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Cuba’s Natural Wonders: Exploring the Ciénaga de Zapata

by MarketMillion

Cuba, a Caribbean island nation, is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna, vibrant culture, and rich history. One of its most significant natural treasures is the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park. This park, located in the northwestern province of Matanzas, offers visitors an opportunity to explore Cuba’s endemic flora and fauna. Also, read the Cubatravel guide here:

The Natural Treasure: Ciénaga de Zapata

The Ciénaga de Zapata National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 2000, is one of the most significant attractions in Cuba. Covering approximately 4,520 square kilometers, it extends across expansive acres of land and marine territory. The park is home to over 80 species of endemic plants and a broad range of species representative of Cuban wildlife.
Learn more about the best time to visit Cuba here:

Flora and Fauna

One of the park’s unique species is the Manjuarí, considered a living fossil that inhabits these areas. More than 250 types of bird fauna inhabit the marshlands of La Cienaga, including Cuba’s national bird, the Tocororo (Cuban Trogon), the Catey parrot, the Cuban Tody, and the world’s smallest bird – El Zunzun (bee hummingbird).

Crocodile Sanctuary

The park also houses a crocodile sanctuary, inaugurated in 1960 to slow the indiscriminate poaching of its kind. This crocodile farm is the second largest in the world and the vastest in Cuba, with more than 10,000 specimens to observe. This habitat provides sufficient space for preserving, protecting, and reproducing the Cuban and American crocodile species.

Exploring the Park

Visitors can explore the park through various activities, including diving, bird watching, and even crossing through the crocodile breeding grounds. Specialized guides are available for hire at the park’s entrance from 8 am to 4 pm. They can take you further than you imagined, showing you how to interpret bird songs, and getting you up close and personal with bird’s nests and their protectors. Learn more:

Visa Requirements

For those planning to visit Cuba, it’s important to note that a visa or a tourist card is required, depending on your country of residence. For US citizens, general licenses are available for various travel categories. Most foreign citizens need to obtain a tourist card to visit Cuba, which can be easily applied for through the Offvisa service. There are two types of tourist cards: the Standard (also known as the Cuba Green card) for travelers from countries other than the US, and the Specific (or Pink tourist card) for US citizens and travelers entering Cuba from the US. Both cards permit a 30-day single-entry stay in Cuba. Please remember that all travelers must have a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity to meet the requirements for traveling to Cuba.


The Ciénaga de Zapata National Park is naturally designed for those planning on experiencing something new and memorable on their next vacation. It’s the ideal place to escape from the modern world and breathe in the tropic’s natural sea breeze. So, apply for your visa and embark on an unforgettable journey to explore the natural wonders of Cuba.

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