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Protected by the lush vegetation of Sierra de la Güira, Cueva de Los Portales is located in the municipality of La Palma, Pinar del Río, because of its physical and geographical formations and its cultural and historical values, one of the most visited sites in western Cuba.

As a result of the cut that the force of a river produced and still produces in the interior of a mountain, three other large and open caves were created that look at the jungle, forming one of the most beautiful caves in the country.

In its surroundings, abundant and valuable archaeological evidence has also been found, which legitimizes the occurrence in the area of the phenomenon known as marooning or brown-heads.

The first reference to the place dates back to 1800, when it was discovered by a Spaniard who gave him his surname. It was not until 1947, however, that the large landowner Manuel Cortina, owner of the area, took advantage of its natural attractions to prepare it for his particular recreation.

This is how a complex world of balconies, corridors and staircases with great Asian influence was built inside the building, which lead visitors to two other caves, the mirror caves and the cathedral.

But without a doubt, what has made this site transcend universally is its use by the Heroic Guerrilla Ernesto “Che” Guevara, as a command post during the so-called October Crisis or Missile Crisis in 1962.

During that 32-day period, the “Che” would transform the place into its general staff. In memory of that fact, the masonry hut in which the mythical rebel chief slept is still preserved to this day.

Because of its relevance, the site was declared a National Monument on July 25,1987. Since then, La Cueva de los Portales has been frequently visited by thousands of people, who each year, come here attracted by the beauty of the surroundings and the history that unites it to the famous Argentinean guerrilla.

by: Victor Manuel Blanco