Welcome to Gran Parque Natural Montemar
The largest ciénaga (swamp) in the Caribbean, Ciénaga de Zapata is protected on multiple levels as the Gran Parque Natural Montemar, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar Convention Site. Herein lies one of Cuba's most diverse ecosystems, a steamy mix of wildlife-rich wetlands and briny salt flats. Crowded onto a vast, practically uninhabited peninsula (essentially two swamps divided by a rocky central tract) are 14 different vegetation formations including mangroves, wood, dry wood, cactus, savannah, selva and semideciduous. The extensive salt pans and marshes make Zapata the best birdwatching spot in Cuba, as well as a haven for crocodiles, and an excellent spot for catch-and-release fishing.
The main industry today is tourism and ecotourists are arriving in increasing numbers to take advantage of several expertly-led excursions. Access is only possible with a guide.