Matanzas Province Attractions
Matanzas is the second largest province in Cuba and is sure to please anyone interested in beautiful beaches, wildlife, or history. Matanzas is home to the country's largest and most popular tourist resort. The seaside tourist destination of Varadero attracts visitors from all over the world with its various resort hotels that line the beaches.At the south end of Matanzas province is another important area. Here visitors will find the famous Bahia de Conchinos or Bay of Pigs, as well as Cienega de Zapata. The Cienega Zapata, also referred to as the Zapata Swamp, is UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with a wide variety of birds and other wildlife. This area of the province is much less visited than the northern coast but is worth a visit for these unique sites.
The resort destination of Varadero is one of Cuba's most popular tourist areas. Luxury hotels line the beautiful white sand beaches and offer every type of water sport, as well as golfing, skydiving, and other activities.
Peninsula de Zapata (Cienega de Zapata)
Located on the Peninsula de Zapata is the Cienega de Zapata, or Zapata Swamp as it is also called, which is home to a large variety of birds, as well as Crocodiles. It is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Cardenas, located east of Matanzas on the north coast of Cuba, is a large town of approximately 100,00 people. The town enjoyed a prosperous history thanks to the sugar cane industry but today relies heavily on the nearby Varadero tourist resort and a small factory to support the economy. Cardenas is not a tourist destination but if you are passing through there are some worthwhile attractions and historical sites. The Dominica building was once the Spanish government headquarters in Cuba. The Museo Municipal Oscar Maria de Rojas, housed in an 1862 neo-Classical building, is the oldest municipal museum in Cuba. Cardenas' most important claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of revolutionary Antonio Echevarria, whose childhood home here is now a museum.
Cuevas de Bellamar
Discovered in the 1860s the Cuevas de Bellamar are an extensive cave systems that as of yet have still not been explored past the first 3km / 2mi. How and by whom they were discovered varies depending on who you ask, but you are unlikely to hear the same version twice. The Cuevas de Bellamar are located just southeast of Matanzas. Tours, which can be arranged easily from Varadero or Matanzas, allow visitors to go in as far as 1.5km / 1mi but only with a guide. In this section, which goes are far as 26m / 85ft below sea level, are numerous galleries with stalactites, stalagmites and streams.
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