Desembarco del Granma National Park
Desembarco Del Granma National Park
Natural Cuba Latin America And The Caribbean Desembarco Del Granma National Park, South-east Corner Of The The Republic Of Cuba

Desembarco del Granma National Park, with its uplifted marine terraces and associated ongoing development of karst topography and features, represents a globally significant example of geomorphologic and physiographic features and ongoing geological processes. The area, which is situated in and around Cabo Cruz in south-west Cuba, includes spectacular terraces and cliffs, as well as some of the most pristine and impressive coastal cliffs bordering the western Atlantic.

The park contains the most unique coastal landscape that can be found in Cuba with the largest and best-preserved systems of marine terraces (both above and below sea level) on calcareous rock, which exist in the world. These systems are located on the pseudopericlines of Sierra Maestra and comprise a series of elevated limestone marine terraces extending from 360 m above sea level to 180 m below. The area lies within a tectonically active zone between the Caribbean and North American plates. The park contains most key and interrelated natural elements present in the region, including the coral reef of Cabo Cruz, seagrass beds and mangroves and old submarine terraces up to 30 m deep.

The area can be regarded as one of the most important centres of plant diversity and endemism that exist in Cuba, being only surpassed by the mountainous massifs of the east of the country. According to data a total 512 species of plants exist in the site, of which around 60% are endemic. There is also a newly defined vegetation complex on the terraces.

The site contains 13 species of mammal, 110 birds, 44 reptiles and seven amphibians. At least 23% of the mammals, 22.7% of the birds, 90.9% of the reptiles and 85.7% of the amphibians are of local or national endemism. Several species are of conservation concern including Caribbean manatee and blue-headed quail-dove.

No reliable figures concerning invertebrates are available although they have been estimated to be numerous, with particularly large numbers of molluscs and butterflies. Four out of six species of painted snail (Polymita picta, P. brocheri, P. venusta and P. versicolor) - a group of endemic molluscs considered perhaps the most beautifully coloured genus in the world - live in the area, one of which (P. brocheri) can only be found in a section of these terrace systems.

There are well-developed coral formations with associated fauna. These corals are visited by loggerhead, green, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles. There is also a colony of queen conch.

Desembargo del Granma National Park has sufficient size, altitudinal and climatic diversity and ecological elements necessary for the long-term conservation of the park's terrestrial ecosystems and in-shore marine ecosystems and their biological diversity, including endemic and migratory species.

The area has a remarkable archaeological value as it was the original settlement of groups that belonged to the Taina Culture. In the area, the local population has strong genetic and spiritual links with this group. The El Guate archaeological site includes a group of ceremonial caves. There is a well-preserved 20th-century lighthouse. Finally, most of the relevant milestones related to the Cuban Revolution took place in the area of Cabo Cruz.