Natural Areas in Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the most mountainous Cuban provinces and where the highest elevations of the country are, since its territory is crossed by the Sierra Maestra. The main elevations are the Royal peak of the Turquino, the peak Cuba and the Great Stone. The tropical, humid climate oscillates between more than 3,000 mm of precipitation in the summits and 700 mm in the eastern limit. The Cauto, Mayarí, Guantánamo and Baconao rivers are born in these mountain ranges, which form one of the main forest masses of Cuba. Hydroelectricity and irrigation are guaranteed by the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes dam. The agricultural activity is represented by the cultivation of coffee, citrus fruits, sugar cane and vegetables. There are also cattle, mainly for meat production, as well as exploitation of iron, manganese, copper, gypsum and zinc deposits.
Among the more than 16 Protected Areas in Santiago de Cuba, we highlight:
1. Pico Turquino National Park (shared with Granma).
2. Siboney Ecological Reserve - Justicí.
3. Natural Landscape Protected Great Stone.
4. Gran Piedra Natural Reserve.
5. Reserva Natural El Retiro.
6. San Miguel de Parada Wildlife Refuge.
7. Protected Area of Managed Resources: "Baconao Biosphere Reserve" declared by UNESCO.
The natural resources in Santiago de Cuba are divided into two fundamental areas where they are mostly concentrated:
The Sierra Maestra Mountain Range is the largest and youngest mountainous system in the archipelago, where the Sierra Maestra National Park is located, with 17 peaks, all with more than 1300 m in height, standing out the Turquino with 1964 M of heights (the largest of the Island). The foothills of this mountain range reach the Caribbean shore. With an east-west direction it crosses the provinces of Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba and Granma. It is covered by forests of Pinos and Caducifolias and there is a pluvisilva of mountain rich in flora and fauna.
All along the coast are 73 submerged wrecks, including remains of Admiral Cervera's fleet, in addition to a coral reef that shows a high degree of conservation and is enjoyed by the clarity of its funds due to the purity and clarity of the Caribbean Sea and the strict state regulations for its protection. Some of the coastal depths of the coast are characterized by high mogotes separated by narrow buckets that are covered by beautiful fossil invertebrates that form caves and tunnels sheltering crustacean fish and mollusks.
The World Biosphere Reserve "Baconao" is located in the southeast of the province. In it there are high mountains such as the Sierra de la Gran Piedra and the Meseta de Santa María de Loreto, where the humid evergreen forests predominate and the ferns abound. Its fauna is associated with humid places dominated by jutias, woodpeckers, lizards and multicolored butterflies. With great contrast, the coastal vegetation is typical of semi-desert areas with Cactaceae and Spiny Shrubs.
In this area is the largest rock block of volcanic origin in the world "La Gran Piedra", one of the most important geological values of the province, with dimensions that include 51 m long, 25 high and 30 wide and an estimated weight between 70 and 72 thousand tons; it’s the highest height of the country that can be reached by car with 1225 m. It is a Protected Area, it has a great variety of trees, mainly pines, and more than 2,000 plants with a high degree of endemism as is the case of the flower "Ave del Paraíso", which gives its name to the Botanical Garden of the place. Its climate is always fresh and sometimes cold, in the middle of lush vegetation, endowed with paths that lead to the ruins of the largest coffee plantations that the French founded in Cuba; one of these, La Isabelica, was rebuilt.
The nature of the region offers a great variety of Natural Resources and Protected Areas with different categories of management, where a set of native flora and fauna species of the zone is housed; a 40% of endemism of the fauna is here. It is worth mentioning that 66% of the area that occupies the municipality was declared natural reserve, these shows us the degree of conservation of the natural environment close to the city.
This area has all the conditions to develop the nature tourism in Santiago de Cuba, in all its modalities of ecotourism, agro tourism, Scientific Tourism and adventures; as well as nautical activities and health tourism.
Ecotur Travel Agency
General Lacret (San Pedro) # 701ª, between Heredia and San Basilio.
Tel. (53 22) 68 7279.
OUTDOOR EXCURSIONS IN SANTIAGO
COMANDANCIA DE LA PLATA SAFARI.
We invite you to the Command, site of the Rebel Army. Enigmatic place, located in the heart of the Sierra Maestra, majestic by nature, impressive by its history, where the visitor perceives the details of the coexistence of the Rebels in the mountains and even senses the presence of them.
Minimum: 2 pax.
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Duration: 12 hours
Pick up time: 5:00 a.m.
LA GRAN PIEDRA JEEP SAFARI.
We propose to make your dreams come true through this exclusive excursion, an adventure to the Great Stone, located in the mountain massif of the MASTER SIERRA, to more than 1200 m.a.s.l. To the south, from the top, you will see the city of Santiago de Cuba, the bay, the Copper Church, the towns of Siboney and Daiquiri, the Baconao lagoon, the La Isabelica museum, and on a clear day, Naval of Guantanamo. To the north you will appreciate an impressive view of the Sierra de La Gran Piedra.
This is a special place for the observation of endemic species of Flora and Fauna. The excursion also includes a sample of the traces left by the Franco-Haitian emigrants in this area, their coffee culture and a legacy of traditions that are ours today. This and more you can find it in the Museum "La Isabelica".
Minimum: 3 pax.
Languages: English, French, Spanish
AVENTURA INOLVIDABLE (One Day in Turquino).
In the mountain range of the Sierra Maestra is the Pico Real del Turquino, the highest peak in Cuba with 1972 meters above sea level. This elevation is part of the natural and historical heritage of the country.
It is the ideal place to observe endemic species, both plants and animals, surrounded by lush vegetation and very pleasant temperatures that will make your ascension a full and unforgettable enjoyment.
Departure days: Every day.
Departure time: 5:00 am
Degree of Complexity: High
Minimum of pax: 3
Languages: Spanish, English, French.