Ecotourism at the largest river in Cuba
Among the facilities promoting ecotourism in the eastern part of the country today, Casa Toa is among the most renowned. It stands out for its unequaled location, from which it takes its name: on the banks of the largest river in Cuba, the Toa, located about 12 kilometers from Baracoa.
Its plus points go beyond the unique landscape, typical of this part of the island, and the abundance of tropical vegetation and fruit trees within easy reach. Casa Toa is located in the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, declared a World Heritage Site.
Ariel González Pérez, its director, arrived here from Holguín, where he has his family roots, inspired by his love of vegetation and natural attractions.
“I would define the installation as an ecological and natural product,” this self-employed private sector worker explains. Here we are nature lovers and we integrate with nature. We use its environmental resources as our main attraction. Our products are organic, we do not use chemicals to develop them. We obtain our food, meat and condiments in a natural environment. We use coconut, bamboo and ropes as decorative elements.”
The environmental purpose of the facility is evident from the moment the visitor is welcomed. The signature cocktail is made from citrus fruits and served inside the fruit itself. The typical dish of the area is the bacán, made from grated unripe banana, with smoked pork or crab, seasoned with local spices and coconut milk, and served in banana leaves. The presentation of the drinks includes a bamboo straw.
For this summer 2022, the center, which serves as a camp for hiking and nature tourism, launched its offers on social networks with new attractions, including several rental houses conceived as one, bars, the restaurant and a lookout point.
Among the options offered are tours on the Toa River in bamboo rafts and boats; horseback riding and a guide service. Other attractions include sport fishing, scuba diving, car rides to Maguana Beach and the city, hiking and bathing in natural waterfalls.
As Ariel explains, the Casa has 5 workers, all from the surrounding area, which benefits these families. They also hire local labor for the investment process and the permanent improvement of the center.
Casa Toa is home to tradition and the most deeply rooted customs. Its main motive is the protection of the environment and its enjoyment in an area privileged by nature.