After spending few days in Havana I picked the town of Viñales are my next destination. This beautiful region in located in Pinas del Rio in Cuba. I took a collectivo and arrived in Viñales after three hours drive.
Once we left the city behind the views changed quickly. I saw mountains around and the scenery was getting much greener. I had seen many pictures from Vinales before so I couldn’t wait to arrive.
The Valley of Viñales has been a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 thanks to it’s unique landscape and produce.
Getting from Havana to Viñales
When planning your trip from Havana to Viñales you have few options.
Much more affordable option is to get on the public transport. I haven’t tried this option but Viazul busses should have a route that brings you to Viñales.
The more pricey but efficient option is to hop in to a collectivo that brings you there directly. This set me back $25 from door to door so I thought it’s not too bad. I also opted for a collectivo to save time since my trip to Viñales was only two nights.
What to to do in Viñales
As said the region is just beautiful and full of things to do. Here are few of my favourites:
Things to do in Viñales: Hiking on the mountains
In Vinales you can find many different hiking routes for all levels. The owner of my casa brought be around his favourite track for the whole afternoon. I would advice to ask from your accomondation for the best options to go for. And as a bonus it’s free! Just pack good shoes, enough water and suncream.
I crossed pretty little rivers, caves and on top of the mountain during my hike. Many of the pictures in the post are from that afternoon.
Things to do in Viñales: Go horseback riding
On my first afternoon I met a really cool local guy who brought me riding for the afternoon. We planned to visit the tobacco plantation and a lake after crossing the national park. I’ve never been very comfortable around horses but this time was fun. He told me his family keeps and trains horses and I’m pretty sure I had the nicest horse in whole Cuba.
You can do riding trips in a group or privately which can make differences in the prices. Ask locals again! My casa knew the guy and organised everything.
Things to do in Viñales: Visit a cigar factory
The Pinar del Rio region is world famous for it’s cigars. This means you should absolutely go and see where they come from! I arrived just on time for the tour and the guide showed us how they roll cigars by hand and told us about the history. All this while sipping an awesome honey mojito (while in Cuba right?!).
Unfortunately my visit landed just between the harvest which meant that the tobacco plants were still tiny! You can buy cigars directly from the factory for much more affordable price. They respect the local habis and history so the ones I bought are unlabeled and wrapped in a banana leaf 😀
Things to do in Viñales: Taste local rhum
One of the many things Viñales is popular is their signature rhum! The Guayabita del Pinar is only produced in this region and it has it’s special flavour from the guavas (and they are everywhere!). I got to try some during my trip and while the taste is sweet it’s also very strong. If i was not in the very beginning of my trip I would have definately bought a bottle for souveniers!