Vinales is a Valley of a Fairy story and, in addition, like in a Fairy story, is beyond mountains and forests. It is in this region of Cuba where it is grown the best tobacco in the World and where are rolled the famous cigars. Let’s see the attractions this region of Cuba hides!
- 1 The Vinales’s Valley
- 2 The Indian’s Cave
- 3 The Palenque of Cimarrones (runaway slaves)
- 4 Jazmines Hotel (Balcony of Valley)
- 5 Prehistory Wall Painted
- 6 Santo Tomas Cave
- 7 Cayo Levisa
- 8 Cayo Jutias
- 9 Pole Montanez
- 10 The ropeway down – Zipline
- 11 The Aquatics
- 12 Rock-climbing
- 13 Horse ride
- 14 Organic restaurants
- 15 Trekking into the Valley of Viñales
The Vinales’s Valley
The number one attraction is, naturally, the Viñales’s Valley indeed (Valley of Vinales). It was registered in the list of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of UNESCO, since 1999. This place is not only beautiful and picturesque but also ecological. You can explore the Valley on foot, by bicycle, but the biggest attractions are the horseback riding excursions! In addition, the oxen work in the fields. Everything is done in harmony with the rhythm of nature. There are several routes in the Valley. The Coco Solo-Palmarito of 8 Kilometers leads us through the hills of Coco Solo and Palmarito’s Valley and it is a path with beautiful views of the surroundings. Another one is San Vincent that is focus on coffee growing. The third one, enough popular and shorter, is Wonders of Vinales, which has 5 kilometres.
The Viñales’s Valley is famous for its reddish and fertile ground that is where tobacco owes its higher quality. The tobacco leaves are dry inside huts that have the roof cover with a palm leaf. This is the Tainos’ legacy: natives who lived in local caves.
The distinctive independent mountains are Mogotes (antlers) that are the result of the erosion of limestone. These are the rest of the already disappeared Sierra de Los Organos’s mountain range.
The Indian’s Cave
The Indian’s Cave is one of the favourite places to visit in the area of Vinales. In the XVI century, when the Spanish invaded the island, the cave served as shelter to members of the Guanahatabeyes tribe. The Indians used to hide from the bloody Spanish conquests, but unfortunately, the majority of them died anyway. The grotto was discovered in 1920. The cave is visited first on foot (there are about 300-350 meters to walk), and next we get on a motorboat to go through the underground river of San Vincent, which has 4 km in Total. Unfortunately, only a fragment is open to the public. From the boat is possible to admire rock formations and the guide will indicate with a laser light what Cubans saw there.
The Palenque of Cimarrones (runaway slaves)
In the past, the slaves fled away from their masters and plantations in this Place. Nowadays, The Palenque is famous principally for the parties on Saturdays and New Year’s Eve roaring gather, when the cave becomes a discotheque (here “Hola Cuba” always celebrates the end of the year!). We entered the Mogote (Flattop Mountain) from one side and through 140 subterranean gallery meters; we go on the other side. If we are lucky, then Indian ancestors await for us with their stage of fire.
Jazmines Hotel (Balcony of Valley)
One of the most beautiful views of the Viñales’s Valley is located on the balcony of the Los Jazmines Hotel. It is worth stopping here before entering Vinales, changing course from the main road, just before the city, in the bifurcation to the left. During hot days, it is also a good idea to go to admire the Valley of a Fairy Story while relaxing at the hotel’s swimming pool. If we stay in Vinales for a longer period and we don’t feel like a day trip to the beach is our thing, then the Hotel La Ermita that rises above Vinales’s city offers a sight equally beautiful and a fresh swimming pool.
Prehistory Wall Painted
The Mural is one of the most incredible attractions of Cuba. The Mural Painting is from 1961 and it was Fidel Castro’s idea. There are legends that say that Fidel from a helicopter was looking for the flattest rock, where the artist Leovigildo González Murillo will paint on it the Evolution, from amoeba to Homo sapiens! The Mural measures 120 for 180 meters and is still painting. It takes about 5 years to repaint the whole «work». The positive interpretation of the artwork will be influenced by a delicious Piña Colada that is served alongside, we recommended it!
