By Kayla Shults
Las Terrazas, Cuba — Las Terrazas is only 37 miles west of Havana, but feels as though it is another world away. The land is over 12,000 acres of forest, lakes, flora and waterfalls that was sanctioned in the 1970’s to put an end to and prevent further deforestation that was taking place in Cuba.
Local families from around the area were offered a living space and a variety of job options to come live on the land. Not only did these people plant over seven million trees, but they developed what has become somewhat of an autonomous community.
Las Terrazas features a school, a daycare facility, library and other necessities for the 1,015 people who live there. And for tourists, the land features two hotels, a small artisan shop and eight different restaurants.
Oriol Blanco works as a tour guide on the land and lives in Las Terrazas with his family. He brings groups around to tell them the history of Las Terrazas, as well as how its people have transformed it into Cuba’s smallest biosphere reserve.