Nature reserves in Cuba
Cuba has many beautiful nature reserves, classified according to the IUCN criteria. In January, 2011 EALA visited the National Park Ciénaga de Zapata, the largest wetland of the Caribbean Islands with an area of some 300,000 hectares. This wetland is a site of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (1923 sites in 160 countries) and a reserve of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Progamme (564 reserves in 109 countries).
The wetland is located in the province Matanzas, west of the Bay of Pigs, famous for the failed attempt in 1961 by US backed mercenaries to recapture the island from Fidel Castro. The entrance of the reserve is close to the fishing village Playa Larga where many fishermen still live in their houses at the beach, rather than having been evicted by commercial pressures as on most other Caribbean islands. Tourists can rent comfortable rooms in these houses for $ 25 per day.
EALA has established contacts with the park guards of the reserve who are in urgent need of binoculars, bird books, camping tents, torches, sound recorders, cameras, etc. EALA intends to supply some of these at its next visit.