Things to do in Las Terrazas and Soroa? Lying within Cuba’s westernmost province, Pinar del Rio and only 70 km or so from Havana, these two places offer the visitor an alternative perspective on Cuba than that they have experienced in the capital. It’s well worth making the short trip west to this sublimely beautiful countryside that is home the eco-resorts of both Las Terrazas and Soroa.
Top things to do in Las Terrazas Cuba and Soroa
Without doubt, the biggest attraction for visitors to Las Terrazas is it’s stunning natural beauty. Boasting abundant greenery, rippling lakes and wondrous mountain scenes, many are surprised to learn that the region was uninhabited until the late 1960s. It was only then that a determined effort was made to reforest the area after years of heavy logging.
Many are also surprised to learn that Las Terrazas also has a zip-line that takes you right through the lush forest canopy! It’s one of the best things to do in Las Terrazas The series of six zip-lines start at the Hotel Moka and runs right over the village crossing the nearby lake not once but twice!
Visit the old coffee plantations
Las Terrazas was actually first stumbled upon by French Haitians in 1790 and it wasn’t long until they began planting coffee on the man-made terraces from which the village takes its name. Unfortunately, it was impossible to create a viable industry out of the coffee planted here and people soon turned to foresting instead.
However wandering through the ruins of the plantations are a wonderful way to spend the day with Cafetal Buenavista being one of the best preserved ones. Here you’ll uncover the remains of the coffee bean drying houses, an ox-driven grinder and former slave quarters over two centuries old.
Take a swim in the natural pools
A dip in the Baños del Rio San Juan is a fantastic way to cool off when the Cuban heat gets a little too much. Picnic tables overlook the natural water pools and your surrounded by the natural beauty of the jungle. The pools can be reached from the Hotel Moka by travelling 3kms down on a narrow and unpaved road. There is a small entrance fee.
Horseback riding and hiking
Las Terrazas – which has been part of a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1985- can be explored by foot or on horseback. A good number of hiking trails of various lengths wind their way through the mountainous terrain around Las Terrazas. Not only are these trails great for straight up hiking, but also for bird spotting. Woodpeckers, Cuban Todys and Cuban Trogans have all been sighted in the area. Alternatively, why not consider exploring all Las Terrazas has to offer on two wheels rather than two feet. Bicycles are available to rent and motorbike tours are also an option!
One of the most popular hiking trails is El Contento, a 7.6km that explores the ruins El Contento and San Ildefenso.
Two hours from Havana lies Soroa, a great outdoor destination in the heart of the Sierra del Rosario biosphere reserve. The hiking trails and horse tracks lead to a huge array of hidden delights, including the lookout of Mirador de Venus, which offers some of the most magical views of the area and the El Salto waterfall that has a drop of
more than 22 metres into a natural swimming pool below
Check out the ambience
Don’t forget to check out this small village of Las Terrazas itself. Although many of its buildings might look a little worse for wear, with fading white paint covering their concrete constructions, they hide a wealth of surprises.
Stroll around the pueblo of Las Terrazas and you’ll quickly discover all manner
of artist’s studios filled with locally produced sculptures, paintings and pottery,
Should you get hungry there are also a number of great local restaurants too.
Soroa Orchid Garden
Roughly 20 minutes by road from Las Terrazas is Soroa, which takes its name from the French owner of the nineteenth century coffee plantation that was once in the area.
Set in a beautiful valley, Soroa boasts the beautiful Soroa Orchid Garden.
Stretching over a hillside dotted with greenhouses, ferns and mature trees, the Soroa Orchid Garden is the best place to see the 250 species of orchid that are native to Cuba (as well as a great many more besides), and enjoy the tranquillity of this spot of paradise. To get the most out of your time at El Orquideario, as it’s known locally,
make sure you take the services of an expert guide.
Seemingly a world away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, Las Terrazas and Soroa are easily reached by bus, car and taxi. Once you’re done here you can easily skip to nearby Vinales, a mere one and half hours away.