Nature in Long Key, Isle of Youth. Flora Alive and seductive is the nature of Long Key, the diverse and ancient flora that shows a coastal vegetation where the coastal mate and beach purslane, ciruelillo, hicaco, guabilla, guano de costa and plants characteristic of This type of terrain; While vines, salvias and mangroves adorn with their endowments the ancient dunes. Leer más... Long Key has an El Torreón nursery garden, located one kilometer away from Isla del Sur Hotel, very close to Lindamar and Pelícano Hotel. In the same you can also observe in a natural way animals of our fauna like the acutus crocodile, iguanas, hummingbird, hawk and chinchiguaco. Mangroves in the Isle of Youth According to the judgment of classification for Cuba of Capote-Berazaín (1984), 5 vegetable formations can be distinguished. These are: Tree formations, 44% of the territory is covered with trees, just over 107 000 ha. Here live the semi-deciduous forest and mesophyllous semideciduous forest of the south, the largest wooded area of the territory and one of the best conserved of Cuba, which in the past constituted an appreciable source of coal and of which were sent to Pinar del Río to Work associated with tobacco; the marsh forest, the gallery forest and the mangrove swamp, which occupy the entire perimeter of the northern portion. The protection and conservation of this ecosystem is necessary because of the many benefits it offers: it protects the coastline, contributes to the formation of the coast, its root system becomes a refuge for the juveniles of the most diverse marine species as well as habitat of others and is a potential source of energetic and therapeutic resources. Finally the pinewoods, consisting of male pine and female pine, pinus caribea and pinus tropical respectively and their accompanying vegetation palms, peralejos, hicacos, etc. Large extensions were felled for many years and in other cases of pines their resin was extracted. Also present on Isla de la Juventud are shrub formations, represented by coastal xeromorphic shrubland and subcoastal shrublands, which include areas of white sands whose soil is basically composed of quartz sands of extreme whiteness and purity on which a typical vegetation. From a botanical point of view it is of great interest. Its most representative area is located in Los Indios, to the southwest of the central plain, one of the best preserved in the world. There are abundant herb formations in Isla de la Juventud, to which belong the freshwater vegetable communities, the swamp grassland and the river bank of streams and rivers; Complexes of vegetation, of mogotes, observable in the marmoreal hills. It presents a well contrasting florula identified by bombacopsis cubensis, ceibon of the sierra, eritrina cubensis, sprout of the sierra and other species; of sandy coast and rocky coast. There are also formations of secondary vegetation; plant formations degraded due to the anthropic activity, for example, the area of Sabana Grande to the Northwest with signs of degradation and where predominate jungle and savanna elements which are not common with the pine forest. Fauna Long Key is a remote region of the "Isla Grande de Cuba" and located in an area privileged by nature. It offers the possibility of knowing a destination where you can enjoy the conservation of its environment and the true harmony between man and his natural environment. Between April and September, three types of sea turtles are reproduced: Caguama Turtle, Green Turtle and Carey Turtle. The destination has a Turtle Hatchery located in the tourist village; The nests are collected on the most vulnerable beaches and moved to the hatchery where eggs are incubated, once born the turtles are released to their natural environment. The nature of Long Key stands out above all else for the preservation of its virginity. The existence of coral reefs, as well as similar adjacent cays, where iguanas, turtles, pelicans, and other species of flora and fauna, tend to consolidate a hallmark with favorable conditions of climate, privacy and decontamination. Between the programs of conservation and protection of the natural resources in the Tourist Destination Long Key is the Program of Protection of the marine turtles. It is the main area in the Caribbean of green turtle spawning. The fauna of the Isle of Youth is abundant and diverse, including forms of great biological and ornamental value. Within the invertebrates, the best represented groups are: poriferous (sponges); Coelenterates (corals, jellyfish and gorgonians) and echinoderms (stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers) which give great diversity to the marine landscape. Mollusks have a wide variety of marine form, fluvial and terrestrial forms. To date, there are more than seventy forms (with an endemism that exceeds 80%). Stands out the presence of the genus Priotocatella, Cerion, Ligus and Pineria, (pinero screw), the last one endemic