The Best Birdwatching Spots in Cuba

Cuban emerald hummingbird (chlorostilbon ricordii), Cienaga de Zapata, Cuba
Cuban emerald hummingbird (chlorostilbon ricordii), Cienaga de Zapata, Cuba | © Sergey Uryadnikov / Shutterstock
Jack Guy

Cuba is home to some amazing stretches of untouched wilderness that have been well protected by the government. Among its rich fauna and flora is a number of beautiful bird species, and we’ve rounded up the best areas to go birdwatching on the island.

La Guira Park

Over in western Cuba, the pine forests and semi-tropical forests of the Sierra del Rosario are another top spot for birdwatching. Around 100 different species live here, including the Cuban solitaire, Gundlach’s hawk and Fernandina’s flicker. Las Terrazas eco-park is a great starting point, and it’s within easy reach of Havana on the road towards Pinar del Rio.

Fernandina’s flicker (colaptes fernandinae), a Cuban endemic, is the most endangered woodpecker species in the world

Cayo Coco

Most famous for its beaches and luxury hotels, Cayo Coco is also a paradise for birdwatching. It’s surrounded by mangroves, sand dunes and seagrass, which are home to more than 200 species of bird. Stay in Cayo Coco and take a day trip to uninhabited Cayo Paredón Grande for even more adventure.

Sierra de Najasa

The limestone karst area of the Sierra de Najasa is home to the peak of El Chorrillo, in the Camaguey province. Head to Ranch La Belen and explore the birding trails to see the sharp-shinned hawk and the Cuban parrot among other gems.

Sharp-shinned hawk in Cuba

Cuchillas del Toa

Head to eastern Cuba to visit this mountain range, with pine forest, coastal bays, and rainforest. There are 12 endemic species just waiting to be spotted, and the area is also home to the rarest bird in Cuba, the ivory-billed woodpecker.

Vinales Valley

This beautiful valley is one of the most popular tourist spots in Cuba, but it’s also a great spot for birdwatching. Check into Hotel Los Jazmines, with its amazing pool overlooking the valley, and explore the trails that snake around the area.

A stamp printed by Cuba shows the Cuban solitaire (myadestes elisabeth)

Zapata National Park

This swamp, salt flats and scrubland is found near the River Hatiguanico in the south of the country. Cuba is home to 21 endemic bird species, and 18 of them are found here. Take a guided tour to explore the birding trails, and keep an eye out for the crocodiles that also live here.

Baracoa

On the far eastern end of the island lies the city of Baracoa, which used to be the capital of Cuba. Today it’s a small town, but the mountains outside are home to many endemic species.

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