Santa Maria del Mar and Pinar del Río, Cuba
SANTA MARIA DEL MAR
The small resort of Santa Maria del Mar is located 20 km east of the country’s capital on the so-called “Havana Riviera”. It starts from Bakurano and runs further east through Tarara, El Megano, Santa Maria del Mar and Boca Ciega.
The location of this resort area is unique – here you can combine a relaxed pastime on the beach with an active entertainment program in Havana. There are several hotels on the nine-kilometer stretch of white sandy beach, all in close proximity to water sports centers and diving schools. On the beaches, stretching for 9 kilometers, the sand is white, very fine and delicate, washed by emerald-transparent waves, and from the magnificent cliffs created by the surf, a breathtaking view opens up.
season lasts all year round. It is hot and rainy here from May to October (hurricanes are possible in August-October). The peak of the tourist season falls on the winter period from December to April and July-August.
PINAR DEL RIO
The province of Pinar del Río, located in the extreme west of the island, has the exclusive advantage of being home to two sites declared World Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO, the Sierra del Rosario and the Guanaacabibes Peninsula. Two large mountain ranges – Sierra Organos and Sierra Rosario – cross this area from east to west. The mountain valleys are full of unreal wonders: here, in the inseparable unity of the biosphere, pines and palm trees grow almost in the neighborhood, unique giant orchids, striking in their splendor, grow in primeval forests. In addition, the province has extensive cave systems and valuable sources of mineral and healing waters; there is a group of virgin islets (Levisa, Paraiso and Hutia) and other places suitable for diving and sea sports,
This elongated and narrow part of Cuba, which first appeared on geographical maps under the name Nueva Filipinas, is considered by many to be the natural cathedral of Cuba and is identified both with the famous Viñales Valley, proclaimed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as a Cultural Landscape of Humanity, and with the fact that this is the land where grows the best tobacco in the world.
City of Pinar del Rio
Located 174 kilometers from Havana (the two cities are connected by an excellent highway), the city of Pinar del Rio is the main city of the province of the same name and was founded in 1774.
Interesting in its architecture is the Guash Palace, where the Provincial Museum of Natural Sciences is located. Be sure to visit the Melanes Theatre, as well as the Vegueros Cigar Factory, the distillery that has been hand-producing Guayabita del Pinar since 1892, a distinctive alcoholic drink that is one of the province’s distinctive products. Pinar del Rio is known not only for the production of Cuban cigars – the city has a well-established production of ceramics and fabrics.
Viñales Valley National Park
Lying in the mountains of the Sierra de los Organos, among which are the most interesting Cuban karst valleys, this valley is notable for its sheer, flat-topped hills. The Vinales Valley (Valle de Vinales) is located approximately 40 km north of Pinar del Río in the Sierra de los Organos and covers an area of 132 sq km. Here you can see the Cave of the Indian with an underground river, the large cave of Santo Tomas (inside it there are 45 km of galleries: this is one of the largest caves in Latin America), a giant “prehistoric” fresco (prehistoric people are depicted in color on a cliff 120 m high). and animals). The valley is also the most striking example of a karst valley in Cuba. Unusual rocks up to 400 meters high seem to grow out of the flat and flat land in the valley. The age of these limestone formations is 160 million years.
A special pride of Soroa is the Orchidearium – an experimental flower-growing station for breeding orchids, numbering up to 4 thousand species of these exotic tropical plants. The collection includes more than 25,000 varieties of orchids from the most remote places on the globe. Orchid in Soroa – the second, after the Boston, orchid greenhouse.
Also among the local attractions worth mentioning is the waterfall on the Manantiales River and the wonderful natural observation deck of Castillo de las Nubes on top of Mount Loma del Fuerte. The exceptional richness of the landscape and the diversity of flora and fauna make this area an attractive place for photography lovers.
Tourist complex “Las Terrasas”
Complex Las Terrasas is located 10 km from Soroa and occupies an area of 5 thousand hectares. It is part of an eco-tourism project: the dense forest on the surrounding hills is of artificial origin (more than 60,000 trees from different countries). Of particular historical and cultural significance to this place are the ruins of ancient coffee plantations of the 19th century, created by French planters who fled Haiti after the 1798 revolution. Some restored plantations allow modern tourists to admire unusual monuments of architecture and landscape art. Guests can take walks along numerous trails, visit the ruins of old French coffee plantations.
Maria La Gorda International Diving Center
The Gunaacabibes Peninsula is home to a nature reserve and the Maria La Gorda International Diving Center. At the bottom of the bays and bays, the remains of sunken ships are still found here. The diving area is under the close protection of the state, in order to preserve the pristine beauty of the coastal waters and, above all, the unique coral reef. This region is famous for its excellent underwater visibility and one of the cleanest seabeds in the area, considered by many to be the richest from a biological point of view. For divers, the Black Coral Valley is of particular interest – a coral wall 100 m long and Salon de Maria – an underwater cave 18 m deep.
In the area of the diving center there are about 50 dive sites located from 5 minutes to 1 hour walk on the yacht. The islands of Cayo Levisa and Cayo Jutias offer vacationers a charming seabed, fabulous white sand beaches and clear Atlantic waters for all kinds of water sports.