Lying 36km north of Ciego de Ávila on the road to the cays, picturesque MORÓN is surrounded by flat farming countryside replete with glistening palm trees, banks of sugar cane and citrus trees. Fanning out from a cosy downtown nucleus, its few gaily painted colonial buildings and proximity to Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco ensure its popularity with day-trippers from the cays, and it’s certainly the best place to stay if you want to visit the cays but can’t afford a luxury hotel. For now, though, the area’s main tourist revenue comes from hunting and fishing, as enthusiasts from around the world converge on Laguna de la Leche and Laguna la Redonda, both 15km north of town, where several species of fish and flocks of migrating ducks are sitting targets.
The area surrounding Morón offers a welcome contrast to the unrelentingly flat land to the south, and holds a few surprises well worth venturing beyond the town limits to explore. Ten kilometres north of town, the large Laguna de la Leche is fringed by reeds and woodland that hide the Aguachales de Falla game reserve, while 7km further northeast the tranquil Laguna la Redonda is an idyllic spot for drifting about in a boat. Just north of the lakes is the peninsula La Isla de Turiguanó, home to the mock-Dutch village Pueblo Holandés de Turiguanó, its faux-timbered, red-roofed houses looking completely out of place beneath tropical palms. Towards the east, rising from the plains like the shell of a tortoise, is the gently rounded Loma de Cunagua, its dense tangle of woodland full of bright parakeets and parrots, and a favourite spot for day-trekkers and birdwatchers. West from Morón, in an area straddled by the tiny villages of Chambas and Florencia, is the Boquerón reserve campsite, where horseriding, river-swimming and rock-climbing are an irresistible draw for nature enthusiasts.Read More
Loma de Cunagua
Loma de Cunagua
The lone high ground in an area of unremittingly flat farmland that stretches all the way to the coast, the Loma de Cunagua, 18km from Morón and 364m high, can be seen for miles around. Just past the foot of the hill is a gate where you pay the entrance fee; from here, a gravelly road weaves its way up through the dense tangle of spindly trees clinging precariously to the steep slopes. A favourite with birdwatchers, the hill’s forests, crisscrossed by a network of trails, are home to dazzlingly coloured parrots, as well as the tojosa (a small endemic dove), the zunzún (Cuban emerald hummingbird) and the tocororo, which was chosen as the country’s national bird because of its startling red, white and blue plumage, the same colour scheme as the Cuban flag. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of an enormous Cuban tree rat, known locally as jutia. Take the dirt track up to the summit, which offers panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and out to sea.
- Boquerón natural reserve
The cock of Morón
The cock of Morón
The first thing to strike you about clean, compact Morón is the shining bronze cockerel, perched at the foot of a clock tower on an oval green in front of the Hotel Morón, just inside the southern entrance to the town. In the sixteenth century, the townsfolk of Spanish Morón found themselves the victims of a corrupt judiciary that continually levied high taxes and confiscated their land without explanation. Having suffered these oppressive conditions for several years, the people set upon and expelled the main offender, an official nicknamed “the cock of Morón”. The incident was quickly immortalized in an Andalucían ballad that proclaimed that “the cock of the walk has been left plucked and crowing” (a saying still used throughout Cuba today to mean that somebody has had their plans scuppered). The current statue dates from 1981.