Home to Cuba’s first Unesco Biosphere Reserve, Las Terrazas is an eco-village that was developed far ahead of its time. Anyone who enjoys mountainous hikes ending at waterfalls and swimming holes will be a fan of Las Terrazas eco-village in Cuba. All guides and tours can be affordably booked through Hotel Moka, Cuba’s eco-resort which functions as a model for any eco-resorts built after.
Las Terrazas, Cuba
Hotel Moka is not for the budget traveller but not to worry – we have an option for you, and depending on your travel style, it may be a better one too. Rustic cabins on Río San Juan can be booked through Hotel Moka and sit riverside just outside of the main town square of Las Terrazas eco-village. Each cabin is a treehouse-like structure where a ladder leads you to a hut with two mattresses, a window which can be perched open for a breeze, and a million-dollar view. For $15USD/night (including a moderate breakfast) a night’s stay at this eco-hideaway is just what the doctor prescribed if you’re looking for your own piece of forest heaven. Snacks and beverages, including beer, can be purchased from the cafeteria beside the river and a full day can be restfully spent riverside in the sun.
Río San Juan, Las Terrazas, Cuba
Should you opt for the beautiful and luxurious (for Cuba) Hotel Moka, the resort has the town’s only internet hotspot (cards can be purchased from the front desk), a swimming pool, fountains, and everything you’d expect from an ecolodge in Cuba.
We booked a full-day hike with a guide (going with a guide is the only option due to non-existent signage and a very high risk of getting lost) on the ‘El Taburete’ trail. This forested winding trail takes you through dense areas of the mountain, eventually ending off at the Loma el Taburete monument at the summit of the mountain. Birders will very much appreciate this hike and many others in the area. While on this hike near Las Terrazas eco-village, we saw the Cuban Trogan, which is endemic and the national bird of Cuba. Birding in Cuba is best in Las Terrazas as it provides the perfect sanctuary for many different species.
Las Terrazas, Cuba
After a couple of hours (or more, depending on the group’s fitness and the amount of birding being done) the summit greets you with vistas over the countryside as far as the eye can see – or at least until you see the Caribbean ocean. Guides are well trained in flora, fauna, and bird species and speak English well so you’ll get the most optimal and informative experience while exploring Las Terrazas. Descend down the mountain back through the forest and head on over to Río San Juan for a dip and a beverage. Or if you do as we did, a night’s stay as well.
Tourists will clear out of the area as afternoon turns to evening and you will have the Río San Juan oasis all to yourselves – along with the few other people who have also discovered the hidden treehouse-like structures. Light a candle in the evening, put on some light music and pull out a deck of cards – travelling in Cuba done right. It seems that there are not many opportunities to stay in these types of accommodation, which are more often found in south-east Asia or mainland Central America – so soak it in. The next day, we drove to Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) for a seaside retreat, which was a favourite spot in Cuba.
You’ll likely need to take your rental car to get to Las Terrazas eco-village, and if so, we highly recommend checking out our Top Offline Apps to Road Trip With post and our Guide to Road Tripping and Traveling Cuba post.
Author: Eco Escape Travel | Date: May 7, 2017