Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp) is a National Park and a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. 175 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles, over thousand different species of insects, crabs etc. that’s only a small amount of what Ciénaga de Zapata has to offer. It is well a heaven for bird watchers, as there are around 65 species of birds that visit this place during their migration.
There are quite a few tours you can do in Peninsula de Zapata:
- Bird watching: If you decide to visit the National Park, you can only enter it with a guide and you need your own transport. To enter the Park you have to pay 10-15 CUC per person. We decided to ask our casa owner Kiki to organize everything. He offered two options: a walking tour through the forest that takes around 3-4 hours and during which you can see endemic species of birds (cost around 50CUC), and a tour with an English speaking guide including transportation to Laguna de las Salinas, where you can see for example pink flamingos, pelicans, black cormorants and many other migratory birds (65CUC; though we have to admit that with the very very old car as a taxi and a nice but not really too much English speaking guide, this trip was really far too expensive);
- Diving and snorkeling: Playa Giron is famous for two things: its history and its diving conditions. It is the place where the Cold War almost turned into a much hotter one, and where you can basically dive for free. There are not many places around the world where for such price you can get a good service and perfect diving / snorkeling conditions (around 25CUC including equipment, diving instructor, and transportation)
- Fishing: Looking at the pictures of fish caught by our casa owner during his fishing tours, you’ll definitely have some fun if you are into it.
- Taíno village: it is a recreation of an Indian village built on Laguna del Tesoro on the small islands. The project started in the 60s and was strongly supported by Fiedel Castro.
- Criadero de Cocodrilos: It is the biggest crocodile farm in Cuba. The guided tour costs around 3 CUC and takes around 45 minutes. There is as well an opportunity to hold small alligators and make a picture with them. There is a restaurant on the farm, where you can try crocodile meat. If you decide to buy anything made of a crocodile leather here, remember to keep the invoice, in case you have to proof on the boarder that the material comes from a crocodile farm and not wild animals. Our casa owner, Kiki, offered this tour from Playa Larga for more or less 20 CUC with a taxi, though we are not sure if the entrance fee was already included.
Due to all our “adventures” in Playa Larga, we could only visit Laguna de las Salinas. And here are the pictures:
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