Cuba’s bounty of natural attractions, paired with its meticulous conservation practices, makes it the best ecotourism destination in the Caribbean. It is home to 263 protected areas, covering approximately 22% of the total land. This includes six UNESCO biospheres that range from the coastal scrublands of Península de Guanahacabibes in Pinar del Río to the untouched rainforests of Cuchillas del Toa in Guantánamo. The abundance of carefully guarded land protects over 350 species of birds as well as endangered species such as the Cuban crocodile, the jutía and the ivory-billed woodpecker.
The province of Pinar del Río is particularly well-endowed when it comes to natural attractions: it boasts two UNESCO biospheres and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the sprawling Valley of Vinales. Pinar del Río’s Las Terrazas is an ideal base for ecotours: it was Cuba’s first sustainable resort community. Other noteworthy ecotourism destinations include the pristine area surrounding Baracao on Cuba’s eastern coast, and the Peninsula de Zapata to the south, which contains the Caribbean’s largest swamp.
Cuba boasts a wide selection of activities for ecotourists, including hiking along one of over 100 nature trails, cycling, horseback riding, spelunking, nature observation, photo tourism and speleo-scuba diving. Many of the country’s hotels, like the Hotel La Moka in Pinar del Rio, are sustainable and have been designed to blend harmoniously with their picturesque natural surroundings.