on the southern coast of the country in 1515.
It covers 732 square kilometers and has 15 municipalities, of which nine are totally urban; 4.5 square kilometers correspond to the old section known as La Habana Vieja, the most interesting and, of those, 2.5 square kilometers are the most visited.
VaraderoThis is the most beautiful beach on the island, which stands out in international lists relating to sun and beach. Varadero is the most important recreational center in Cuba.
Located about 140 kilometers east of Havana, the country’s capital, it always appears as a privileged place because of its transparent waters and very fine white sand.
Ciénaga de ZapataOne of the most surprising Cuba trips is to the Ciénaga de Zapata, an important wetland, with a diverse range of flora and fauna, a truly Cuban experience for travelers looking for adventure and an active break.
This is one of the most interesting places in Cuba, in the southwestern region of the island, with an exceptional panorama of various wetland ecosystems.
Cayo Largo del SurCayo Largo del Sur was once a remote corner of Cuba. Endowed with a particular coloring, its beaches and hideaways are an ideal space for tourism and environmental protection.
Located in the southwestern part of Cuba, it has history, magic and a future ahead of it that tourism authorities want to promote, especially for attractions such as underwater photography, tours and the most active vacations possible.
EscambrayThis is a truly wonderful place, with a particularly cool climate in the midst of the ever-present heat of Cuba.
TrinidadIt is a particularly interesting city, especially for those who want to know sites linked to Cuban culture, since it is one of the places where colonial architecture is best preserved. The old part of the town impresses with its streets covered with river stones, effectively recreating the aged look and allowing imagination to take a journey back in time.
On December 23, 1413, on the way to the Bahía de Jagua, the Adelantado Diego Velázquez de Cuellar arrived at the future settlement of the Santísima Trinidad. He later witnessed, together with 20 of his men, the first mass of this site officiated by Fray Juan de Tesín, his chaplain.
Jardines del ReyCuban nature has truly wonderful places, protected and ready for the demanding traveler. A real feast for the senses and for an active vacation.
It includes the paradise of Cuban geography which is Cayo Coco, which remains the main attraction of tourists from all over the world, a point emphasized by tourism Escambray. professionals who promote the island as a destination.
Jardines de la ReinaOne of the ideal places for diving is found in the southern region of the Cuban east, especially in Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey provinces, with excellent marine scenery.
It is the Jardines de la Reina National Park, the largest on the island in terms of sea area, with 2,170 square kilometers. It is made up of the archipelago of the same name and the waters that surround it.
Pico TurquinoThe eastern region of Cuba has many charms. From the urban point of view, there is the city of Santiago de Cuba, which was once the capital of the island, but the greatest attraction is its natural landscape. Pico Turquino is the highest point in Cuba, at 1,974 meters above sea level, and stands in the center of the Sierra Maestra, the largest mountain range in the nation.
BaracoaBelonging to the province of Guantanamo, Baracoa sits by the sea and stands out for its natural beauty. Known as the First City of Cuba for being the first village established by the Spanish conquerors on the island, Baracoa is a marvel of colors and adventures. It is recognized as a must-see place to visit.
Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa is its name, with urban constructions that cover a small space surrounded by a lot of dramatic coast, foliage, mountains and rivers.
The Taino Indians (descendants of the Ruacas or Arauacos) were the local inhabitants when Admiral Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, and on that same voyage of discovery, when he set foot on the island for the second time, he did it here.