Las Terrazas Nature Reserve – Cuba


Las Terrazas National Park started as a green revolution restoration project in the 1960s by Fidel Castro.  It is in the heart of Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve, only 45 miles from Havana, Cuba. It once was defrosted scrubby grassland landscape ruined and mangled by Spanish conquistador loggers, scarred by coffee plantations, and damaged by hurricanes. But Fidel Castro wanted to re-establish the forests and tropical vegetation that once were and rebuild. Castro’s restoration project planted more than 6 million trees, including mahogany, hibiscus, grapefruit, avocado, mandarin, cedar, and many others. These new trees were planted on terraced hillsides so that they would not be swept away by rain and erosion. Thus, its name, Las Terrazas, which translates to the Terraces in English.

Now a local biosphere reserve since 1985 by UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization. The Sierra del Rosario World Biosphere Reserve has an ecological research station, which carries out activities for students, children, and young adults in Las Terrazas Community that are centered around the environment.

It is often overlooked by tourists, but Las Terrazas offers a wide variety of experiences and activities like hiking, visiting its waterfalls, canopy tours, and bird watching. You can see more than 120 species of birds, both migratory and endemic to Cuba. You can spot the Cuban Tody and the Tocororo, the Cuban Trogon, the national bird of Cuba.  It is also home to one of Cuba’s oldest operating coffee plantations.

Owen traveled to Las Terrazas National Park in March of 2019 and has photographed the Cuban Oriole, Cuban Northern Flicker, Cuban Pewee, Northern Mockingbird, Yellow-headed Warbler, and many others.

© Adrian Ross

Birds found here