Soroa and Las Terrazas

Situated in the stunning mountainous region of Sierra del Rosario (Pinar del Rio province) lie the secluded eco-tourism resorts of Soroa and Las Terrazas. Surrounded by emerald-green mountains, sweeping valleys and lush vegetation, visitors to the region will encounter an abundance of flora and fauna with birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, cycling and mountain climbing all possibilities. Swimming in the inviting natural pools of the San Juan River is also an opportunity not to be missed.

Running along the eastern edge of the Guaniguanico mountain range is Sierra del Rosario - an area boasting some of Cuba’s most beautiful scenery. It was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1985 and is home to a bewildering array of flora and fauna. This abundancy of nature can perhaps be best appreciated with a visit to the eco-tourist areas of Soroa and Las Terrazas

Soroa

Soroa is poetically referred to as ‘the rainbow of Cuba’ and as soon as you arrive it’s easy to see why. Situated 70 km west of Havana, the vibrant floral diversity here is picture-postcard beautiful with over 700 varieties of ferns, wild orchids, trees and shrubs. Perhaps the area’s most notable attraction is its spectacular 22-metre waterfall – the perfect spot for a cooling dip in the heat of the midday sun.

Popular activities in the area include cycling, hiking, horseback riding and mountain climbing and there are numerous areas to explore further afield in the surrounding countryside. A notable point of interest worth seeking out is the botanical garden named Orquideario. Along with its mesmerizing display of flora, visitors will have the chance to spot an incredible range of birdlife. Around 70 different species of birds have been catalogued here, many of which endemic to Cuba.

Las Terrazas

Las Terrazas was originally established in 1968 as an eco-village that was tasked with reforesting the heavily logged area. The local community established here replanted trees along the terraces of the hillside, helping to regenerate areas of deforestation. Their homes were also designed to seamlessly blend in with the environment.

The community continues to play a vital role in this project of sustainability, aided and funded by the tourists that flock to the beauty of this remote landscape. This tourist income has proven essential to the community’s gradual development, helping to fund a new library, museum and café.

While staying at Hotel Moka (the community’s only hotel), most people take the chance to head out on scenic hikes, horseback rides and cycling trips. A cooling dip in the natural pools of the San Juan River (created by the river’s natural terracing) is also an essential experience.

Tourists often combine a visit to Las Terrazas with a trip to the remains of the region’s former French-run coffee plantations, including the once thriving farms such as Hacienda Unión and Cafetal Buenavista. Art studios and pottery workshops can also be found in the nearby village.

An Easy Escape

Just a short bus ride from Havana, Soroa and Las Terrazas both offer a quick and easy escape from the buzz of the city. You can also visit as part of a stopover on a day trip to Viñales, while numerous tour operators also offer one day excursions. However long you decide to stay, anyone looking to discover the majestic landscape of Cuba, both locations offer the perfect base from which to explore what is arguably one of the finest scenery in the island’s western province.


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