Northeast of Yaguajay the sugarcane fields meld into the swampy coastal flats, now protected within Parque Nacional Caguanas. Parque Nacional Caguanas harbors almost 200 species of fauna, including Cuba’s largest colony of cranes—an endemic subspecies of the Graus canadensis nesiotes crane.
A highlight is the park’s 35 or so caves with subterranean galleries and pre-Columbian petroglyphs. Iguanas are found on Cayo Piedra.
Parque Nacional Caguanas is part of the 313,503-hectare Reserva de la Biosfera Buenavista, enshrining 11 separate protected areas.
Just east of Mayijagua, Islazul’s Villa San José del Lago (tel. 041/54-6108, fax 041/54-6290, sjlagoscomercial [at] enet [dot] cu, CUC14 s, CUC22 d year-round) is a modest spa resort with a lagoon with pedal-boats and rowboats, plus three swimming pools (one with thermal water). The 30 simple air-conditioned cabinas have satellite TV and modern bathrooms. Massages and mud treatments are offered. It’s popular with Cubans and gets lively on weekends.
Access to Parque Nacional Caguanas is via Mayijagua, about 15 kilometers east of Yaguajay.
Getting to the park is another matter: The dirt road is fit for four-wheel drive only. EcoTur (Carretera Meneses–Yaguajay, Km 1.5, tel. 041/54-7417, ffauna [at] yag [dot] co [dot] cu) offers excursions here and to the nearby Área Protegida Jobo Rosado, also with caves and trails.