There are so many amazing places and National Park’s in Cuba, Viñales is one of them, in fact it is the jewel of Pinar del Rio province. We have already discovered it’s stunning landscapes providing a calm, welcoming atmosphere and complete serenity. And that’s just what you can see straight up! Hiding from the eyes are some amazing limestone caves, created by the erosion of the limestone by rainwater seeping through the surface.
There are three caves you can discover in the area.
Cueva de San Miguel
The next cave is the Cueva de San Miguel about a two-minute drive or a twenty-minute walk from Cueva del Indio. The entrance of this cave is set up as a bar, could be a great spot for a fun afternoon visit. They also use this place for parties on some weekend.
The cave itself is only about 150 meters and is also referred to as Palenque de los Cimarrones, which refers to the runaway slaves that took refuge in this cave, thus the restaurant is more of an attraction here than the cave. In 1990s it was set up like a living museum with guano ceiling, symmetrical structures of open houses in the style of old African villages, The ‘houses’ are set up with replica improvised beds, pillows of banana leaves, pipes of mud and the like to send you back to the XVIII century experience of the life of the runaway slaves. You may even be lucky enough to experience the songs, dances and drum rolls in a re-enactment at the restaurant.
The restaurant specialises in Creole food and is well known for the ‘Oshun’ cocktail, named after the patroness of Cuba.
Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás
Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas is the most spectacular cave in the area, 17 km from Vinales, with its 45km cave system is not only the biggest in the area but in all of Latin America. Best thing is, it’s not overrun by tourists! – small group trips cuba
Here, you will definitely see some amazing formations – stalagmites and stalactites and as a bonus there are also some pretty cool fish and crustaceans in the water here too, they may be a bit hard to see as the waters are murky, but being extremely white helps to spot them.
Being the cave’s natural settings you need to have some level of fitness and good walking shoes. The terrain is uneven, at some areas steep, can be wet and slippery, through the large caverns, small tunnels and seven different levels within the cave. Whilst walking through you can listen to the sounds of bats and frogs creating a unique melody.
The tour here will take around 1.5 hours, which covers 1km of the 45, that you will cover with proper gear, like a helmet and a lamps.
Each cave offers a different experience, visit one or visit all, it’s up to you.