According to ALLCITYCODES, the small Cuban town of Vinales is located in the valley of the same name, known throughout the country. This valley is famous for its karst caves and gorgeous postcard views that don’t require any Instagram filters. There is a very unusual landscape here – bizarre rock formations, mineral water springs and lots and lots of greenery.
Travelers are attracted by the traces of the presence of primitive people preserved in these parts, as well as plantations of the best tobacco in the world. In addition to ancient rock art, there is also a modern one: the Cuban artist Leovihildo Gonzalez (by the way, a student of Diego Riviera himself) painted prehistoric animals and people right on the rock, at a height of more than 100 m. Thousands of tourists come to see this work of art every year.
Before the appearance of the first European settlements, the Taino tribes lived here. The area where Viñales is now located was colonized in the 1800s. tobacco magnates from the Canary Islands who settled in the Vuelta Abajo area. The first European settlement is documented in 1871 – it was a ranch owned by Don Andreas Hernades Ramos. The city itself was founded in 1878.
How to get to Viñales
The Viñales valley runs 9 times a day with a sightseeing bus. Buses start and end their route in the village’s main park. The first flight departs at 9:00, the last at 19:10. The tour takes 1 hour 05 minutes. The bus follows 18 strictly defined stops. The tour is organized by the company Transtur, whose office is located on the main street of Viñales – Calle Salvador Cisneros.
Viazul’s buses run daily to Havana and Trinidad.
A 1 hour drive from Viñales is a boat station from where you can reach the island of Cayo Levisa in 30 minutes.
Heading from the south, you should follow the road from Pinar del Rio. From the peninsula of Guanahacabibes, through the cities of Guane and Ponce, there is a road with beautiful mountain landscapes.
You can rent a moped at the Cubanacán and Havanautos office for 25 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) per day. Parking is located along the main square of the city – Casa de la Cultura. For 20 CUC you can get to Pinar del Rio, for 30 CUC you can go to Palma Rubia, from where you can get to the island of Cayo Levisa for 25 CUC by boat.
Weather in Viñales
The climate is hot and humid throughout the year, which can be roughly divided into two seasons – the dry season (November to April) and the rainy season (May to October). Hurricanes are not uncommon in September-October.
On the main street of the city, Calle Salvador Cisneros, named after Salvador Cisneros Betancourt, President of Cuba from 1895 to 1897, there is a Cuban restaurant – Patio Central Cultural Polo Montañez. On the same street there is another restaurant – Patio del Decimista.
The nearest beach to Viñales is Cayo Jutias, located 60 km from the city. Two mountain roads lead to the beach – Minas de Matahambre and Baños de San Vicente. Before departure, you should check with the locals which road is best to go.
Attractions and attractions in Vinales
In the central square of the city, Casa de la Cultura, there is an art gallery and a church.
There is also a farmer’s market every Saturday morning.
Cubanacán organizes day trips to Cayo Levisa for 29 CUC, Cayo Jutías for 20 CUC, Santo Tomas Cave for 20 CUC and María la Gorda for 35 CUC.
For a better understanding of the tobacco growing process, you should visit La Casa del Veguero, located near Viñales on the road to Los Jazmines. There you can see secadero – a tobacco dryer, where it is left for the period from February to May. The staff will briefly talk about the process of making tobacco, and you can also buy cigars that are not on sale at a discount.
1 km west of the town of Viñales in the Dos Hermanas valley (Dos Hermanas), where is the Mural de la Prehistoria, or prehistoric fresco with a modern description of the evolution of the island: from shellfish to man, depicted in color on a cliff 120 meters high. The mural was commissioned by Fidel Castro himself to the artist Leovihildo Gonzalez, a student of the famous Mexican Diego Rivera, and painted in the early 1960s.
Tourism is mainly concentrated in the Viñales Valley, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 for its outstanding karst landscape, traditional agriculture, vernacular architecture and handicrafts. The Viñales Valley is located in the Sierra de los Organos and covers an area of 132 sq. m. Of particular note in the valley are rocks of unusual shape, reaching 400 m, the so-called “mogote” – steep hills with flat tops. The age of these “mogote” reaches 160 million years, and the locals call them “elephant backs”. Scientists believe that the rocks were formed as a result of limestone weathering.
The main attractions of the valley are the Museo Municipal Museum, which occupies the building where the national Cuban hero Adela Azcuy lived; the Casa de Caridad botanical garden, the Museo Paleontológico paleontological museum, the runaway slave camp of Palenque de los Cimarrones and nearby caves.
For a better understanding of the tobacco growing process, visit La Casa del Veguero. Here, not only will they tell everyone about cigars, but they will also “give you a light”.
The Casa de Caridad botanical garden is home to endemic animals and plants, including the ceiba tree, superb gaussia, caiman oak, beautiful-crowned microcycas, bee hummingbird, trogon, Cuban tody. In the center of the valley are farmhouses whose inhabitants grow tobacco, which has been the lifeblood of Viñales Valley for more than 200 years.
Especially popular is the Indian Cave (Cueva del Indio), located 2 km north of the Viñales Valley. The cave, 1 km long, was discovered only in 1920. An underground river flows inside, to which the cave owes its appearance. There are tours around the cave, and you can also take a boat trip with a local guide and listen to the legends of the ancient Indian tribes.
To the west of the Indian Cave is the Cave of Santo Tomas (Cueva de Santo Tomas), located near the town of El Moncada, is one of the largest caves in Latin America with 45 km of underground galleries. At the request of Fidel Castro, the streets of El Moncada are laid out in the form of the letters C, U, B, and A.