Las Terrazas National Park
Las Terrazas National Park was once a deforested landscape of scrubby grassland in western Cuba, 74km from Havana; however, the area was chosen by Fidel Castro as the site for an experiment in re-establishing the forests and original lush tropical vegetation, using a terracing technique on the hillsides. The project was a huge success, gaining interest from around the world and UNESCO designated the local community and its land a biosphere reserve in 1985. Another example of Cuba leading the way!
The village has a population of about 1,000 and several hotels and restaurants catering for tourists. The nature reserve includes 5000 ha of the secondary forest which was planted on the surrounding (deforested) hills by building terraces to avoid erosion; hence the name (in Spanish, Terrazas means terraces).
The local guides are dedicated and passionate about the reserve and have fantastic local knowledge. They can also show the partially restored coffee plantation buildings that stand testament to the close relationship with coffee and the former slave trade in this area of Cuba. You can rise early for guided birdwatching, walking trails, or take a short climb to the top of the Taburete Mountain, the location of Che Guevara’s revolutionary training sessions before the failed Bay of Pigs US-backed invasion. You can then relax afterwards at the beautiful and peaceful San Juan River.
Las Terrazas has many interesting and unique restaurants to enjoy, including a traditional Cuban restaurant at the home of a local farmer, and a trendy organic vegetarian restaurant that sources its ingredients from the local area and serves tasty dishes, even for the non-vegetarian.
A unique experience in Cuba, a few nights at Las Terrazas is certainly worthwhile and enjoyable.
The reserve is rich in flora and fauna and includes lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. Organised excursions on the many footpaths and trails can be booked at the local tourist office. You can also visit the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve.
Another option we have available for lovers of adventures, trekking or hiking, is the rental of tents and also for the fans of excursions. Undoubtedly one of the best options to take into account if you decide to be directly in contact with nature, they have the capacity for 2 and 4 people, offer good ventilation and withstand light rain well. They can be found at two points inside the Las Terrazas National Park Complex, at Rancho Curujey and at the San Juan River Baths. But we also have space rental for those who bring their own tent.
Ask us about staying in the park during your next trip to Cuba. Call us free on 0800 270 7644.
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