CIEGO DE ÁVILA._ Considered a gift of nature because of rare stalactite and stalagmite formations, the Boquerón cave system welcomes hundreds of foreign and national visitors each year.
Located in the municipality of Florencia, in Ciego de Ávila province, this cave system extends along the Jatibonico mountain range, bordering Sancti Spíritus province and serves as a natural boundary between the two central Cuban territories.
The caves feature the underground Jatibonico del Norte River path, making it an ideal place for ecotourists and nature lovers interested in bird and reptile watching and those who appreciate lush vegetation.
Rocky outcrops surrounded by leafy trees captivate visitors and entice those with a fondness for high-risk rock climbing.
The cave under one of the outcrops bathed by the Jatibonico del Norte River is a natural attraction not found anywhere else in Cuba. The place takes its name from that unusual geographical feature, because the word boquerón means large hollow.
Beautiful landscapes abound along the eight kilometres covered by hikers from the town of Florencia to the caves. On the way, they have he opportunity to talk with local farmers about culture, tobacco plantations and other typical Cuban crops.
The Boquerón caves are of fluvial origin, comprising more than six kilometres of astonishing galleries and underwater passages.
It is a protected area that forms part of the Buenavista Biosphere Reserve, with great aesthetic values due to the presence of underground karstic formations.
Comprising 49 caves, this place, which is of great scientific, educational and tourist interest, also has huge historical significance for Cuba.
It served as a refuge for indigenous communities who left their artistic mark in wall pictographs which are representative of their lifestyles, their tools, their gods, and the veneration of their dead.
Specialists say that the caves began to form over a million years ago by the action of the river water and are still an object of study due to their historical, paleontological, and archaeological values.
Consequently, actions are carried out to maintain the ecosystemic balance and protect and preserve surrounding natural resources, particularly its biodiversity and endemic species including molluscs.
Fossilized remains of bats and rodents have been found on site, and 27 species of molluscs listed, some of them endemic to the region.
Likewise, the caves have the only two iso-tubular stalagmite columns that exist in the country.
The Boquerón caves also provided refuge to Cuban fighters during the independence wars and later on during the pre-revolutionary period.
On October 5, 1958, the Antonio Maceo Column of the Rebel Army led by Commander Camilo Cienfuegos made a stop in the place known as Hoyo de los Indios (Indians’ Hollow) as they brought their campaign from the country’s east to the center.
In that place, local farmers supplied the invading troops with food, shoes, clothing, and medicine. After resting for a while, they continued advancing to the province of Las Villas (today Villa Clara).
In addition to exquisite Cuban dishes, visitors can enjoy mountain greenery, a large number of bird species and the quiet river while riding horses or bathing in fresh springs.Share on FB Share on TT