Explore the Zapata Peninsula

Explore the Zapata Peninsula in Playa Larga

  • Explore the Zapata Peninsula | Day Trip

    Explore the Zapata Peninsula

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    The Zapata Peninsula is the biggest in Cuba, with 300 thousand hectares. It has a length from east to west of 175 km, and 58 km of width, The Peninsula National Park is has a vast ecological value. This is the largest wilderness area in Cuba, there you will be able to find and see dozens of endemic and migratory species, like the Cuban crocodile. There also you can see 900 species of native plants. This is a marshy ecosystem, it belongs to the Matanzas province. It has the most complex karst drainage system of the island. It is part of the best preserved green regions of Cuba. The landscape has low, marshy and semi-swamp plains, on peaty deposits and limestone rocks. With hydromorphic soils and vegetation of natural savannas of aesthetic and scenic value, such as the Treasure Lagoon and the Hatiguanico river basin. This is the main fluvial artery of the area, as well as Playa Larga and Playa Girón. The vegetation of the Ciénaga de Zapata forms one of the most important green areas of Cuba and, due to the species of flora and fauna that lives there, represents a place of world interest.

  • Name: Brenda

    Country: Canada

    Ciénaga de Zapata, considered a Biosphere Preserve and officially declared RAMSAR Site, is for sure one of the best places of the Island regarding beauty, biodiversity and historical values. Located to the southern coastline at Matanzas city,at 180 km to the south of Havana city,it is also the major humid area of the insular Caribbean, and a natural fragile ecosystems reservoir. With 4 520 km,it is the place of the Parque Nacional de Ciénaga de Zapata, accessible by road. Its inhabitant number is around nine thousand, with a density of barely six per Km2, the lowest in Cuba. Sea-freatic–tectonic caves area a special type of cave very abundant here, open all the long of a 70 km crack between the Bay of Pigs and Cienfuegos bay. In their surface there are semicircular lakes, which allow the access to flooded galleries, some of which serve as course for underground rivers. Another attraction is the Laguna del tesoro (treasure lake), with more than 4 m of average depth and almost 16 km of surface, which make it one of the major fresh water mirrors of the Island. According to an old legend, in the XIX century, when Spaniards went deep into that area, the first local inhabitants, being frightened, threw their riches to the water, which originated the name of the lake. Villa Guamá is also located here, and it is one of the most famous and visited of The Ciénaga de Zapata, due to its natural beauty and colorful architecture. There, several sculptures of Rita Longa recreate the daily activities practiced by the first local inhabitants. There is also a peculiar flora, found under the water, floating over it and by the shore. Among its fauna, we find biajacas, trouts, the cebrita cubana (Cuban zebra), the cabezota, as well as turtles and bullfrogs. Manjuari, a living fossil found in the access channels, and the manati, another traditional Cuban species, are an example of the local preservation tasks carried out. All of these reasons have turned this area into a place more and more known and preferred by ecology, sport and recreational fishing lovers. In the same way,in the Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, considered one of the most important Cuban birds hibernation centers, there are important natural areas. An example of this are the Salinas de Brito, a relevant preserve for aquatic birds like sevillas,herons, flamingos and cranes, and ideal for tourism of observation. On winter, more than 65 bird species coincide here, while in the Ciénaga de Zapata are 16 types of reptile, among them the Cuban cocrodile, which can be observed at the local breeding farm. A wide eco-tourist offer and an efficient specialized guide and equipments service are available for visitors to be in direct contact with nature.

    Brenda

    Name: Brown

    Country: UK

    This trip offers an extremely flexible itinerary and the right to roam (with a qualified park ornithologist) around a number of different sites, including the Reserva de Bermejas . Among 18 species of endemic bird found here you can see prized ferminins, cabreritos and gallinuelas de Santo Tomás – found only on the Península de Zapata.

    Brown

    Name: Alain

    Country: Canada

    Zapata Swamp (Spanish: Ciénaga de Zapata, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsjenaɣa ðe saˈpata]) is located on the Zapata Peninsula in the southern Matanzas province of Cuba. It is located less than 150 kilometres (93 mi) southeast of Havana. Ciénaga de Zapata represents also a municipality, the largest one of Cuba with 4,162 km2. Species and preservation. Within the Zapata Swamp are over 900 autochthonous plant species, 175 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles and over 1000 species of invertebrates. Some of the most notable are local endemics to Cuba, for birds it would include the Zapata Wren, Zapata Rail, and the Zapata Sparrow. The Zapata Swamp is also visited by 65 species of birds during their migration pattern from North America through the Caribbean to South America. Zapata is also known for the local endemic Cuban Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) which are restricted to the Zapata Swamp and are being reintroduced to the nearby Lanier Swamp on the Isle of Youth (Spanish: Isla de la Juventud Within the Zapata Swamp are numerous areas designated for environmental preservation, such as Zapata Swamp Natural Reserve and Las Salinas wildlife sanctuary, which is part of the larger Zapata Biosphere Reserve (IUCN category VI) which in total is over 6,000 km² and the largest protected area, not only in Cuba, but also the Caribbean. The swamp is not only known for its size but also for being the best preserved wetlands in all of the Antilles, designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971. In mid-2001 an additional 4,520 km2 were declared a Ramsar Site in mid-2001.

    Alain