Top natural jewels in Santiago de Cuba
Cuba is a magnificent country, being home to hundreds of natural jewels, ranging from national parks to nature reserves, from mountains to waterfalls, from bays to beaches and so on. I have already presented you many natural attractions of Cuba in some of the previous articles.
The following guide will contain the top natural jewels in Santiago de Cuba. Perhaps the best-known natural jewel of the province is the Baconao Biosphere Reserve. Other natural attractions are the following: the Pico Turquino National Park, El Saltón, the Cordillera Gran Piedra and so on. As you can see, there are numerous visitor attractions which can be very attractive for nature-lovers. Visiting any of these will surely make a great experience.
Baconao Biosphere Reserve
Situated about 20 km from the provincial capital, the city of Santiago de Cuba, the Baconao Biosphere Reserve is an astonishing visitor attraction of the province. Occupying a surface of about 80.000 hectares, the park is home to almost 1.800 species of animals and over 900 species of animals. There are numerous highlights within the park, including the followings: the Prehistoric Valley, the Great Rock (Gran Piedra), the Botanical Garden, the Baconao Lagoon, the Museum of History of Terrestrial Transport, the Taino Village Reconstruction, an aquarium and others. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is extremely popular among tourists. Families with little children will surely enjoy it, as the Prehistoric Valley presents life-size dinosaur models.
Pico Turquino National Park
The fantastic national park was named after the highest peak of the country, the Pico Turquino. The peak (1.975 m) makes part of the Sierra Maestra Mountains. The national park was established in 1980. Since then it has become a popular natural attraction of Cuba, being one of the top natural jewels of Santiago de Cuba Province. Besides this peak, the park also includes numerous other mountains like the Pico Real and the Pico Cuba. Climbing up to the top of the Pico Turquino is with no doubt a fantastic experience.
The highest waterfall of the country can be found in the picturesque mountain resort named El Saltón. It is a paradise for those who prefer ecotourism. Visitors can practice numerous activities here, including birdwatching, horseback riding, hiking, trekking and so on. The major attractions of this mountainous area still remain the breathtaking waterfalls.
Cordillera Gran Piedra
As one of the most beautiful natural jewels of Santiago de Cuba Province, the Cordillera Gran Piedra is characterized by the greatest biodiversity of the Cuban mountains. There are several endemic species of animals and plants living here. Other highlights of the area are the fascinating historic French coffee settlement ruins.