The Hidden Gem
Soroa is a hidden gem only 85kms from Havana. With the sun glistening off of the beautiful flowing waters of the area, you will be amazed to see the rainbow rays shining off of the surface – thus awarding the region with the affectionate nickname ‘The Rainbow of Cuba’. It is a gorgeous natural area and tiny settlement named after Antonio and Lorenzo Soroa, Spanish brothers from Guipuzcoa, who owned a 19th-century coffee plantation in these hills.
It is the perfect place to enjoy nature at its best! You can start by visiting the Soroa Orchid Garden. The garden was created in 1943, it is fairly large extending over a hillside with paths leading between large trees, ferns, and greenhouses and is home to over 6,000 ornamental plants and 700 species, 250 of which are native to Cuba. A nice variety of delicate, intricately colored orchids are on display.
Soroa is also a home to Salto de Soroa a uniquely shaped waterfall that measures 22.95 metres. Hike up this majestically falls, surrounded by large trees for spectacular views or take a dip in the cool waters of the waterfalls natural swimming pools. You can also visit the Mirador de Venus, a lookout that has spectacular views of the valley.
This amazing, untouched beauty is also the perfect place to find some of Cuba’s unique birdlife or Birds Photography cuba. There are more than 50 bird species in the tropical forests of Soroa, so why not book in for a 3-hour birdwatching session in the mountains of Soroa. This is natural habitat for forest birds, including both migratory and resident birds. So get your binoculars ready as you fuel a passion for the birdlife.
It is also the perfect place to experience dinner at a local paladar to enjoy traditional Cuban hospitality. They are not easy to see with the naked eye, but your guide can take you to the best place in town!
Well kept Secret – Las Terrazas
Las Terrazas is a small community and nature reserve located in the Artemisa province in the Sierra del Rosario mountains. Built around a creek, this region was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1984. It is an authentic eco-resort. Cuba’s best kept secret.
The goal is to integrate tourism into an existing community, rather than create artificial tourist experiences. And it’s working! Las Terrazas is home to Cuba’s first canopy circuit/zip line. You can enjoy a Canopy Tour via series of 6 lines just under 1600m long, that pass over the top of the village and surrounding area. Or rent a paddle boat and take it out on Lago San Juan, a small man made lake, that is also perfect for a picnic.
Visit Cafetal Buenavista, it is the best preserved coffee plantation in Las Terrazas with tours available of the drying terraces, the tajona grindstone to process the beans and quarters that were home to 126 slaves. Part of the owner’s home is now a restaurant where you can have lunch if you wish.
Check out Casa-Museo Polo Montañez, a celebrated folk singer from the region with international fame with a gold and platinum album for his first album “Guajiro natural” in 2001.
Las Terrazas is another amazing place for birdwatching, with over 100 bird species find shelter in these forests. The vast bird population includes 16 out of the 26 endemics of Cuba and 10 globally threatened birds. There are some amazing hiking opportunities in the Sierra del Rosario region. However, you cannot hike unguided as they are somewhat difficult and the trails are unmarked. If you feel like climbing up the mountain you will find a monument of Che Guevara on top.
Las Terrazas is known as an artist community as well with four formal studios and an emphasis on art and music. The paintings you will find here reflect the beauty of the region, being of animals, landscapes or the local flowers. While there is also traditional artwork, the ingenuity of recycling and reusing items is inspiring.
These places are a must see! Check out our Group Tour itineraries that can take you here.