What to Do in Viñales, Cuba?
By Aurora Correa |
This tourist guide of Viñales, Cuba invites you to discover Cuban coffee and tobacco fields as well as prehistoric murals and cave paintings.
Cuba is one of the most attractive destinations in the Caribbean, together with Jamaica or Dominican Republic. Visiting the island is like traveling in time. Its classic cars, old houses and tropical weather invite you to abandon the stress of the modern world. Cuba inspires you to enjoy a good walk under the clear blue sky that covers the coastal city. But that’s not all! Admiring the beautiful beaches of Varadero will help you renew your energy. There’s nothing like resting on the white sand and refreshing with a daiquiri before diving into the warm ocean waters. However, Cuba is much more than sea, sun and sand. The Viñales Valley is a clear proof of this. For this reason, if you travel to Cuba and you want to be surrounded by nature, Viñales is the right place for you.
Where Is the Viñales Valley?
A three-hour drive away, located west of Havana, you’ll find the Valley of Viñales, in the province of Pinar del Rio. It’s a huge plain surrounded by mountains and hills that enthrall visitors with its shades of green and clear skies. Its exuberant vegetation is complemented by the plentiful wildlife you can find there. Without doubt, some of the most beautiful animals you’ll see there are colorful birds that glide across the skies with open wings and that are sometimes caught by the curious lens of a camera.
3 Things to Do in Viñales, Cuba
In 1999, Viñales was declared a National Park of Cuba and World Heritage by UNESCO thanks to its unique landscape and irreplaceable natural wealth. But don’t trust UNESCO, the Cuban government, or even DINKtravelers, your world travel guide… just pack your things and see it for yourself! We are sure you’ll love it.
#1 Coffee Touring and Tobacco Fields
This region stands out for the production of coffee and tobacco, both still cultivated with traditional techniques. This makes Viñales an exceptional place, not only for its impressive views but because of its cultural heritage, related to agriculture. The locals offer you the possibility of taking a tour of the coffee and tobacco fields on horseback or on a bicycle, whatever you prefer. Among the places included in the tour are several farms in the area, where you can learn about coffee and tobacco’s production process. You can help local economy by purchasing organic coffee and artisanal cigars (such as Cohiba and Montecrsito) with no government intermediaries. After this long tour, dive into the refreshing waters of the natural lake you’ll find in the area.
#2 Visit the Prehistoric Mural
Another attraction you can’t miss in the valley is the Prehistoric Mural. It’s a colossal work of art by the artist Leovigildo González, painted on a hill. The mural shows invertebrates and mammals, together with a couple of human shapes. The mixture of brilliant colors used on it combines with the landscape perfectly. It makes visiting the Valley of the Sisters a very special experience. After observing this marvelous work of art you’ll get the chance to rest in Cape Jutías, a beach located not too far from the valley. There, you can taste a great variety of fish and seafood in one of the restaurants spread along the shore and why not? Swim in the beach’s pristine waters.
#3 Discover the Indian Cave in Viñales
Near the mural you can find the Indian Cave, which is said to be the refuge of the first inhabitants of Viñales Valley. Inside the cave, you can find rock formations such as stalactites and stalagmites. Moreover, cave paintings have been found here. The San Vicente river also runs inside the cave. You can take a tour on a motorboat, but we recommend you to do a walking tour through the illuminated way of the cave.
Where to Stay in Viñales
After this tour, even the most adventurous traveler will want to have some rest. Don’t worry! Even though this is a rural community, the center of the Viñales Valley has all the comforts you need. From cozy hotels and villas to rental homes (very common on the island) with classical Cuban architecture, you’ll definitely find a cushioned bed, delicious food and intimate spaces. You’ll even feel inspired to start long conversations with locals as you enjoy watching the sunset. To make reservations on any of these sites you can enter here.
Where to Eat in Viñales
In the porticos and terraces, friends get together and love stories emerge. People enjoy themselves drinking a cup of coffee. And even though hotels offer great food, downtown of the Viñales Valley you’ll find countless restaurants with varied menus. The dishes they serve combine the Spanish, African, Italian and Chinese heritage of Cuba with ingredients such as lobster, lamb, fish, vegetables, legumes, bananas, and more.
Viñales invites you to break the stereotypes of tourism in Cuba. It’s an opportunity to discover the life of its inhabitants, support local economy and promote artisanal artwork. The Viñales Valley is the other face of Cuba. Now that you know more about it, make sure you don’t miss it, and share your experience with us.