Nowadays, there is no doubt that, when asked, everyone would choose sustainable travel over regular travel. We are more aware than ever of the importance of preserving the earth and all it has to offer. Then, why are some travelers scared of choosing ecotourism? In our experience as a specialized agency, the problem is a common belief: sustainable travel equals giving up all commodities and fun activities.
At Espíritu Travel we know that sustainable travel to Cuba doesn’t have to exclude fun activities such as glorious sunbathing, scuba diving or snorkeling. In fact, Cuba’s sustainable development is on a good track. The Sustainable Development Index (SDI), which measures the ecological efficiency of human development in a country, places Cuba on the top five of its ranking. The Caribbean island is prepared to offer responsible travel without having to compromise on the enjoyment of your trip or the quality of your accommodation, you just have to look for the right options. A great example of Cuba ‘s sustainable development is Las Terrazas.
What are Las Terrazas in Cuba?
Placed on the western side of the island, about an hour drive from Havana, you can find one of the main centers of Cuban ecotourism: Las Terrazas. It all started in 1968 with an eco-project led by Camilo Cienfuegos, an important figure in the Cuban Revolution, who wanted to recover the area from the damage caused by the intensive cultivation of coffee in the 19th century. The project was a success and, in 1985, the 5,000 hectares of the area were declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Las Terrazas became a small rural tourist community of sustainable development, offering people a unique environment to connect with nature.
Best places to visit in Las Terrazas, Cuba
The lush nature that covers and surrounds Las Terrazas is undoubtedly captivating. The place is home to hundreds of endemic birds and other unique flora and fauna that you won’t be able to witness anywhere else in the world. The area is also full of beautiful water formations such as Río San Juan which ends in a stunning waterfall where you can have a relaxing dip. You can also rent rowboats or water bikes when visiting its lake: Lago San Juan.
If you are the adventurous type, one of the best things to do in Cuba, particularly in Las Terrazas, is to enjoy its canopy circuit. Its 1600 meters assure an adrenaline rush and great views to those who dare try it out. For those who prefer a more relaxing activity, there are also plenty of hiking trails to enjoy the beautiful landscape. Our favorite ones are: El Taburete, Sendero La Serafina (La Serafina Trail), Sendero Las Delicias (Las Delicias Trail).
But that is not all, the ecovillage also offers a variety of art galleries and ruins that provides a different perspective of the area. In addition, you have the possibility of exploring the old coffee plantations. In the 19th century, there were a total of 54 coffee farms in the Las Terrazas. You can now visit their ruins and imagine how life was back then.
When and how to get to Las Terrazas?
Visiting Cuba, Las Terrazas, and not being able to enjoy outdoor activities because of the bad weather would be devastating. For that reason, the dry season which runs from the end of December to May is the best time to visit the area.
In terms of how to get there, Las Terrazas is very close to Havana which means it is very easy to arrange day trips from there.
If you are interested in visiting Las Terrazas (Cuba) or planning a trip to the island under the values of ecotourism, you can contact Espíritu Travel. We love Cuba and, therefore, we offer ecotourism trips which help people to travel in a sustainable way without losing comfort and bringing the experience closer to the real Cuba. To read more about other places to enjoy Cuba’s sustainable development, you can also check on this blog.