La Güira National Park: A Mock Fortress, Caves and Che Guevara
The gates of the old Hacienda Cortina raise an immediate question: a medieval fortress in Cuba? To ring the bell and cross the threshold of La Güira National Park, located in the Sierra de los Órganos hills of Cuba’s western province of Pinar del Río, the visitor takes the first step towards an amazing adventure.
A network of roads and trails facilitate the journey. Pieces sculpted in Carrara marble or cast in bronze alternate with tropical fruit and ornamental plants. Decorative fountains and an artificially constructed channel water in its leading role within the landscape.
Set in a 21, 860-hectare (54,000 acre) park of rugged pine-forested formations riddled with caverns, La Güira brings together a great set of facilities. It has accommodation, and offers customized service in an intimate restaurant for guests. Throughout the park are found grills selling meats and drinks. Similar cuisine is available in a rustic ranchón (thatch-covered restaurant) which is ideal for family celebrations.
Horseback riding, billiards and bird watching are some of the other options that ensure full enjoyment. A wonderful museum is dedicated to an Asian collection and for an unforgettable experience you can walk through the former mansion –now in ruins– of the precious woods trader who used to live once here.
A must-see is the stunning Cuevas de los Portales, the dramatically massive cave located on the western edge of the park which served as Che Guevara’s headquarters during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Cuba’s La Güira National Park is a meeting place with the native and the exotic, the exquisite and the ordinary, the simple and the complex, all masterfully blended on a giant canvas.
Beatriz Ortega Chirino