Cuba’s Ciénaga de Zapata National Park is a wonderland for untamed life. Find a pink wrap of flamingos, scan for brilliant endemic winged animals and swim among the coral in the Bay of Pigs.
Ciénaga de Zapata National Park is a tremendous wetland around 2 hours south of Havana. It includes level muggy prairies, thick mangrove timberlands, staggering coral reefs, submerged gulches and tremendous wetlands. This wonderful piece of Cuba underpins a changed eco-framework which is home to a wealth of untamed life.
A huge number of flamingos carve a wrap of pink through mangrove-confined lakes. Coral in the Bay of Pigs give a dazzling area to swimming with bright fish. In any matter, the genuine drawcard of Ciénaga de Zapata is the birdwatching openings. The national park is home to an astounding 28 winged creatures that must be found in Cuba.
With a huge swath of visits accessible, it tends to be difficult to tell which excursion is directly for you. Along these lines, here’s a breakdown on the most proficient method to visit Ciénaga de Zapata National Park.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NATIONAL PARK
Ciénaga de Zapata National Park spreads over the south of the Matanzas area in Cuba, from Península de Zapata in the west, through Playa Larga and onto Playa Girón in the east. The recreation center parts into three particular kinds of eco-framework.
1/To the east of Playa Larga is Refugio de Fauna Bermejas. This is a forested zone where numerous winged animals endemic to Cuba can be spotted fluttering through the trees. It’s home to the splendidly hued Cuban tocororo (Cuba’s national feathered creature); the little honey bee hummingbird (the littlest winged animal on the planet); the Cuban tody; the Cuban parrot; and the hesitant loner, the Cuban dwarf owl.
2/To the west of Playa Larga is the Península de Zapata. This is a far reaching region of marshy wetlands where tremendous quantities of flamingos, pelicans and other transitory waterfowl rest and feed in its rich waters.
3/Just off the southern area is the Bay of Pigs reef. Here you can swim into the Caribbean waters and quest for a wide assortment of brilliant fish (and the odd depressed vessel) that dwell in the influencing coral.
REFUGIO DE FAUNA BERMEJAS
Arranged east of Playa Larga and north of Playa Girón, Refugio de Fauna Bermejas is the spot to seek birdwatching. The territory is home to an incredible 28 fowls that must be found in Cuba. While some of them are tricky, contingent upon the season you visit, it’s normal to spot in any event 10 to 15 brilliant feathered animals.
There are 2 kinds of visits accessible into Refugio de Fauna Bermejas.
The first is an unadulterated flying creature watching visit. This will leave around dawn and walk around the forested territory of the recreation center for around 3 hours. A decent guide will know where the feathered creatures home and will have birdsong accounts to bring them for photograph openings. On our visit we saw 11 distinct species.
The second kind of visit investigates cenotes encompassed by timberland. This course is called Sendero Enigma de las Rocas and is only a couple of kilometers north west of Playa Girón. On this visit you will see flying creatures, fish, turtles, reptiles, chameleons and crabs. You may likewise get taken into a cavern with bats. Towards the end, you’ll have the chance to swim in the cenotes.
The two visits are 15 CUC per individual barring transportation. On the off chance that you don’t have your own vehicle, you’ll have to orchestrate your own taxi. Your casa specific host will likewise have the option to orchestrate a colectivo for you. There are more subtleties on booking these visits beneath.
CIÉNAGA DE ZAPATA WETLANDS
Toward the north and west of Playa Larga lies the far reaching Península de Zapata wetlands. Here thick backwoods, cut by streams, prompts mangrove-bordered beach front tidal ponds. This is the spot to locate the intermittent crocodile, masses of flamingos and different other waterfowl.
There are various visits you can take.
The most effortless is to take off to Laguna de las Salinas. This is a 22km drive from Playa Larga through woodland and marsh to a beach front tidal pond where it is conceivable to spot a huge number of flamingos, pelicans, and other transient waterfowl. Various short teases in the territory can be masterminded from Ciénaga de Zapata National Park Office in Playa Larga. This outing can be stretched out (at an additional expense) to incorporate a vessel ride into the tidal pond and beach front waters.
Another choice is to take one of the numerous visits accessible along the Rio Hatiguanico. One leaves from the north of the recreation center and incorporates a vessel ride along the stream. Another leaves from Santo Tómas in the west and utilizations a blend of teasing and drifting relying upon conditions.
All the visits run from 15 to 20 CUC per individual yet again avoid transport. In this way, on the off chance that you don’t have your own vehicle transportation to Rio Hatiguanico can include a lot of time and cost – check costs with your casa specific host.
Laguna de las Salinas is the nearest and least expensive alternative.
BAY OF PIGS SNORKELING AND DIVING
Cuba’s Ciénaga de Zapata National Park extends south into the ocean to an astounding coral reef. The most open piece of the reef is a short separation seaward between Playa Larga and Playa Girón in the Bay of Pigs. Here you can essentially swim seaward with a swimming veil or jumping hardware and recognize the many fish that call this spot home.
The reef comprises of hard coral slopes spread over the sandy ocean bottom. The coral is commonly boring, aside from the odd segment of brilliant leaves. In any matter, perceivability can be strikingly acceptable, so you can see a lot of profound coral and a prices of fish. In the event that you are fortunate you may get a multitude of barracuda.
There are various spots where you can jump or snorkel in the Bay of Pigs directly from the coast. Punta Perdiz and Playa El Tanque offer generally shallow jumps. Cueva de los Peces (Cave of Fishes) has a cenote (sinkhole) on the inland roadside for some difficult plunging through a cavern framework – the ideal spot on the off chance that you as of now have your jump accreditation. There is likewise a decent bit of reef on the beach front side. Here the reef drops somewhat more profound and more extreme than at different areas, bringing about better quality coral and more fish. There is likewise a little wreck.
