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Pinar del Río: A Green Option in Western Cuba

Cuba's western province of Pinar del Río, considered by many the land of the world's best tobacco, provides visitors with a varied offer that is based on the territory's many natural attractions.

For many experts, the fact that the colonization of the largest Antillean Island began in the east left this region as one of the last options for the Spanish conquistadors, so most of the endemic flora and fauna of the territory was preserved until today.

The imprint of Cuba's first inhabitants can be found in the Guanacahabibes Peninsula, the Island's westernmost tip, which was named by ancient tribes that settled down in that zone, declared a biosphere reserve and a safe haven for the most varied species of animals.

In addition to its fertile soils for agriculture, mineral resources (copper and gold) and the world-famous cigars, Pinar del Río's biggest treasure is its natural environment, with such beautiful sites as the Viñales Valley - declared a Cultural Landscape listed as Humankind's Heritage.

Great pillars of rocks called "mogotes" (small round top hills) give the valley a special touch. The Mural of Prehistory, which represents the evolution of life in the region, was painted in one of these mogotes, the one called Dos Hermanas.

Another great attraction for travelers is the region's cavern systems, the biggest in the country, among which stands out the Santo Tomás Cave, which is 45 kilometers long and is considered the third largest cavern in Latin America.

Majestic buildings from past centuries stand out in the provincial capital. That is the case of the Cathedral, built in 1883, and the José Jacinto Milanés Theater, a cultural center totally constructed with wood in 1838.

Also from the 19th century is a unique liquor known as Guayabita del Pinar, which is made with a wild fruit that can only be found in this territory and is processed to create two different variants: dry and sweet.

The region's leisure industry can meet the needs of the most demanding vacationers with options such as speleology, fishing, hunting, horse riding, bird and plant watching, and scuba diving at the María la Gorda diving center.

For those who only bet on beaches, Pinar del Río offers the exclusiveness of Cayo Jutía, which is linked to mainland by a causeway that facilitates access to heavenly sites.

Closer to the Cuban capital, Soroa - also known as Cuba's Rainbow - presents a unique image with a beautiful 22-meter-high waterfall that invites travelers to take a swim in any season of the year.

However, the most famous attraction in Soroa is the orchid garden, a must for all vacationers visiting the province, featuring some 1,800 species of orchids from all over the world.

With all these elements, Pinar del Río is gaining grounds as a complement to the Cuban archipelago's tourist attractions.

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