Península de Guanahacabibes National Park and Biosphere Reserve (Cuba)

Península de Guanahacabibes National Park and Biosphere Reserve (Cuba)

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 18:04
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Guanahacabibes Peninsula is located in Pinar del Río Province, in the municipality of Sandino, the westernmost point on the island of Cuba. The peninsula is sparsely populated. The waters surrounding the peninsula are important spiny lobster and red snapper fishing grounds. It is both a national park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Guanahacabibes Peninsula is located in Pinar del Río Province, in the municipality of Sandino, the westernmost point on the island of Cuba. The peninsula is sparsely populated. The waters surrounding the peninsula are important spiny lobster and red snapper fishing grounds. It is both a national park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The Guanahacabibes National Park on the peninsula is one of the country's largest natural reserves and is separated from the rest of the island by white-sand plains where one of Cuba's largest lakeside areas lies. A relatively small area holds some 100 lakes, as well as the largest and purest fields of silica sand, which is 99.8% pure.

Nature tourism is a major attraction in the 398.26 sq km (153.77 sq mi) National Park. The area is inhabited by 172 species of birds belonging to 42 families, 11 of which are endemic and 84 are migratory. Experts also believe that 4 of the 7 species of marine turtles living on the planet have survived in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula.

Major habitats include semi-deciduous forest with Byrsonima roigii, Callicarpa roigii, Eugenia roigii; evergreen forest; mangrove; marshland; coastal scrublands; rocky habitats; sand dunes; coral reefs; marine habitats; agroecosystems with tobacco, fruits; and pasture land. The coastline also contains preserved coral reefs, with the northern coast being lined by the cays and isles of the western Colorados Archipelago.

The peninsula was one of the last refuges of aboriginals fleeing from the Spanish conquistadors and also holds some 140 archaeological sites linked to the life of aborigines, who were known as Guanahatabeyes.