With a marvellous and provocative environment you will find the Zapata Peninsula, one of the country’s most important ecosystems and the most extensive wetland in the Caribbean. Located in the southern part of the province of Matanzas, it’s the best conserved green area on the island, National Park with 70 000 hectares of extensive, virgin and privileged landscape that allows a close contact with nature full of attractions and options.
Zapata Peninsula is characterized by having a rich habitat with exceptional flora and fauna, with incalculable ecological value. In its ecosystem what dominate are the swamp glass, mangrove and marabou in addition to approximately 900 species of flora. There are 31 existing reptiles, 12 mammals and 171 bird species: like the tocororo, royal herons, parrots and even the small humming bird, the smaller bird on earth. In its canals there well conserved examples of manatí, the endemic manjuarí which is a fossil fish of the Mesozoic era covered by bone scales.
There are flat snout crocodiles living in the lagoons, the Rhombífer, only in Cuba, and the pointed snout crocodile Acutus that also live in the swampy coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, both of impressive size. There is a farm of the two species in the Boca which is the fluvial access of the Tesoro Lagoon, place full of legends that dates to the time of the indigenous people that lived in the surrounding areas. Also in the area you may walk on trail, to observe exotic forest and flowers, do bird watching particularly at Las Salinas reservoir among many other attractions.
It is an special area for diving not only for their beautiful sea bottom, submarine caves as well as diversity of fish but also because the diving could be practiced all year around due to its geographical position which is well protected from the effects of the Cold North Front during the winter time.
While you are there, you must visit the Guamá Tourism Center which is an area imitating a typical Taíno village with small huts connected to bridges. The Park is ideal for walking hills, bird watching, tracking, and hiking, boat rides among other water or land sports.
By road you will clash with the famous Bay of Pigs, full of history and where you can also find Playa Larga and Playa Giron. There a several monuments in the surrounding areas that recall the US backed mercenary invasion in April of 1961 and the Museum of Giron where you can take a look at the history and details of this historic event.
Playa Larga is a beautiful beach perfect for bird watching. From there you can go to Cayo Largo del Sur by boat. You can find Playa Giron some 30 kilometers away where there are abundant cenotes which are caves with interesting underground rock formation and is a marvellous world to explore for diving lovers. Not far you can find Caleta Buena where you can find corals, sponges and gorgonians.
The region has a scientific center for the preservation of ecosystems which in addition to its scientific work is an interpretative center that orientates, informs and guides the public on the peculiarities of the area. This center receives the cooperation of prestigious international organizations like UNESCO, which has joint projects with Cuba.