La ciudad que más me gusta a mí (the city I like the best) singer Benny Moré once said of his home city in the song 'Cienfuegos.' He wasn't the settlement's only cheerleader. Cuba's so-called Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South) has long seduced travelers from around the island with its elegance, enlightened French spirit and feisty Caribbean panache.
Gran Parque Natural Montemar
The largest ciénaga (swamp) in the Caribbean, Ciénaga de Zapata is also one of Cuba's most diverse ecosystems. Crowded into this vast wetland (essentially two swamps divided by a rocky central tract) are 14 different vegetation formations including mangroves, wood, dry wood, cactus, savannah, selva and semideciduous. There are also extensive salt pans.
The pioneering eco-village of Las Terrazas dates back to a reforestation project in 1968. Today it’s a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, a burgeoning activity center (with Cuba’s only canopy tour) and the site of the earliest surviving coffee plantations in Cuba. Not surprisingly, it attracts day-trippers from Havana by the busload.