Situated almost directly between Havana and Viñales Valley, the rolling mountains of the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve provide an easy, adventurous escape from the Cuban capital. Hidden within its nearly 270 sq. km of tropical/semi-deciduous forests you'll find everything from lakes, rivers and waterfalls to hiking trails through abandoned coffee plantations and undulating roadways just begging to be biked. And as if that wasn't enough, its flora and fauna include unique orchids, endemic plant species, more birds and lizards than you can shake a stick at and some of the tiniest frogs on planet Earth.
If you're planning on accessing all this natural goodness, your best bets will be either via the diminutive town of Soroa (approx. 90 km west of Havana) or the more tourist-friendly Las Terrazas about 15 km farther east. This latter option, located on the quaint but beautiful Lago San Juan, plays gateway to plenty of relatively easy adventures including a 7 km trek (Cañada del Infierno) through the Bayate River valley, the always refreshing natural Baños (baths) along the San Juan River, and even an available zip line directly over the lake. If you're craving something a little more secluded, try the beautiful, hill-strewn bike ride from Las Terrazas to Soroa. From here you can take in some incredible views along the 2-hr round trip Mirador de Venus hike, or opt for a swim/hike up the unmistakable Salto de Soroa waterfall. In such a vast area, you're sure to find plenty of other options, so check our resources for more ideas and give yourself 1-2 days to explore.
Location:Pinar del Río, Cuba