The true treasure of Guanahacabibes

HAVANA, Jan. 21th For more than two centuries, the Guanahacabibes Peninsula was a land of pirates.
Taking advantage of its solitude and its enviable geographical position – situated on the obligatory shipping route of theships that carried the riches of South America to Spain – the story goes that the most terrifying of sea robbers, who once plagued the Caribbean, hid out here, from where they organized their acts of villainy.

Most of Guanahacabibes’ beaches took their names from that dark past, and legends arose that assure that the peninsula still conceals the spoils and gold of many attacks.

Today, many continue to venture into its forests, following the trail of old maps that supposedly indicate where these fortunes were hidden.However, a program for the comprehensive development of the region began some years ago, centered on the promotion of tourism, based on the enormous natural values of the peninsula.

Although the possibility of discovering some of the fabulous treasures bequeathed by piracy has not been disregarded, today the prevailing view is that the true wealth of this site lies in the beauty of its seabed, in its 22 beaches, and the dozens of endemic species of flora and fauna that have made it their home.

Terrestrial flora:
• 113 plant families, over 385 genera and 716 species, distributed in 12 vegetation formations
• 25% of species are described as endemic to Cuba, including 15 species endemic only to the reserve
• 125 tree species, 146 medicinal and 132 melliferous plants

Terrestrial fauna:
• 15 amphibian species
• 35 reptile species
• 213 bird species (9 of the 25 endemic Cuban species)
• Active bird migration corridor (Mississippi flyway)• 18 mammal species

Marine fauna:
• 39 sponge species
• 27 species of gorgonians
• 42 coral species
• 201 fish species
• Some 1,000 species of marine mollusk, 10 of which are exclusive to the peninsula
• High commercial value species such as spiny lobster, sea bass and snapper
• Nesting site for several species of sea turtle
• Coral reefs considered among the most diverse and best preserved in the Greater Caribbean region