A day in the ‘eco-village’ of Las Terrazas
12.12.2016 - 12.12.2016 33 °C
Between Havana and Viñales there’s a lot of agriculture – coffee, tobacco and vegetables, mostly. But there’s a patch of lush vegetation, which was conserved and restored in the 1960s by early environmentalists, concerned about deforestation in Cuba. They also built a reservoir and constructed much-needed housing to form a village in the early 1970s.
The town of Las Terrazas is doing pretty well today, supporting 1200 inhabitants and attracting thousands of tourists from Havana. And it’s not hard to see why, with this sort of landscape:
Unfortunately, if you want to go deep into the jungle you have to book a guide a day ahead, and we were only there for a night. But we followed the road about 7km in the heat and humidity to a disused coffee plantation, run by the French many years ago. There were pretty good views from there, too.
The remains of the coffee plantation
We had lunch at the plantation, although they had very few of the items listed on their menu (not even white rice). When Rosie’s order was rebuffed for the third time, she asked the waiter, “¿Que tiene?” or “What do you have?”. Being sassy is a sign of progress in a foreign language.
The food they had was nice, though, and there was a band playing just for us. Obviously we looked like we would give them reasonable tips.
We caught cabs book down that mountain and across the village to the Baños (baths) of San Juan. They’re actually just natural pools in a river, rather than baths per se, but very refreshing nonetheless.
For dinner we went to a vegetarian restaurant that has been in the village for years. We’d just been to another vego place in Viñales, and the menus looked quite similar. The introductory page was word-for-word identical, and the main courses were too. Dad asked, and found out that the Viñales place is an unauthorised copy (the food was probably better there though).
The next morning we had a quick brekky, used the internet for a tick – access here is limited, and relatively expensive – and headed off to the beach again.
Morning mist in the Las Terrazas valley