Arriving Cuba by one of the international airports of the region, either Holguín, Santiago or Manzanillo, it would be only a few hours away from discovering Santo Domingo, the Great Gate of the Sierra Maestra, a place from where the walk along the historic route to the heart of Column 1 of the Rebel Army: La Comandancia de la Plata. The tour would allow you to enjoy the observation of endemic birds of Cuba and the Insular Caribbean, by a path that combines the red clay with gray clasts of volcanic rock impregnated with mosses and lichens, all in the shadow of a rainforest with unique characteristics where fruit trees are mixed with endemic trees such as junipers, sawdust, walnuts, oaks and pines of the Sierra Maestra to finally arrive at the site from where Fidel led the guerrilla war in the Sierra Maestra. On the way back, passing through the ecological community La Platica will serve to live an experience of symbiosis between residents and the environment, in which to enjoy the way of life of the Turquino farmer, his food and his music is only the beginning, you will be able to participate directly in the conservation actions of the forest by planting your own tree, in the same grounds of the community you can see the quail-dove, carpenters and the national bird “tocororo”, among other beautiful birds. Optionally you can enjoy a path that connects the different stages of recovery of a forest that became a coffee plantation and now returns to its natural state, where the observation of reptiles, the crystal butterfly (the Cuban greta) and endemic plants such as orchids, is usually a delight to finish the tour in small pools of crystalline water connected by waterfalls of La Plata River.
Venturing to the conquest of the top of Sierra Maestra, it would be advisable and pleasant to spend the night in the rustic camp of Aguada de Joaquín, just three hours from the Pico Real Turquino. One night will allow the visitor to exchange with a climate that conditions a fauna and vegetation without comparison in the country: the cloudy forests of Turquino.
Granma, mega diverse natural space, not only has access to the most rugged summits of the island, in contrast it also hosts the Cauto plain with totally different climatic conditions and that nourish the largest river of Cuba. By road and from Bayamo a journey of around two hours would be enough to reach the Cauto delta. In Leonero lagoon the sport fishing of the trout, and the observation of birds in their natural environment offer a magnificent spectacle to the visitor.
On the Cauto route, near the town of Guamo, it is possible to embark on a half-day journey along the river to its mouth, the most active area of piracy in the Caribbean and where the events that inspired the first book of piracy in the world occurred. The tour includes fishing, wildlife observation, the nesting of thousands of pink flamingos as well as the reproduction of crocodiles.
Continuing to Manzanillo, second city in importance of Granma, it is possible to observe the breeding and reproduction of crocodile in captivity. About an hour away is the Desembarco del Granma National Park, which has one of the most original and beautiful ecosystems in the entire archipelago. It is the largest and most conserved world exponent of the systems of marine terraces, emerged and submerged, considered by specialists one of the most beautiful and outstanding places of the Cuban archipelago, both for its natural values, and for having been the scene of relevant events of our national history. These are the reasons why it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. It has the honor of being the first natural site in Cuba to receive such distinction.
Inside the park we will visit the settlement of Cabo Cruz, a small fishing village, which will welcome us with an excellent gastronomic offer based on fish and shellfish. We would complement the experience with diving in the coral curtain of extraordinary beauty that keeps its waters transparent throughout the year. Then it would be very interesting to walk the Guafe archaeological trail, seat of the chiefdom of Macaca and its goddess of waters, Atabey. Ceremonial and funerary caves, samples of the pre-Columbian culture, and unrepeatable natural treasures can be observed during the tour ... On the way to Alegría de Pío, historical place linked to the revolutionary struggle, can be seen two interesting paths: Morlote Fustete and Cueva del Samuel. Few places in Cuba arouse the curiosity of naturalists or simply visitors, as the terraces of Cabo Cruz. Going towards the coast you can see the gigantic stone steps, which make up the so-called Escaleras del Gigante, this is a unique and extraordinarily beautiful landscape. Its systems of marine terraces reach a height of 360 meters above sea level and it has a score of emerged levels. The excursionist, standing on a kind of natural viewpoint will appreciate the development of karst forms of relief on these terraces, a truly beautiful landscape, but he still has to unveil an impressive mystery: passing through the Fustete cave, the Hole of Morlotte which is over him , with 77 m of depth and 55 of diameter, perfectly circular, standing on the edge of its abyss the hypotheses of its strange formation come to everbody´s mind. Further on, can be seen the Boca del Toro river canyon, the Samuel canyon and others of lesser extent but full of legends. The ecosystems that are developed here are also well preserved, given the inaccessibility of these areas. Here you can see Ligus vittatus, a beautiful local endemic mollusc of the terraces that curiously twists to the left, perhaps because of political affinity with the history that keeps the park.
These wonders impressed Christopher Columbus, who on his second trip was helped and supplied in this area. The remoteness of this region to the village of San Salvador de Bayamo and the impenetrable forests, sources of fresh water, caused that in the second half of the 16th century it became a safe haven for corsairs and pirates such as John Hawking, Sir Henri Morgan and in the 19th century sheltered palenques of black cimarrones and mambises, who had in this area the main route of communication with Jamaica.
The excursionist will find inexhaustible the natural historical values that treasure the sites visited, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, most of the attractions of the region have yet to be unveiled for tourism; in a short time, these cases will be incorporated for the enjoyment of tourists: the buckets of Charco Prieto in Vega Grande, the birth of the Victorino river and El Gigante, the Saltos del Manguito in the Pico la Bayamesa National Park and the Cilantro thermal waters that will include quality of life services, to live the extraordinary experience of enjoying a legendary nature.