The Marvelously Real
TRAVELING TO CUBA AND FAILING TO DROP BY TANQUE AZUL AND LA GRIETA, IN THE PROVINCE OF HOLGUIN, MEANS MISSING OUT ON THE CHANCE TO GET AWED BY SOMETHING NATURE BUFFS ALWAYS CALL FOR
For true nature lovers, there are two sites in eastern Cuba they just can't pass up; otherwise, they'd be letting go of an opportunity to meet the marvelously real: Tanque Azul (Blue Tank), nestled in the Caletones Protected Ecological Reserve, in the so-called “white village of crabs”, Gibara; and La Grieta (The Crack), perched on Cerro de Yaguajay, in the municipality of Banes. They share something in common: they are both passionately run by Empresa Agroforestal Holguín.
A trip to unravel the beauties of an underwater world, through different and exciting forms of recreational scuba diving is the smart choice picked by those who make up their minds to delve into Tanque Azul, the largest flooded cave on the island. Its two interconnected main entrances (a west and an east entrance) make it the most complex underwater exploration you could ever do in Cuba. Yet the possibility to take a closer look at this paradise of stalactites, stalagmites, columns and mantles is worth the effort. They do pack a wallop among those who venture into pond of crystalclear waters and bluish reflections this enclave owes its name to.
Given its high natural and scenery values, let alone its well-rooted rural traditions, La Grieta is no doubt an irresistible site for those who opt to do trekking and trailblazing. Located in the limestone heights of Maniabon, the climbing those 286 meters above sea level is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have a close encounter with 110 plants from 50 different vegetable species –many of them hail exclusively from this location- that make visitors catch their breath as they walk 1.2 km full of fresh air, adventure and an environment to remember for forever more.