Santo Tomas Cave
If we don’t have claustrophobia and simply we like caves, then Saint Tomas’s Cave will be without any doubt, an attractive tour. This is one of the biggest caves of all Latin America and the biggest of Cuba. There is a labyrinth of 45 Kilometers of subterranean galleries, and it has not yet been discovered everything! In general, we visit around 4 kilometres of the cave admiring big stalagmites, stalactites and submarine swimming pools. The cave is visited only with a guide, a helmet and a torch.
Cayo Levisa is one of the most beautiful beaches of Cuba. From Vinales we have to go to Palma Rubia port, from where the ship departures towards the Island at 10 AM every day. Cubans can’t go to the Island, which is why it is a tourist oasis, but merit attention. There is only a little hotel in the place. The beach is very virgin and far from any commercial activity. We will found there two bars and two small restaurants, where is possible to eat fish and fresh shellfish.
This is the second beautiful beach in the area, although unfortunately, it leads us to this road unusually permeable. However, Cayo Jutias is worthwhile. There are two bars by the beach and … nothing else! There are no hotels or other touristic infrastructure. During the week there is a big probability of seeing some people along the beach, but on weekends comes multitudes of Cubans of the surroundings. Nevertheless, you should remember Cubans take a sunbath principally in summer, that is to say, during the winter season, the beach belongs to Europeans. You can go to Cayo Jutias by taxi from Vinales. You can choose a private trip (around 80-100 CUC per automobile) or a car Bus (collective taxi) to share with other passengers (around 20 CUC per person).
The best events in Vinales take place here. The discotheque is located at the main square, hidden on the corner, next to the church. Here it is where we can admire the Cubans, to whom dancing is the whole life. Also, we will be happy of been kidnapped to dance and it should be the best salsa lesson we could dream about. The events or parties begin every day at 21:30, spectacles of dance and vocalist performances. The entrance’s fee is 1 CUC, It is worthwhile!
The ropeway down – Zipline
The rope ski-in Vinales is as fun for children as for adults; 800 meters in four lines are cross over almost in the middle of the forest. We go from station to station over the top of the trees and we admire the riches of local nature. Everything at a good cost: 8 USD. The exit is on the way toward the Murals.
This town located at the slope of the Mountain range of Hell is famous for its unconventional medicine and craftsmanship, but most of all, for its beautiful views. The trekking lasts approximately 3 hours. The term Aquatic is associated with the legend of curing a little boy washing him in a wellspring. The families that sympathize with his mother, Antonia (Antonica) Izquierdo were ejecting out from their homes and they found refuge at the highland’s slopes. Nowadays, there are dozens of descendants of these families that still refuse modern medicine.
Vinales is the mecca for rock climbers in Cuba. Beautiful Flattop Mountains (Mogotes) beg you to climb the mountain. Although officially the climbing is prohibited for the Government, the infrastructure at the willingness of Cubans climbers is excellent. They are fantastically trained; they have good equipment and roads well-run.
This attraction we should not be skipping out in Vinales! This way, it is better to admire the Valley and to stop in little familiar coffees located in successive fields. A horse ride in the Viñales’s Valley is one of the beloved attractions of the travellers of Hola Cuba!
Viñales is famous for its delicious kitchen. We will ask for good meals from our hosts in the guesthouses but also, in several organic restaurants that offer delicious and traditional food. In this region of Cuba, the pork (in several forms, but the most famous is the pork traditionally roasted) and the chicken, both are very popular. If we don’t eat meat, our taste will enjoy the vegetables directly from the garden; probably only in Vinales, you can eat a radish that is sticking to your tongue! You can’t skip the sweet butternut squash, several varieties of potatoes or bananas, boiled or fried! It is time to select, to colour!
Trekking into the Valley of Viñales
If we decide not to do the horseback ride, then a poor alternative should be a tour on foot. It offers (almost) the same views, but completely different emotions. Definitively it is worthwhile coming out of the charming of Viñales’s city for a day and penetrating in the Valley to admire the farmers while working, the beautiful mountains of antlers and the incredible nature. On a clear day, if it hasn’t been raining for several days, then we can do a bicycle tour. In the paths, however, often there is clay and routes are not marked, that’s why it is an independent trip that could be a challenge.