Nature, history, culture and recreation in Las Terrazas
Por Nina Pereira
In the Sierra del Rosario, a Biosphere Reserve in western Cuba, is the community and the tourist complex of Las Terrazas, for many, one of the most attractive and rewarding places in this Caribbean archipelago.
Nature, history, culture, recreation ... come together in that place, where there is no one of the famous Cuban beaches or the luxury of large hotels, but where the casual visitor, in general, always wants to return later.
Natural area previously affected by the exploitation of its resources and the coffee plantations of colonial times, at the end of the 1960s an intense reforestation project was undertaken through a system of consecutive terraces and the formation of a peasant settlement oriented to tourism and sustainable development.
In February 1971, the rural community of Las Terrazas was inaugurated, today with just over a thousand inhabitants with an average age of 33 years, and in September 1994, the Moka hotel opened its doors, a four-star category with 42 rooms, all in harmony with the privileged natural environment.
Bathing in the crystalline waters of the San Juan River, with small waterfalls under which it is a pleasure to sit for a long time without envying jacuzzis. Also, excursions, restaurants where you can taste Cuban cuisine, an ecological museum, workshops for creators of fine arts and the cultivation of other cultural manifestations are among the various attractions of the place.
In that region, Fernando Borrego Linares (1955-2002), known as Polo Montañez, a popular idol of rural music in Cuba and other countries, was born, performed and composed songs that later went around the world.
The house where he lived is one of the places that can be visited to learn about the life of this extraordinary creator, with the backdrop of Cuban popular music and his own songs, with which he immortalized the authentic rhythm of the Cuban fields in Gold and Platinum records.
History also left its traces on those properties, whose mountains were a refuge for fugitive slaves (maroons) and the seat of the independence campaign in the west of the island in the 19th century.
The expansion of coffee production in the region, left vestiges of 44 coffee plantations that existed there which can be appreciated. Due to its diverse values, the Las Terrazas Cultural Landscape, extends in an area of 5,300 hectares, which was declared a National Monument of the Republic of Cuba last year.