Cuba's 7 Wonders
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Well traversed for good reason the Vinales Valley west of Havana is a lush living landscape. A Unesco World Heritage site, the valley stretches green for miles and famously features primitive agriculture techniques, underground rivers, colonial architecture and some of the best-rolled cigars in the country. The valley's towering limestone
Isla de la Juventud
The inspiration for both Treasure Island and Neverland, Isla de la Juventud is a crocodile laden,
Península de Guanacabibes
The westernmost tip of Cuba, Guanacabibes is home to the unspoiled Parque Nacional Guanahacabibes, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Guanacabibes is harder to access than other parts of the country - the only way being a single pothole-heavy road cut through a forest. What the region lacks in amenities it more than makes up for in stellar diving, sea turtles and a rugged, blessedly tourist free coastline.
Topes de Collantes
Within the Escambray Mountain range that once hid bandits and rebels of all political leanings, Topas de Collantes is among Cuba's most beautiful nature reserves. The most popular hike in the area is the trek to Caburní Falls, a limestone cascade that empties into a large pool below. The Sendero La Batata hike leads to a cave with a swimmable underground creek. If you continue beyond the cave you will eventually reach Hacienda Codina - an old coffee plantation turned restaurant and new age epicenter complete with mud baths, subterranean yoga
Located within the Varahicacos Ecological Preserve on the Hiacos Peninsula the Ambrosio cave is a capsule of Taino culture. Once used as a ceremonial site the visual remnants of the Taino people can be seen in the dozens of pre-Columbian drawings that mark the cave walls - the largest collection of pictographs in the Caribbean. Ambrosio had a second life as a haven for escaped slaves during the island's colonial period. The cave itself is a system of five interconnected galleries flush with fruit bats and photo opportunities.
Accessible only by boat, this tiny island in the Pinar del Rio province has no roads or cars, just stretches of sand and solitude. Divers and snorkelers alike will appreciate the shipwrecks and marine life that populate the waters around Levisa. Once the afternoon day boat crowd departs the island is left exclusively to guests of Hotel Cayo Levisa. The hotel's bungalows, many of them along the water's edge, are reasonably priced but known to fill up months in advance. Plan accordingly and let your Swiss Family Robinson delusions abound.