Tourists talk with a Cuban woman (left) in Havana on June 16, 2017. (YAMIL LAGE / AFP)
HAVANA - Cuban specialists are preparing a presentation to apply for Vinales, the main tourism site of the Western province of Pinar del Rio, to become the first UNESCO Global Geopark in Cuba.
Mario Alberto Sanchez, director of the Vinales National Park, recalled that the site, renowned for its picturesque views, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, for its harmony between man and nature and for its preservation of ancient artistic and agricultural traditions.
He explained that the presentation will show that Vinales contains many caves with remnants of indigenous communities, such as cave art, as well as paleontological remains.
This includes the Great Cave of Santo Tomas, which has 46 kilometers of galleries, distributed over seven levels.
The area also has evidence of the meteorite impact that scientists believe killed the dinosaurs, as well as fossils of fish and reptiles which inhabited the Jurassic Period (around 66 million years ago).
The initiative must meet with support from the Cuban Geological Service and the Ministry of Energy and Mines to meet the conditions for being a UNESCO Global Geopark.
A version with clearly identified sites of geological and geographical interest can apply to become a Geopark, as defined by UNESCO, while the areas must also offer a plan for protection, education and sustainable development.
As of November 2015, there are 119 UNESCO Global Geoparks spread across 33 countries.