Soroa is located 81 km west of Havana, in the Sierra del Rosario, a natural reserve covering 25,000 hectares.
Soroa, often referred to as “the Rainbow of Cuba" is named after two Spanish brothers, Lorenzo and Antonio Soroa Muñagorri who arrived in Cuba in 1856 to produce coffee.
The microclimate here, marked by considerable seasonal rainfall, supports an evergreen forest with more than 100 species of trees, (including 20 different palm trees), 60 species of vines, and 50 edible plants.
This region is home to 80 bird species, making it popular with birdwatchers. Common birds here are Cuba’s national bird, the Tocororo (priotelus temnurus), Cartacuba (todus multicolor), Nightingale (myadestes elisadeth), Royal Wrasse (tordus plumbeo) and Hummingbird (chlorostilbon ricarddi).
Soroa’s natural diversity is popular with eco tourists who go trekking, bird watching, horseback riding and on specialized guided tours.
The largest attraction is Soroa’s orchid garden, founded by Tomás Felipe Camacho, a lawyer from the Canary Islands who brought the first species here in 1948. Today, the 35,000-square meter garden has more than 20,000 orchids, representing some 650 varieties.
Other places worth a visit are the Manantiales River, with a 22m waterfall (Salto del Arco Iris), the natural baths known as the Poza del Amor ("Love Pool") and El Mirador, a lookout point 250 meters above sea level that provides one of the best views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
"Castillo de las Nubes" (Castle of the Clouds), constructed in 1940 high on a hill is temporarily closed for renovations, but the views from the grounds are worth the trip up.