Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cuban Rainforest

Las Terrazas is a rainforest ecological preserve in Cuba's westernmost province of Pinar del Rio, west of Havana. We visited it to see how Cuba is developing eco-tourism as one element of its tourist industry and planning transportation infrastructure to get tourists to sites like these. Las Terrazas used to be filled with coffee plantations, which destroyed the natural landscape. Here's more from the Global Exchange Web site:
"Las Terrazas is a 12,000-acre preserve that was completely deforested half a century ago. In 1968 reforestation began, along with an experimental town that was intended to coexist in harmony with nature. Six million trees were planted with 27 species of hardwood, the hillsides were terraced, and the town of Las Terrazas was founded.
From the mountain mahoe trees that are harvested on a limited basis, Cubans make baseball bats. And in the shade of carob trees grow small amounts of coffee.

In 1985 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named the area Cuba's first biosphere reserve. In 1991, the 26-room Hotel Moka was built in order to attract eco-tourists for bird-watching and hiking."

The day we visited, a true tropical rain poured down for the entire afternoon. After lunch, a local family offered us shelter in their humble home. Our tour guide for the day, in the green shirt, was Rodolfo.


Anonymous said...

There are no beaches like Hawaii !!! Not even close !!!

Hilario said...

It's great to hear about projects like that of Las Terrazas. The question that I have is: are all the species of trees utilized in the reforestation of Las Terrazas representative of the flora of the Cuban archipelago (endemic)?

Anonymous said...

Cuba Has better beaches then Hawaii ! Sorry

Anonymous said...

Cuba has way better beaches then Hawaii !!