The Land of Tobacco
Vinales, is a national park, an agricultural region in the west of Cuba. It is also 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, mesmerizing 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 characterized by many local endemic species.
You will find Vinales wedged spectacularly into the Sierra de Los Organos mountain range. It was recognized as a national monument in 1979 and made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
Although the valley is only 12 km long there is plenty to see here. From the must-do ‘Tobacco Farm Walks’, where you even have the opportunity to roll your own cigar if you wish. To discover the local craft markets, and enjoy dinner at the organic farm on top of a hill watching an amazing sunset. You can also discover one of the numerous caves in the area, such as Cueva del Indio, Cueca da San Miguel, and Caverna de Santo Tomas. Inside there is dripstone and rock art. Rock climbing over the years is also becoming more popular in the area.
Vinales is also the home of the Mural de la Prehistoria. It is a painting on the side of a cliff, commissioned by Fidel Castro, with images of small creatures and man, in bright colors. It is an odd painting. Some hate it, some love it, either way, it is certainly unique to the valley’s history and Cuba itself. Worth having a look and deciding for yourself. If you want to take a piece of art home, you will also find some at the Galeria de Arte produced by local artists.
Farm to plate experience
When you get tired of discovering this amazing valley, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from for any budget, from local Cuban cuisine (we do encourage you to try it, despite the negative feedback about Cuban food, you could be positively surprised), to sandwiches, pizzas and special western delights. Many of the restaurants also offer free wi-fi to their clients. At night time there are plenty of bars open, some offer live music and salsa lessons.
Other amenities such as a bank and currency exchange are also available but be prepared for massive lines.
Make sure you come and discover this Valley on your trip to Cuba! Check out our Small Group Tour Itineraries!