Veiled behind the folds of the Jatibonico sierra – the rugged tail of the Sierra de Meneses chain, which steals into the province from Sancti Spíritus to the west – the picturesque Boquerón nature reserve nestles a few kilometres west of the undulating farming country around the tiny towns of Florencia and Chambas, the nearest public transport links. Both sit some 40km west of Morón in landscape pocketed with dazzling green-gold sugar cane fields and tobacco meadows.
Florencia’s name – given for its resemblance to the Italian town – is an indication of its arcadian beauty but it’s Boquerón, 5km west of Florencia, that is the best place to focus a day-trip on this side of the province. Framed by a halo of royal palms, the Campismo Boquerón is the entry and focal point for visits, occupying a hidden paradise of banana groves, fruit trees and flitting hummingbirds. Overnight stays here are now officially reserved for Cubans only (though foreigners sometimes slip in), but anyone can explore this beautiful spot for free. The nearby Jatibonico River twists through the hills and makes an excellent spot for shady swimming, while the explorable caves hollowing into the hillsides are full of stalactites, stalagmites and aboriginal pictographs.