08 Aug Why You Have To Visit Viñales On Your Trip To Cuba
Viñales is a great escape from the busy cities in Cuba such as Havana. The valley is perfect for horse riding and checking out the tobacco farms. Viñales is also great for biking to the very interesting Mural de PreHistoria. If you are staying in Cuba for just a week. I highly recommend visiting Viñales in two days at least.
How to get to Viñales
You don’t need to stress about booking a tour or anything. If you stay at a Casa Particular/Airbnb in Havana I guarantee you they can give you tips on how to get to Viñales and accommodation there.
The cheapest way to travel around in Cuba is with taxi colectivo. It is usually one of those classic cars and it can break down. But it is a part of the adventure. They will always find you a new driver if it happens. Cubans are very helpful and will never leave you stranded. The drive to Viñales is around 2 hours.
Where to stay
We booked our Casa Particular through our first Airbnb in Havana. They always know someone who knows someone who has another Casa Particular. Don’t worry about booking it well ahead. They have a bunch of them in Viñales, in the same street. You can just ask people in the street or even knock on their doors. They are very welcoming and friendly and happy to help. The fact that your previous Casa Particular are willing to help you get the next one booked is that they get a small percentage of the payment for that.
What to do
Depending on when you arrive you can do a sunset horse riding through the tobacco farms, visit the caves or visit Mural De La Prehistoria. It is a short bike ride from central Viñales. Make sure you hire proper bikes! Read my story where we had to hitchhike a bike on a horse-farmer to get back to Viñales.
Visiting Mural De La Prehistoria
Mural De La Prehistoria is a massive public art painting which you can also see from the outside of the park. It costs 3 CUC to enter. You can also climb it.
You can probably tell I was terrified to stay on the spiky top. I don’t recommend it if you have slippery shoes or have vertigo.
There are many tobacco farms you can visit. I got the chance to visit Finca Argoecologica just before we arrived in Viñales. I didn’t stay long, but it was enough to learn the drying process and the chance to buy good real and good quality Cuban cigars.
I booked my 4 hours horse riding through our Casa Particular. It was great to do it in the morning before the tourist crowds.
Starting to see the mogotes of Valle Valle del Silencio
You will most likely also get to visit a coffee farm to see their process and able to buy their products of teas and honey. Bring your CUCs!
Enjoy the views from both sides while you sit on the horse. No point looking down!
Make sure you book a trip where you get to see the Cigar rolling process.
Make sure you get a drag!
This farmer dips it in local honey, it is amazing.
The tobacco farmer will, of course, make you buy his cigars. I highly recommend buying it because it is very special, great taste and nothing like local fresh rolled Cuban cigars. Great for smoking or just as a souvenir.
Visit Balcon Del Valle
Afterwards, I decided to walk around a little bit and went to Balcon Del Valle with a beautiful view of the mogotes and the sunset light from behind. You can eat and drink fresh juices there. I ended the night at Tres Jotas who has probably the best mojitos in town.
Have you been to Viñales or Cuba? Let me know what you did!
Next step: How to plan a trip to Cuba
Resources you should use in Cuba:
I don’t know what we would have done without the Lonely Planet Cuba book! It seriously was a life-saver. It answers all your questions about everything to prepare for your trip to Cuba. It tells you what to expect, what to see, eat, and do in the places you want to go and with a little description about each place.
Know you won’t have internet access everywhere in Cuba. Only at some specific places like parks etc and it is expensive and shit. You can’t just use google map or search for something on TripAdvisor. This book has done all the research for you. The book also has a detailed map of Havana, suburbs of Havana and also map of all of the other destinations. It also has contact details to recommended Casa Particulares! So make sure you get this book and buy it a few months before, so you can read through it and prepare yourself for the trip. This book will save you a lot of time and stress while you are in Cuba as well. You can get the book here: Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide)