Boca de Guama, Cuba

Boca de Guama is the main tourist hub of the Zapata Peninsula in Cuba. There is a restaurant, souvenir shop and snack bar built in the local Taíno style. The Taínos were the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the region and generally lived in circular buildings, supported by poles, covered with straw and palm leaves.

There is a nearby tourist resort called Villa Guama which is built to replicate the style of a Taíno village on a series of man-made islands and bridges in the middle of a lagoon. The resort can be reached by boat from Boca de Guama and it is said to have been commissioned by Fidel Castro who was a regular visitor, sleeping in cabin number 33. It is a great place for bird watching and fishing.

The main attraction of Boca de Guama is its crocodile farm where crocodiles are bred and reared for commercial purposes. It also runs a conversation and management programme for the protection of the wild crocodile population in the nearby swamps.

It was founded by one of Castro’s close advisors, Celia Sánchez, who was determined to replenish the falling crocodile population. Today there are nearly 3,000 crocodiles on the farm along with other local animals such as deer, hutias (rodents) and manjuaríe (large fish). Visitors can learn about the breeding and rearing process and the curious can sample crocodile steak in the farm restaurant.

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