La Güira, a magical rural retreat
Text and photos: Roberto F. Campos
The former Cortina Estate in Cuba, today La Güira Farm, is a natural paradise, where the environment and universal culture are well preserved.
Located in the western province of Pinar del Río, this place has a very peculiar visual attraction: a medieval entrance, as conceived by its first owner, the Cuban politician, writer and lawyer of that surname.
José Manuel Cortina (1880-1970) created a natural and culturally rich center that has been preserved and protected until now and is currently open to welcome Cuban and international visitors alike. Reopened in December 2014 after being remodeled, the site is close to San Diego de los Baños and Los Portales Cave, and has become the entrance to that territory’s eastern region.
It shows different styles, including the idea to reproduce France ’s Versailles Palace.
It is a unique space with various restaurants, stone roads, sculptures from different places and a truly beautiful landscape that illustrates Cuban nature.
Japanese and Chinese symbols are kept at the farm and can be seen both in the former houses and the garden.
La Güira has a name for itself among locals, and the area covered by the retreat now were formerly occupied by 28 tobacco plantations and 89 houses dating back to 1687. Its transformation today exhibits nine rooms, the Red House as a museum, a desk, restaurants, bars, cafeterias, grills, parking lots and a swimming pool.
It also has a game room, amphitheater, parks, museum, mini zoo, boat rides, nature trails, and bird watching areas.