West of Soroa along the autopista lie a number of relatively entertaining detours, all within a forty-minute drive of the main road. If you are driving – which is the best option, given no bus routes currently operate to this area from Havana or Pinar del Río city – it’s easy to cover them all in a single day. The place you’re most likely to spend a night, or at least stop for a meal, is the sleepy town of San Diego de los Baños, famous for its health spa, which is said to be the best in the country, though there are now several more modern, upmarket hotel-spas on the island offering better facilities (minus the same range of therapies).

The box-like exterior of the spa contrasts strikingly with the flourishing forests on the other side of the river. When you’ve had your fill of the waters, you might want to rent bikes and motorbikes at the hotel, or arrange hiking and fishing trips into the hundred square kilometres of protected woodlands just a leisurely stroll away. You could also wander around the village to the leafy little square, with its creaking seesaws and swings and church; or spend a few hours in the cinema, next door to the Hotel Mirador.

From here it’s only a short drive to the area’s other main attraction, towards the north: the Cueva de los Portales, a modestly impressive cave that cuts a dramatic hole straight through the Loma de los Arcos, and which was once the military headquarters of Che Guevara and his army.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Cuba features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

12 tips for backpacking Cuba

12 tips for backpacking Cuba

Cuba’s captivating, colourful streets and carnaval­ feel make it appealing for travellers year­-round. The country's popularity is skyrocketing, and visit…

10 May 2016 • Freya Godfrey insert_drive_file Article
Delving into the Daiquiri: Havana’s favourite drink

Delving into the Daiquiri: Havana’s favourite drink

Cuba’s cocktails chart the country’s ambivalent relationship with its neighbour to the north, America. This is most obviously demonstrated by the Cuba Libre…

24 Feb 2016 • Henry Jeffreys insert_drive_file Article
What's new for Cuba in 2016? 10 developments to watch out for this year

What's new for Cuba in 2016? 10 developments to watch out for this year

Record numbers of visitors have been racing to get to Cuba ‘before it changes forever’ since President Obama’s historic announcement in December 2014 that…

18 Jan 2016 • Matt Norman insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month