Cuba's westernmost province, Pinar del Río, has a rich natural heritage that turn the region into an ideal place for nature lovers to spend their vacations at excellent beaches and islets that have been barely touched by humans.
Precisely, the province offers many nature-related recreational options, including nautical sports such as diving.
One of the main dive sites in the province is Cayo Levisa, off the north coast of Pinar del Río. The key is accessed by boat, which departs from the Palma Rubia pier. The trip lasts 30 minutes.
Three kilometers of excellent beaches – capriciously located in the middle of the sea as they are situated on the islet – and 23 dive sites turn Cayo Levisa into an excellent place to dive in crystal-clear waters and one of the largest coral reefs in the world.
In addition, a project that combines sustainable development and tourism is being carried out in the mountainous community of Las Terrazas.
The community is on Sierra del Rosario, which was declared a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1985.
In the center of ecotourism in Pinar del Río is the Moka Hotel, in the San Juan Valley at the foot of Loma de Salón. The establishment is in perfect harmony with the environment, which contributes to embellishing the hotel, which offers 25 standard rooms and a suite.
Another breathtakingly beautiful place is the Viñales Valley – a Cultural Landscape that was declared Humankind's Heritage – with its round-top hills called "mogotes".
Precisely, the slope of one of those peculiar hills in the Viñales Valley, called Dos Hermanas, bears one of the world's largest outdoors paintings, known as the Mural of Prehistory.
The mural, which is 120 meters tall and 180 meters wide depicts the biological evolution of Sierra de los Organos, also in Pinar del Río.
Other interesting sites for vacationers are the region's cavern systems, which are among the biggest in the country. One of them is the Santo Tomás Cave, which is 45 kilometers long and ranks third in Latin America.
Many experts say that as the Spanish conquistadors began the colonization of the Caribbean Island in the east, western Cuba was one of the last regions to be conquered, so its flora and fauna, mostly endemic, has remained almost untouched.
The imprint left by Cuba's first inhabitants can be found in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, in the westernmost tip of the province. The region was named after a tribe that settled in the area. The peninsula is a biosphere reserve and a safe haven for many animal species.
Closer to Havana, in Soroa, also known as Cuba's rainbow, there is a 22-meter waterfall that invites tourists to take a refreshing dip all year around.
However, the most famous spot in Soroa is the orchid garden, which holds flower species from all over the world.