The Community
of Baracoa

    Baracoa land snail - Polymita

Baracoa is a city and municipality in the Guantànamo Province near the eastern tip of Cuba.

Baracoa by the Ocean

Baracoa is the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba and was its first capital.

Colonial Architecture Baracoa

Nearby are the rivers Miel and Toa, the latter of which has many waterfalls. Salto Fino is the highest waterfall in the Caribbean. Baracoa cuisine includes typical dishes such as Cucurucho and Bacàn, and of course chocolate is a specialty in this organic cocoa-producing region.

Baracoa Chocolate Factory

The Colorful Polymitas

    Colorful Polymitas grouped

Polymitas Community Project
Pablo Leyva Rivera

Polymitas are colorful land snails which are endemic to Cuba. They are seen in the island's eastern province of Oriente - in Baracoa, Santiago de Cuba, Guantànamo and Punta de Maisí.

We are so grateful for the efforts of Pablo Leyva Rivera, who along with the community have made it their mission to protect the polymitas from poachers and collectors. He is the caretaker of a vast number of polymitas in Baracoa, and has worked hard to protect these gifts from nature.

We help to promote these efforts by bringing groups of people to experience the colorful snails in their natural habitat, and also by creating awareness of the preservation required to save the polymitas. Our trips generate revenue for this community endeavor aimed at ensuring their survival.

Pablo Leyva Rivera Tells Us About the Polymitas (In Spanish)

          Polymitas land snails Cuba       


The word polymitas comes from poly- (many) and mitos- (threads), and looking at them you can see threads of many colors creating beautiful effects as they follow the spiral shape of the shell.

Over time they have survived by eating what is readily available in this humid ecosystem, such as moss, lichen and other fungi. This feeding process does not endanger the host tree in any way, and in fact, is valued by agriculturists for its ability to contribute to the health of the tree, rather than harming the tree, which other snails are notorious for.

Yellow Polymita on LeafPolymitas land snails in a basket Cuba

These beautiful and rare creatures, fragile in their environment, are being poached for their colorful shells and are in danger of extinction. There are many who prefer to exploit rather than save the polymitas, pulling them off the trees and destroying their environment.

For now, we are fortunate that Pablo and his community have maintained these habitats, allowing the polymitas to decorate the landscape with their beautiful array of colors as they travel around in search of food.