Illustration by Dawn Cooper
1. Hawksbill turtle, Cayo Largo del Sur
Hawksbill turtle ©Dave Fleetham/Getty
Hawksbills arrive at Cayo Largo to lay their eggs between April and September. There is a turtle conservation project here whereby eggs are taken and hatched, giving hatchlings a better chance of survival when they are released.
2. Antillean manatee, Humedal Río Máximo-Cagüey
The same species (but separate subspecies) to that found in Florida, the Antillean manatee does well In this protected are of mangroves and swamp evergreen forests.
3. Bee hummingbird, Guanahacabibes Peninsula
Bee hummingbird © Roberto Machado Noa / Getty
These are not just any humpback whales – they are bubble-netting humpback whales, and they have been the subject of a unique scientific study stretching back 20 years.
4. Cuban parakeet, Finca La Belén, Camagüey
Cuban parakeet © Glenn Bartley / Getty
South of the town of Najasa, on poor roads, Finca La Belén is both a working ranch and a government-run hotel. You can see plenty of endemic bird species here, such as giant kingbirds and Cuban parakeets.
5. French angelfish, Playa Pesquero
French angelfish ©Eco UIG / Getty
Renowned as one of the best snorkelling sites in Cuba, Playa Pesquero is a good location to see a huge variety of reef fish, including the beautiful French angelfish.
6. Cuban crocodile, Zapata Peninsula
Cuban crocodile © wildestanimal / Getty
Zapata National Park is important for its extensive wetlands that provide the best habitat in Cuba for this endemic crocodile.
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