Cayo Las Brujas
Cuba's central province of Villa Clara is also taking part in the dynamic development of the island's tourism industry, backed up by its exuberant nature and unique history.
The strategy to boost tourism goes beyond the so-called big island, focusing on the territories that make up the Northern Keys, which boast several kilometers of excellent beaches and a pristine environment.
A 48-km-long causeway on the sea connects the largest island of the Cuban archipelago with Santa María, Las Brujas, Ensenachos, Cobos, Majá, Fragoso, Francés, Las Picúas and Español de Adentro, among other keys.
In addition to the region's tourist potential, there exist unique conditions for the keys to be a safe haven for local flora and fauna, including such exclusive species as the rat hutia, in addition to other endemic species such as lizards, mollusks and the so-called shrike bird.
Animal diversity is complemented by the region's exuberant flora, made up of 248 species, including 91 medicinal, 72 timber, 41 resin-producing and 40 ornamental species, along beautiful underwater seascapes.
A system of channels becomes a true aquatic labyrinth between the keys, while offering a huge potential for bird-watching programs and nautical activities.
Another singularity of the region is the San Pascual boat, which ran aground near Cayo Francés almost 70 years ago, and has become a naval rarity, since it was made of reinforced concrete in San Francisco, California, in 1920.
Also known by the local people as El Pontón, many consider the ship another islet. It offers vacationers the amenities of its 10 cabins and an enviable location to enjoy the region's many attractions.
For those visiting the area, Ensenachos boasts one of the best beaches, although its small extension limits the key's development program to a maximum of 600 rooms to prevent damaging the environment.
Tourism development in some of its many keys has a transcendental importance due to their high esthetic and recreational values, beautiful beaches, and exuberant Caribbean flora and fauna, thus ratifying their huge potential for nature tourism in central Cuba.
In addition, the Fauna Preserve of the Northern Keys is located to the north of the municipalities of Sagua la Grande and Caibarién.
The preserve, which covers an area of 80,000 hectares, is home to large colonies of flamingos, as well as endemic species such as lizards and mollusks, in addition to 250 species of plants, including 40 ornamental species.
The key holds remnants of pre-Columbian cultures in caverns near the beaches, which boast beautiful underwater seascapes that provide a one-of-a-kind option for ecotourism.
Legends are also present in the region, like in the case of Las Brujas (The Witches), whose name is linked to stories about ghosts, noises and apparitions that circulated among local dwellers, although other stories refer to love encounters between a local fisherman and a young lady.
On Cayo Las Brujas is the villa of the same name, which is located in Punta Periquillo, very close to a wide strip of sand that runs for about two kilometers. The villa was built on pillars on a reef.
Very close to the villa is an airport, which can receive small- and medium-size planes, thus facilitating vacationers' access to the key.