Cayo Saetía: Fantastic Tripping Nature
By: Dania Marrero Photos Juan Pablo Carreras and Amauris Betancourt
Saetía Key is a dream place, a world not even dreamed of to visit in Cuba, enfolding a fantastic terrain in only 42 square kilometers.
On safari in its abundant vegetation – over 65 percent is forest - is a feast for the senses, especially at dawn or dusk, when the semi-wild animals that live there begin or end their day. An uninhabited island in Nipe Bay, off the northern coast of Cuba, Cayo Saetía belongs to Mayarí municipality in eastern Holguin Province; it is part of the Island's protected national park system.
Perhaps the most unusual sight there is the herds of exotic camels and zebras brought from Africa, which have now acclimated to the point where their young have scattered throughout their new habitat.
An encounter with the environment saetiano holds countless surprises, from appreciating authentic red and blue macaws in flight, and Cuba's national bird, the Tocororo, seen best at daybreak, to catching sight of the fleet antelope - especially the large Nilgay (blue bull antelope) or the swift blackbuck antelope with their long twisted horns.
You can also see various buffalo - water and mud - including the unique ancales, born in Saetía and the most impressive of the species for their size and sharp straight weapon-like horns.as the small, unspoiled beaches dotting the key. It runs several excursions to Saetía by land and by sea, the latter on a catamaran over breathtakingly beautiful Nipe Bay.
The cayo can also be visited for a day, or for overnight in the villa with its 12 cabanas, superior and standard rooms, satellite TV, air conditioning, minibar and other amenities of modern life - a change from the wild existence of the key's usual residents. The Cayo Saetía day tours end with a picnic menu that includes venison, antelope, wild boar and buffalo, which have managed to significantly multiply in the area.
It is even reported that some of the macaws fly a fair distance to visit a woman in the village of Cabal (Nicaro), who apparently serves them food on her balcony. As the return flight is considerable, some of these winged tourists linger a bit longer to do a turn about observation of people.