Discovering Abra de Canasí
The beaches of Cuba are known worldwide for their crystalline waters and their fine sand that invite you to de-stress. Both locals and those who visit the island for the first time visit them to live a paradise experience.
However, many of these recreational spaces have gradually lost their virginity; Hence, many people opt for more selective tourism.
In this context, rivers and natural reserves in Cuba are an unmatched attraction. Among them, Abra de los Arcos de Canasí is a colossal open door for the most intrepid explorers. Located 44 kilometers from the capital, the traveler can enjoy a fishing village and a charming landscape.
How to get to Abra de Canasí?
Abra de Canasí sits on the Habana-Matanzas planes. It is a camping area, but at the same time it offers privacy and the possibility of camping outdoors. It is only necessary to have a tent, mountain shoes and swimsuit to be ready and blended with the environment.
Abra can be reached in several ways. The fastest would be to take a car directly from Habana to the aforementioned town. However, more adventurous tourists can hitchhike from the Alamar traffic light. In this case, they must remain in the famousCanasí bridge.It is a ghost bridge, which actually does not connect with the town, because it is half finished.
This is one of the unfinished bridges that were built on the Vía Blanca before 1959. In the project one of them would connect to Canasí -then head town of the Province of Matanzas- with the Puerto de Boca de Canasí, where the sugar produced in the area was shipped on schooners.
Those who like more traditional transport can opt for the option of the well-known Hershey train. The nearly 100 kilometers of railways that separate Havana from Matanzas, with the Hershey village half way, are a picturesque journey through the Habana-Matanzas planes.
Taking this means of transport guarantees the traveler a peculiar journey, not only because of the age of the train, but also because of the folklore that is lived in it. You can talk with locals and at the same time enjoy the whole landscape. The little station in the Arcos de Canasí town is an unmissable stop if you are heading to the seafront in Abra de Canasí.
What to do in Abra de Canasí?
After this short trip, escaping the bustle of the city, we will see a hill rising between us and the coast with a 100-meter high terraced summit. Along the breach through where the Canasi river flows, we can see the Lomas de Picadura o Canasí, with itrs bluish elevations ("mogotes") 11 km from the coast.
Large sea caves open on the hill of the eastern part, Canasí being the sharpest and most spectacular breach in the area of Havana-Matanzas. In the cliff that faces the sea, we can admire Cueva del Convento, which opens to us in the form of ogival arch like a gothic cathedral.
Lots of spots to discover
As you enter the main cave, the depth goes down, and across the wide threshold, a very fine sand esplanade greets the curious tourists. A real break for feet tired of walking. Past the breach itself, the landscape offers us fishing shacks and slender coconut trees.
That is why Abra de Canasí is an admirable landscape. River, hills, caves, local fauna and flora are offered to the traveler in all its splendor. In the Cuban tropical Caribbean climate, crossing the river can be a unique adventure: waist-deep waters, backpacks on top...
The river in front of us turns to the left until flushing to the open sea. Steep heights guard the channel, both on the left and on the right, except for a little hamlet. After the crossing, we run into a path full of coves, where we can meet people camping and cooking their food.
This tour takes us to a virgin world, ready to be discovered by those who prefer intimate environments, dialogue with nature and the commitment to origins.
The Abrsa, that wide and clear opening between two mountains, allows the practice of snorkeling, diving from the cliff, kayaking, and especially the enjoyment of a meal prepared by locals. Fresh fish with charcoal under the shade of a coconut palm is a unique delicacy not just because of its flavor, but also because of the environment in which it is enjoyed.
From a height of more than five meters above sea lies the viewpoint of the Canasí River mouth, about one hundred meters wide. It is easy to lose track of time in that place, safe from the most violent rays of the tropical afternoon.
In the Boca de Canasí protected area, there is no better place than this to receive or wave off the sun. On the other shore: a mountain with steep slopes. To the north: the immense sea. To the east: a rugged coastline. In short, this is the ideal landscape for those travelers who don't have too much time, but still want to feel the charms of tropical nature, fauna and flora, just a few kilometers away from Habana.
Especially east of the river, approximately one kilometer away, a stony bed opens with three small grottos surrounded and penetrated by the blue water. It is called La Cazuela, one of the favourite open air spots for locals for those who practice divingWithout being exactly a beach, the beauty of the sea invites us to bathe, and, with the proper diving equipment, to admire the charms of the seabed.
The sea has a moving purity, especially if you've been to shores where the debris of civilization accumulates until the strong waves drag them into the ocean. In some places, the depth is considerable, as the intense blue of the sea reveals, but there are some spots where you can practice wade fishing, even to a breakwater east of the mouth of the Canasí River. Abra de Canasi is one of the most notable coastal accidents in Cuba, distinguished by its sharp recess from the horizon.
An excuse to return ...
The Abra de Canasí He always offers us a reason to return. The experience there is usually unique, as regardless of the length of the trip (1 or 2 days), it sticks to every travalers memory forever. Arcos de Canasí, that fishing village south of the Via Blanca, is a successful mix of enjoyment, amusement, harmony, peace and entropy that the human being seeks in every place he/she goes.
Julienne López Hernández
Degree in History of Art0