Robaina's plantation

Thursday 26 March 2015

Soroa Waterfall (Pinar del Rio)

                    We travel approximately 80 kilometers from Havana, in the western area of Cuba near the Sierra del Rosario mountains. Here in the Pinar del Rio Province lies the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve. The 21 meter waterfall sits at about 250 meters above sea level and is part of this Reserve. The rivers in this area contain mineral and medicinal properties and many who visit here take a dip in the cool ponds.
                  El Salto de Soroa is the full name of the waterfall coming from the two brothers, Lorenzo & Antonio Soroa. They were Spaniards who came to Cuba in 1856 seeking to make it rich in the coffee business as producers. El Salto would mean jump, as in the water jumping off the cliff. They call the area around the falls "the Rainbow of Cuba" because of the Rainbow that's often seen there. There's also the town of Soroa close by.
                   It was easy to get there, with the exit right off the main highway that goes to Pinar del Rio from Havana, and easy to find the site once we got off the highway just a few kilometers away. You couldn't miss the parking lot with it's snack bar out front where we had ham and cheese sandwiches with Bucanero beer after our visit. There was a full service restaurant next to the parking lot but not the kind of place where I would normally eat. To get to the falls you take a well marked path directly from the parking lot. It will cost you a couple of CUC to enter. The walkway is pretty safe but a little bit of attention should be given. It winds around a hill and goes up and down and would need a little more care if there's any kind of moisture around. Once there things are a little more lively as there's sure to be others at the bottom of the falls as well, some of them even taking a dip in the cool waters. There were a couple of entrepreneurs that were set up with several fruits to make fresh cocktails like Pina Colada in a pineapple or a fresh coconut with a touch of rum dribbled (or poured) into it. They had legal papers and were quite happy with the new laws that enable them to set themselves up at this location and sell their product without worrying about being arrested. Of course now they pay taxes.
                    It made for a nice little side trip on the way to our main destination which was Vinales, a little further west in Pinar del Rio. I would like to come back when I have more time and visit an abandoned coffee plantation or the Soroa Orchid Garden (within walking distance of the falls parking lot) which contains more than 700 types of orchids both native and exotic varieties. Make a point of stopping at a Guarapera Stand on the road to the highway. Guarapera is Sugarcane put though a special juicer that extracts a natural sugary juice. Worth the few cents to give it a try.

Snack Bar at entrance to parking lot

Full Service Restaurant

Bridge to the Path

Guarapera Stand (Sugarcane Juice)

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