West of Havana, in rural Artemisa Province, Las Terrazas is an idyllic community, supported almost entirely by ecotourism. Founded in 1971, the village was first part of a massive government-sponsored reforestation project and later became touted as a model for rural self-sufficiency. Today the local economy is funded by a healthy tourism industry that is supported by an in-town hotel, as well as entrepreneurial resident artists, restaurateurs, and nature guides.
Nestled on terraced hills around a man-made lake in the Guaniguanico Mountain Range, Las Terrazas is part of the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere, which was created as a nature reserve by UNESCO in 1984. The 103-square-mile reserve is blanketed by secondary tropical forest and hosts a high concentration of flora and fauna, including over 800 types of plants and several endemic animal and bird species.