On the off chance that you just go to one spot in the Bay of Pigs, this is the one.
BAY OF PIGS SNORKELING AND DIVING TOUR
A once-day by day visit runs from both Playa Larga (Caleton) and from Playa Girón. The jumping/swimming outings to the Bay of Pigs leave toward the beginning of the day when the water is calmest and most clear before the breeze gets toward the evening.
Get is around 9 am from either your casa specific or a helpful spot close by. First stop is the plunge place (Octopus Dive Center for Playa Larga or Scuba Center in the Cubanacán Hotel in Playa Girón) where you get your swimming or jumping gear, contingent upon the visit you booked. The visit makes two stops at different areas relying upon the conditions, anyway one of which is typically Cueva de los Peces.
At each spot, swimmers have 1-1.5 hours to investigate while jumpers can be guided around the reefs. Come back to town is about 2pm. The visit costs 10 CUC per individual for transport, 5 CUC per individual for snorkel and balance rental, and 25 CUC per individual for a plunging tank. The visit can be sorted out through your casa specific as after as 8.00 am the day of the visit.
OTHER SPOTS TO CONSIDER VISITING AT CIÉNAGA DE ZAPATA
Ciénaga de Zapata is an under-appraised some portion of Cuba. Aside from the unwinding, nearby sea shores; the assortment of characteristic eco-frameworks and faltering birdlife, here are some different things you can do.
BOCA DE GUAMÁ/Another extraordinary spot, particularly on the off chance that you have children, is Boca de Guamá. Here you can visit a crocodile ranch where they raise two types of crocodile, one of which is the basically imperiled Cuban Crocodile. /Details: Criadero de Cocodrilos is open from 9:30 – 17:00, at Carretera a Playa Larga only north of Playa Larga.
Lodging GUAMÁ/You can likewise take a vessel ride to Hotel Guamá, which has been worked in the picture of a Taíno town. Spread over various little islands it attempts to review the time before the Spanish showed up, when neighborhood indigenous clans ran their own lives. Touristy, yet justified, despite all the trouble. /Details: Ferries and speedboats run from Boca de Guamá.
Narrows OF PIGS MUSEUM/Just thirty minutes drive east of Playa Larga, the Bay of Pigs Museum subtleties the boomed CIA supported intrusion of Cuba. The exhibition hall plays the triumph for all its value with tanks, planes and weapons on the grass and itemized data loads up inside. /Details: The gallery is open from 8:00 – 17:00 day by day. Data sheets and visits are in Spanish as it were.
WHERE TO STAY
The best places to remain to investigate Ciénaga de Zapata National Park are Playa Girón or Playa Larga (Caleton).
PLAYA GIRÓN/Playa Girón is increasingly advantageous for visiting the Refugio de Fauna Bermejas and the Bay of Pigs Museum. The town is bigger than Playa Larga and keeping in mind that it feels progressively neighborhood, it does not have a touch of soul. Aside from the somewhat somber looking government-run Cubanacán inn, not a lot is set up on the front. In this way, there’s an absence of sea shore environment in the nights.
PLAYA LARGA (CALETON)/Playa Larga is increasingly helpful for visiting the wetlands and the crocodile ranch. It likewise has the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park Office so you can without much of a stretch book any visits you need to take. Playa Larga has two sea shores: Playa Maquina on the east of town and Caleton, south west of town. There’s an exceptionally loosened up agreeable vibe on the two sea shores at night. You can discover more activities in Playa Larga in our speedy guide.
Our proposal is to remain in Playa Larga.
BUDGET : CASA CARIBE STAR/MID-RANGE: HOSTAL ENRIQUE
GETTING THERE & AROUND
VIAZUL BUS/The Viazul transport stops at Playa Larga and Playa Giron as it furrows the course between Havana (twice day by day) or Varadero (when every day) to Cienfuegos and Trinidad. More data about the diverse vehicle alternatives are shrouded in our manual for getting around Cuba.
COLECTIVO/Playa Larga is an ordinary goal for sightseers heading among Viñales and Cienfuegos. Since the transport is moderate and experiences Havana colectivos run the course. All things considered, you should change vehicles simply outside Havana so every driver can undoubtedly get back home.
PRIVATE TAXI/Private cabs are effortlessly leased in Playa Larga or Playa Giron. There used to be a jump on bounce off transport, however it does not work anymore.
TIPS FOR BOOKING TOURS AT CIÉNAGA DE ZAPATA
1/Reservations for any visits can be composed at Ciénaga de Zapata National Park Office which is on the fundamental street in Playa Larga. They are open between 8:00 – 16:30 day by day.
2/Make sure you are clear about which kind of visit you need and what you need to see – every one of them are very extraordinary.
3/Ensure your guide is an official SNAP manage (government authorize for the national park) and in a perfect world communicates in a portion of your language. Aides will commonly cost 15 CUC.
4/If your center is trapping some extraordinary winged animal watching openings, you’ll have to get a visit that leaves at dawn.
5/Try to ensure your gathering isn’t excessively huge – especially for birdwatching. Anything else than 6 and you’ll likely locate the slippery little animal you’ve been following has dashed off before it was your chance to get a photograph.
6/Even in the event that you don’t do a swimming visit, having your own goggle to visit Ciénaga de Zapata is a smart thought – heaps of the coral reef is obvious only a short swim seaward.
7/Before you pursue any visit ensure you comprehend if transport is incorporated and the distance away the visit begins so you can sort out your own vehicle.
8/Remember that your casa specific host is your companion. They will have the option to propose visits and sort out transportation for you. They’ll additionally been up to attach you with different explorers to share a colectivo if vital.