Viñales, is a national park, an agricultural region in the west of Cuba and is the home of the Cuban cigar. This magnificent natural rural setting is far from Havana’s hustle and bustle. With traditional agricultural fields of mainly tobacco, mesmerising mogotes and plenty of bush tracks it is a perfect place for a Cuban adventure. It is hard to put in words the beauty of this place, with the natural flora and fauna being characterised by many local endemic species.
You will find Viñales wedged spectacularly into the Sierra de los Organos mountain range. It was recognised as a national monument in 1979 and made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
Things to see and do
Viñales may be a small town, but it is one filled with wonder. Discover this rich country side, through a Valley Walk. See the life of Cuba’s farmers and learn the secret methods of rolling a Cuban cigar directly from those who grow it. May be even roll one yourself! Once you finished there, visit the Prehistoric Mural. A multi-coloured extravaganza! This artwork stretches for 120 m across a vertical section of limestone surrounded by forest at the foot of the Magote Pita. Like it or hate it, it is the work of local artist Leovigildo Gonzalez Morillo. He painted the mural to tell the region’s history. Created in 1961, it took a team of 18 four years to complete.
There are some beautiful caves in the area, like the Santo Tomas Cavern. It’s a beautiful labyrinth of chambers, passages, stalactites and stalagmites that wind there way over eight separate levels and delve for 46 kilometres beneath the earth. Within the complex you’ll also find murals created centuries ago and can rest on the same rocks used as shelter by runaway slaves and Cuban revolutionaries – Cuba Tours.
In the Township
Still unsure what to do in Viñales? Head to a Jardin Botanic Garden like almost no other. It covers a vast expanse of land on the outskirts of Viñales. A bounty of sweet smelling orchids cover the paths alongside oddities such as the plastic heads of dolls, action figures, and a roasting pit in the middle of the garden, while turkeys happily gobble in the grounds too. You can also take a short drive out of town, to Cuba’s best beach – Cayo Jutias. It’s wild, remote, full of life…
Its turquoise waters turn pink at sunset, something that not many people know about. Its white sand is overwhelming at first glance. A Paradise for those who know where to look for it!
After the wonders of the day make your way to the Organic Farm, El Paraiso for dinner. It is a true paradise, not only does it offer a truly delicious farm-to- plate experience it also boast amazing views of the valley. It will truly excite your senses!
Nightlife is pretty lively in Viñales. Even if you’re not up for dancing the salsa, sit back and relax in the lively atmosphere of the township’s bars or live music venues. The best of Viñales is probably the Casa de Cultura, in the main square, with live music beginning around 9 pm each night.