When people first think of Cuba, the pictures of the bright classic cars and the colorful colonial buildings come to mind. Yet there’s so much more to Cuba if you are willing to venture outside of Havana. Look past the obvious and venture into a new territory, you’ll be able to capture something truly unique. Something truly ‘Cuba’.

It has some of the greenest, untouched landscapes, stunning wildlife and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Best part is, there are no venomous critters, very few biting insects, next-to-no personal security issues and fantastic Cuban people to make your stay amazing. So let’s look at closely what makes Cuba a Nature Photographer’s Paradise.

Large Number of Endemic Birds

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and is also the ornithologically richest. The island has an exciting avifauna, with no fewer than 28 endemics and one near-endemic (about half of which are considered endangered). And just like the classic cars and the stunning buildings, the birdlife is just as vibrant.

You will find beauties like the Cuban Trogon, that is Cuba’s national bird as it’s colors resemble the Cuban flag and its fighting spirit is like the Cuban people. Then there is the spectacular Cuban Tody, Fernandina’s Flicker and the Oriente Warbler, just to name a few.  Cuba’s endemics are incredibly unique; many species are in their own genera and even in their own families.

Stunning Landscapes
The country side of Cuba is mesmerising, yet the opportunity to capture it is often missed. Rolling hills, flat plains, a lush tropical landscape, and high mountain peaks give plenty for the nature photographers to play with. Vinales Valley is the most iconic, offering up unique limestone formations and the most perfect sunrise and sunset shots alike. The possibilities here are endless, including gloomy caves, flowing hillsides, and lush tobacco fields.
We can find Cuban Trogon, Fernandina’s Flicker, Cuban Solitaire, Cuban Green Woodpecker, Gundlach’s Hawk, Yellow-headed Warbler and Cuban Bullfinch, among others, in the area.

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

About 12% of Cuba is protected and is recognised by UNESCO. These are well worth a visit. The most notable is the Zapata Swamp or Cienaga de Zapata. The ecological fragility of the ecosystems has led to an intense effort toward conserving biodiversity and natural resources. The region was established as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2001, and it remains one of the Carribean’s most untamed, least inhabited regions.

It is one of the key habitats we visit as part of our Cuba Photography Tours and birding tours, because it houses the country’s most important bird species, like the endemics Zapata Wren, Zapata Sparrow and the virtually flightless and critically endangered Zapata Rail.

The Smallest Bird In the World
Cuba is the home to the Bee Hummingbird (or as locally known – Zunzuncito), the world’s smallest bird. Just like bees, this bird defies the odds every day with its size being about as big as a 10c piece. The females weigh around 2.6 g and the are 6.1cm big fully grown, whilst the males are only around 1.95g and 5.5cm fully grown. They come in amazing colours, makes them look like a flying jewel. And although they are tiny, they demand the most attention due to being such unique creatures. They are one of the main reason birdwatchers visit Cuba.

The Amazing Pink Flamingos

Cuba has around 70,000 nesting Flamingos and countless chicks, the largest colony in the Western Hemisphere. You can find them on the Cienaga de Zapat or the Caguanes National Park. You can find them leisurely fishing, making the most of their long legs giving them the advantage to see the fish and just dip their black beak in the water to leisurely pull one out. Although they do prefer to eat shrimp, which is where they get their greatly admired pink coloring.

There are of course plenty more reasons, the cultural experience, the amazing food, the magical rhythms and the perfect weather are just to name a few.


Pristine Waterfalls

Cuban waterfalls are just as stunning as the better known formations around the world. Usually hidden in isolated parts of the country, away from the hustle and bustle of the large cities and towns, these waterfalls offer you the chance to see another side of the island nation. These beautiful formations are refreshing to dive into on a hot Cuban summer, tranquil when listening to the rhythm flowing water, and a visual feast for the eye.

Check our Small Group Tours for Nature Photography Itineraries!