December 20, 2022

Cienaga de Zapata

It was time to begin winding up our idyllic, eye-opening journey through a large swath of central Cuba and return to the capitol city of Havana. After a week on the road visiting Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Playa Larga and surrounding areas our senses were on overload trying to absorb the totality of our personal experiences. early morning was spent in the Parque Nacional Cienaga de Zapata in the Salinas de Brito bird refuge. After driving through semi-deciduous forest, mangroves and swamp forests we emerged into the marshes where an astounding variety of bird life congregates in the winter. Flocks of bright pink flamingos were easily spotted feeding in the shallow water alongside herons, egrets, cranes and other aquatic bird life. Immense flocks of pelicans flew overhead above the wading birds below. By summer these birds will all have disappeared and migrated back to their northern homes. The refuge is a special and beautiful place and an important sanctuary for thousands of migratory birds. Another inhabitant in the refuge is the crocodile but thankfully we did not see any. The park ranger with us asked us what we should do if we came across a crocodile. The answer? RUN!