Last night we transferred to Hotel Islazul on the shores of Lake Hanabanilla which is actually a man-made reservoir built by the Americans. The hotel dates back to the times when the Russians subsidised the economy and Cubans received free holidays each year. The backdrop of the Escambray mountains makes it an idyllic setting even if the food isn't the best. In fact this was the only place that we have been in Cuba where we were served something inedible - it was only the soup course so no big deal. I suggested to our guide Adrian that he point out to the waitress that there was something wrong with it but he declined saying that he might have to stay here again with other customers! So it was left to me to make the point but there wasn't a flicker of recognition in her face that it was anything other than our problem. Such is a culture where it gets you nowhere to 'complain' - or maybe worse! Long live the Revolucion? But the times are changing.
On a short walk from the hotel we saw a Cuban Emerald and several Queen Danaus gilippus. These butterflies are closely related to the Monarch and a Caribbean Banner Lucinia sida just a short way from the hotel.
There was an osprey over the lake in the morning along with a limpkin, pied-billed grebe, lesser scaup and 2 white-collared swifts while in the garden were cuban parrots, yellowthroat and two cuban oriole feeding on flowers in one of the trees. Amongst the butterflies were a female Dorantes Longtail Urbanus dorantes that was busy laying on small Leguminosae plants, and also Ceraunus Blue Hemiargus ceraunus and Barred Yellow Eurema daira. This species can be difficult to split from Eurema elathea but in this instance with the sun shining through the closed wings you can see the broad curved black bar on the trailing edge of the forewing showing through.
On our second day here we took a boat ride across the lake and then started hiking up a steep narrow trail and had a great view from the top where we also had excellent views of Caribbean Daggerwing Marpesia eleuchea. We also saw both Devilliers and Androgeus Swallowtails but neither stopped to be photographed.
And then it was back down the hill, back on the boat and this time to a little isolated restaurant on the far shore accessible only by boat where we had a late lunch.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.