Nature Tourism in Pinar del Río
By Robert F. Campos Photos by José Tito Meriño, Vladimir Molina and Adalys Pilar Mireles
An impressive area with beautiful natural scenery constitutes the place chosen for the next Nature Tourism Event (Turnat) which will take place in September 2015
In a world full of big cities, environmental contamination and the danger that implies climatic change, finding a place to rest such as Pinar del Río in Cuba is a true gift.
This is the country´s westernmost territory with wonderful characteristics, among them Cuba´s tobacco plantations considered to be the best in the world.
With an area of 10,925 square kilometers and a population of 738,302, this area was originally named the “New Philippines”, when the first government was established in the province.
Four years later it adopted the name it has today, reflecting its geographical position, along with the Guamá River surrounded with extensive pine forests. Also since 1984 approximately 25 hectares of its forests were designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Its very attractive landscape attracts thousands of tourists each year, particularly the Viñales Valley as well as the Valleys of San Vicente and that of Dos Hermanas.
The Viñales Valley in particular is one of the most wellknown touristic places on the Island. It covers an area of 132 square kilometers and is part of the Guaniguanico mountain range.
It has a geological make-up of limestone, slate, schist and sandstone, is 11 kilometers long and approximately five kilometers wide. On it operate three recognized hotel establishments: Los Jazmines, La Ermita and Rancho San Vicente.
In the Pinar del Río territory in general, there exist approximately 10,000 caves. The most well-known are: Cueva del Indio, la Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás and the Majagua-Canteras y Palmarito, the largest in the country.
Connaisseurs recommend a visit to the Las Terrazas Tourist Complex, covering 5,000 hectares and where the elegant Moka Hotel is located. Also very popular is Soroa with its beautiful orchidarium. In addition, the San Diego de los Baños Spa, the Los Portales Cave and the actual city of Pinar del Río are mustsees.
Due to a new political - geographical reorganization in the country, Las Terrazas became part of Artemisa province, but for the villagers it keeps on being part of Pinar del Río.
Other attractions are Cayo Levisa (Levisa Key), the International Diving Center Maria La Gorda, the 849 Roncali Lighthouse, the Laguna Grande (Big Lagoon), Maspotón and other places related to nature, tobacco and culture.
10th Edition of the Nature Tourism Event Every two years Turnat holds its event in Cuba in different locations and its 10th edition will take place from September 22 to September 27, 2015, in the province of Pinar del Río.
The archipelago is an excellent destination for nature and adventure lovers. It is a small country but with many attractions. Within its roughly 110,000 square kilometers it is home to six Biosphere Reserves and six Ramsar Wetlands.
It also has two Natural World Heritage Sites as well as 14 Nature Reserves, endorsing the importance put on the protection of the island´s environmental heritage by the authorities.