Soroa is one day from Havana by bike. This resort area is only 250 meters above sea level, but the air is fresh and nights are often cool and invigorating. Here, we start a ride in Soroa shortly after dawn.  
  The surrounding mountains offer wonderfully scenic, challenging rides. Yes, those are cyclists climbing the switchbacks in the distance.
Soroa boasts an inexpensive hotel that Barb and I love. Villa Soroa has a stunning pool that attracts this renegade calf as well as humans who relax here in the afternoons.  
  Guests at Villa Soroa stay in modern cabanas, scattered on sloping lawns around the pool and shaded by huge trees hung with epiphytes.
From near Villa Soroa, hiking trails lead to an overrated waterfall and to a moutaintop mirador (lookout) with spectacular views in every direction.  
  The mixed woodlands around Soroa are excellent for bird and wildflower walks. Alberto Fernandez, the guide who leads these walks, is an extraordinarily talented naturalist, and a couple of hours in his company are well worth the modest fee.
The orquideario — orchid garden next to the hotel — is worth a visit all by itself. Here, on 35,000 square meters of steep hillside, 700 species of orchids are grown, along with other ornamentals, amidst limestone formations, palms, and towering semi-deciduous trees draped in vines.  
  From Soroa, it is an easy day trip to Las Terrazas, an eco-resort complex that combines a planned workers' community, arts and crafts studios, and an upscale hotel. There are numerous beauty spots in the area, including our favorite swimming hole (so far) in all of Cuba. (This photo of Barb in ecstasy under the waterfall at Los Baños de San Juan was taken on last year's visit to Las Terrazas.)
Soroa is also the takeoff point for a great ride to the west, along scenic mountain roads and remote settlements, eventually reaching San Diego de Los Baños. This all-day ride is challenging in spots, and where the hills are too steep or the pavement broken, we sometimes walk for a few minutes.
  However, the hard work is worth it. We call this road "The Skyline Drive" of Cuba because the many high points with spectacular views in all directions.