Cuba: Wild Island of the Caribbean

Cuba’s political and economic isolation has provided the outside world little opportunity to see its wildlife … until now. It may be renowned for its politics and its cigars, but Cuba is home to some of the most unusual creatures on earth, including the feisty Cuban crocodile, the world’s smallest bird and frog, and migrating land crabs.

Cuba’s diverse wildlife stems from its unique natural history. Cuba was not originally in the Caribbean Sea but in the Pacific Ocean, where the island was situated 100 million years ago, before the forces of continental drift slowly brought it into the Caribbean. As the island migrated over the ages, an astonishing variety of life arrived by air, sea, and possibly by land bridges that may have once existed. Over time, these animals adapted to their new environment. Today, more than half of Cuba’s plants and animals, including more than 80 percent of its reptiles and amphibians, are found nowhere else on the planet.

Protected by its isolation, the wildlife of Cuba has remained naturally preserved, untouched, and unexplored. Through a special arrangement with the Cuban government, unprecedented access was granted to film the island’s natural riches.

Join NATURE in exploring Cuba’s coral reefs, swamps, forests, and caves to uncover the astonishing diversity of life on the island.

Online content for Cuba: Wild Island of the Caribbean was posted January 2005.

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  • Lourdes Cabral

    I am from Cuba, and I think this is a very beautiful work. Congratulations, Lourdes Cabral

  • Yelcka Rodriguez

    I am interested in the name of a song in this documentary. Words: Sabrosa – mi tierra – mi amor es por ti. Is there a soundtrack? Any information you might be able to give me is much appriciated. Thank you, Yelcka

  • liv

    hello i am olivia and im from canada its very nice to learn abaout this like this!!! thanks

  • Rafael J. Carrero-Suñé

    I’m from Puerto Rico but I’m so curious about Cuba that I would love to visit La Habana and all of the island soon. Isn’t it time to end this ridiculously outdated embargo so that we Americans can freely travel to the island? Fidel has enjoyed his “malanga” all along and the common people are the ones that are suffering under this embargo.

  • Chris

    That is so freaken cool. Im from GA and I just learned a lot from this information. Thankyou!! See Ya!!

  • aj

    cuba is fricken awsome hell ya

  • Julio Claret

    Dear 13- Please tell me how and $ to get a video copy of this beautiful work. Congratulations- JULIO

  • Sean

    I liked the crocodile video.

  • Omar

    Cuba is indeed a beautiful island and the people are wonderful, except for the ruling dictator and his thugs. The embargo is dated, but so is the Castro regime.

  • Bob

    An interesting show, but the mass of the Bee Hummingbird was grossly misreported.

  • Iris Bicklin

    Hi, could you tell me if you know any Cuban animals that start with “Q,” or “Z”?

  • josh

    Awesome!! If communism’s greatest shortfall is the gross misallocation of human capital maybe its greatest triumph is the resulting nonallocation of Natural i.e wild capital? No really though for a medium sized island nation that lacks a massive tourism industry its natural places are seemingly vast and pristine I cant wait to go there.

  • rollo

    i was borne there 52 years ago,it seems fiting that after their expirament. is almost is almost diying? they wish to negotiate.bravo…you dont whant to take communisum lightly.

  • alexandra svernlöv

    Beautiful and fascinating program. Where can I get the soundtrack?

  • NATURE Online

    Glad you liked it! Unfortunately, we’re not able to offer a soundtrack for this program.

  • rOK aLWAR

    The freaking embargo was caused by the communist in 1961—They stole everything, from small grocery stores to big cuban and american property. They paid nothing, and they destoryed everything….that’s the freaking cause of the embargo…..r

  • recent tourist

    Just been there on holiday and compared with the capitalist Dominican republic, Cuba is a far better place. The education levels and health care system are world class.

  • Alonso Rojas

    Beautiful documentary and beautiful island! However, Cuba is in reality an ecological disaster. The waters are contaminated and they have introduced new foreign species, like the Claria fish, that have destroyed the native species. The underground waters are salty in many areas. The government has built reservoirs on almost every river and this has created an increased rate of evaporation. Many rivers are dying. The MARABÚ, an African invasive plant, has taken over many agricultural areas. Please help!!!!


    Don’t take Communism lightly. Look at the whole world. Do you think it is a coincidence that the world started to desintegrate after 1960. Look at the U.S. May the good Lord help us all.

  • Juan Carlos


    My name is Juan Carlos Ocana. I was working for almost two years as location manager in this film “Cuba: Wild Island of the Caribbean” It was a great experience. Thanks my friend Paul Reddish (the producer) now I know many things about wildlife filming. I see you have interesting points of view about Cuban nature. It would be a pleasure to help you. Yu can write me directly to my email

    Best wishes,

    Juan Carlos

  • zahniya



  • awesome dude

    all of you guy are stuipd

  • Maxine

    i am writing a book with an island that wil have similar features and animals as cuba, this information will definately help me, thank you!

  • Luciano Perez

    Alonso Rojas is a liar and gets paid to do so!

  • Jose osorio

    I think its wonderful to care about other kinds of animals or plants that aren’t just from our place of origin or our own community:..

  • Peter Martori

    Most of the lines in the article above are not true, either lies or twisted facts and even invented facts.
    Cuba was not on the Pacific side ever in this planet. And its theoretical origins are said to be the
    orogenic activity or the tectonic plates that gave origen to volcanoes along the lines of what is today Cuba .
    Taht’s one of the untrue facts. The other one is about the “isolation” that blatantly biased is given as an excuse or the cause of the exhubernce of the vegetation and fauna. During the soviets colonization and exploitation of the island , Cuba was assisted, financed and visited by all of the nations of the East Europe Block or Camp…
    Some eighteen nations … and on top of it, neither Sapin, Canada, Mexico, Argentine, Brazil and many more nations sucha as China and Japan never broke its ties to Cuba. BTW Castro’s iasolation was such that he was sending his mercenary cannon fodder to about twenty nations in Africa, Asia and latin America…that’s how much Cuba’s Castro was “”"isolated”" !!!
    Another lie or ignorant fact by the writer of the article is that Cuba has not been explored all of it or completely..
    This is so ridiculous and gives away such ignorance on the part of the writer that we cubans would laugh for the hours …on an island long and narrow accessible by all sides and the most complete network of railroads
    together with Brittain..inexplored ares are imposible…

  • Jen

    Hmm.. disappointing. Cuba hasn’t much wildlife. Why is that?

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