among the terrestrial forms. Among the arthropods, the outstanding arachnids are the Latrodectus mactans (black widow), Euriperma sp. (Hairy spider) and Mastigoproctus sp. (Vinagrito). It is also interesting the presence of numerous species of diplopods (millipedes and mancaperros), highlighting as endemic species: Amphelictogon pinetorum and Sphariodesmus pinetorum (centipedes). There are some species of endemic insects and crustaceans (crabs and lobsters) are an important group because of their great economic value. The fauna of the vertebrates is relatively abundant, since they add up around three hundred forms. The level of endemism is very low, only 21 of them meet this characteristic: two freshwater fish; An amphibian; Sixteen reptiles; Seven birds and four mammals, most of which are endemic at the sub-specific level, evidencing their recent evolution. Ecological Reserves In the territory can be found numerous ecological reserves, of a high patrimonial value by the wealth of its nature and its virginidad. Among them are: "Los Indios", "Punta del Este", "Punta Francés Natural Park", "Jones Jungle" and "Cayo Campos-Rosario Natural Wildlife Refuge", to which Cayo Largo belongs. Cayo Campos-Rosario Fauna Natural Refuge In the archipelago of Los Canarreos there are some cays in front of Punta del Este in Isla de la Juventud, a chain populated with beautiful cays or islets of great ecological interest, that move to the east totally depopulated, except Cayo Largo. All of them constitute a refuge of valuable species of flora and fauna, without neglecting the high tourist value for the extensions of its beaches of fine and white sands. Long Key forms part of these islets, is an important pole of tourist development of international scope with perspectives directed to the photography and submarine fishing, to the tourism of sun and beach, to the yacht travelers and diverse modalities of ecological tourism with very good and modern hotel facilities. The characteristics of the sea bottoms of the submerged platform of these cays, associated to an exuberant vegetation of mangroves allow the development of a great number of marine species. Mangroves are the only terrestrial vegetation that comes into direct contact with the sea. These forests play a large role in protecting the low coasts and even gain land in the sea. These islets provide attractive preserves for the contemplation of harmless animals such as iguanas and birds that make migratory life and its seabed provide the spectacle of a natural aquarium. Cayo Campo has an area of 7.9 square kilometers and is separated from Rosario by 18 square kilometers by two important cays: Ávalos and Cantiles. We must point out that Cayo Cantiles is one of the most interesting from the point of view of the diversity of its habitat and composition of its herpetofauna. The Campos-Rosario keys geological formation is one of the most recently protected areas. It occupies a great extension and has the characteristics of being barrier cays (edge of the insular platform) and presents the greater system of sandstone fossils dunes on which an abundant flora, rich in species of the fauna, also has a lagoon system well-structured that serves as a refuge for birds, both migratory and resident. Cayo Rosario, located 18 miles west of Cayo Largo del Sur, is distinguished by the large number of fish that live on its seabed. It is an ideal place for the practice of contemplative diving and underwater photography. You will find the second dive area; s very peculiar seabed, with an average depth of 18 meters (59 feet), where coral mogotes form a real labyrinth among which swim great aguajíes, cuberas, jocuses, groups of jureles, pompón snores, snores, catalinetas, lobsters, snapper, biajaibas (Turtles, carey and cagüamas) that use their beaches to spawn, innumerable species of corals, gorgonians, crabs and other marine mollusks, and so on. The marine fauna has a great wealth and diversity of species. As for the terrestrial fauna, there is a large population of iguanas in the dunes and crocodiles in the lagoons. Birds and reptiles with endemic species and subspecies such as the crab hawk, the hummingbird, the little bobito, the chichinguaco, the carpenter, the culebrina, the white lizard, the green lizard, the jibo prieto, and so on. We must note that it has a diverse vegetation, in the marina are Thalassia testudinum, Halimeda incrassata, Acanthophora muscoides, Penicillus pyriformis, Udefea flabellum, etc.; While in the terrestrial part they appear rosemary of coast, american bumelia, yuraguano, yana, hicaco, cuaba prieta, tebenque, alacrancillo of beach, yaití, palo bronco, guao de costa, tuna brava, red mangrove, cana japa, alambrillo , beach incense, etc. Taking advantage of the exhibition, we shouldn’t forget to mention that in the area of Cabeza de Zambo there is an important archaeological site where you can easily observe the sinking of boats from the colonial period.