Wildlife watching in Cuba

Cuban Emerald Hummingbird, photo by Dominic Sherony on Flickr

As a travel destination, Cuba is most famous for its fascinating culture, dazzling colonial towns, great atmosphere and pristine beaches. But travelers who like to look on the wilder side of life will also find a lot to interest them in Cuba. The Caribbean has always been a great destination for those interested in nature and wildlife, and Cuba is no exception. This island has one of the richest and most abundant wildlife in the Caribbean, and whether you like to keep an eye out for birds or larger animals, Cuba’s nature reserves and national parks will offer you plenty to see. Here are some tips on wildlife watching in Cuba, in case you were wondering what you can find there.

The wildlife

Flamingoes, photo by Martin Pettitt on Flickr

There are several interesting and rare species that you can encounter in Cuba, and one of the cutest and most elusive ones is the bee hummingbird, believed to be the smallest bird in the world. This tiny bird is found in many parts of Cuba, in forests and in fields, looking for delicious nectar. Ask locals where you can find the ‘zunzun’, as they call it. Another interesting winged species in Cuba is the butterfly bat, the smallest bat in the world, which lives in Cuba’s caves. The bat is no larger than a big butterfly, and you have to have a sharp eyesight to glimpse it in the evening when it goes off hunting for bugs. Among the larger animals that you can see in Cuba is the Caribbean flamingo, with its distinctive pink plumage, which gather is colonies with as many as a thousand members. Of course, there are many other species in Cuba, from frogs to lizards, fish and insects.

Where to find wildlife

Cuban crocodile, photo by wickedmrb on Flickr

Wildlife watching in Cuba is possible in every corner of the main island and the outlying islands. The major national parks of the country, like Alejandro de Humbolt National Park, or Caguanes National Park, are great for wildlife watching expeditions. However, there are lots of smaller nature reserves where there is an abundance of fascinating species. Guanahacabibes Biosphere Reserve has over 600 species of plants and animals as well as breathtaking landscapes. Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve is home to the world’s smallest frog, and over a hundred bird species, and Buenavista Biosphere Reserve has lots of caves (and hence bats), and mangrove forests where aquatic birds live. The swampy Peninsula de Zapata Biosphere Reserve is the place where you can find the impressive Cuban crocodile, as well as 175 bird species. Baconao Biosphere Reserve is one of the hotspots of wildlife watching in Cuba, where you can find hundreds of indigenous species including the endangered hot-cave bat.



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