Just 3 hours away from Havana, at the province of Pinar del Río, you may find one of the most famous towns of Cuba: Viñales. Would you like to know what makes it ubiquitous in every guide from the island and every visitor’s dream? Then, continue reading this article.
Espíritu Travel will immerse you into the secret marvels of Viñales. Discover with us the magic of walking between mogotes and caves.
The Town of Viñales: a bucolic dream
Viñales (Vuelta Abajo, Pinar del Río) was initially an aboriginal settlement and, after the introduction of African people in Cuba by the Spaniards, a refuge of runaway slaves known as cimarrones. Many caves of the region are a conserved testimony of that period.
The origin of its name is uncertain, however some historians indicate the existence of an Iberian family, who bought the terrain around 1607 and named it after its native town in Spain: San Francisco de Viñales. It wasn’t until the first decades of the 19th century that the actual village of Viñales started to grow.
With this combination of aboriginal, African and Spanish roots it is not a surprise the cultural mixture you can feel on the language, traditions and cuisine of its people. The décima (typical bucolic poetry) and the pilón (antique instrument to shell the coffee beans and the rice) are just some of the region’s legacies to the Cuban culture. Living in Viñales Valley, a stunning landscape of rocky outcrops, known as mogotes and exuberant vegetation has been a challenge and the inhabitants adapted their houses and rustic agricultural methods to nature caprices. This unique richness caused the proclamation of Viñales Valley and the Town as National Monument in 1979 and World Cultural Landscape by the UNESCO in 1999.
Are you excited to go? Then check out Viñales’ attractions.
Discover in Viñales…
Los Jazmines Balcony
Most visitors can’t believe what they see when arriving to Los Jasmines: the capricious elevations of Viñales Valley National Park form a green landscape where hundreds of caves and endemic plants delineate exotic figures since the Jurassic period.
Los Jazmines Balcony, near to the hotel of the same name, is definitely the best spot for a panoramic picture and a mystic selfie. Handcrafted souvenirs, traditional music and fresh cocktails complete the experience.
Explore the Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás
This astonishing cave system is more than 46 km long, which makes it the biggest cave system in Cuba, and the second largest of the American continent. The presence of aquifers, extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites formations and the odd rocky accidents result in a place of spectacular beauty. Choose one our Support for Cuban people tours and visit the different levels of the Great Cavern with a local speleologist.
Mural de la Prehistoria
Dos Hermanas is the most famous mogote of Viñales. Why? Because it gathers a very unusual plastic work: The Prehistoric Mural. The polychrome creation measures 180 x 120 m and represents the biological and geological evolution of the Sierra de los Órganos, where the Valley is located.
Believe it or not, the mural was painted by people from the area under the guide of the Cuban professor Leovigildo González during 5 years. The fossils exemplified in the painting have been found in the area, for example the Ammonites and the Megalocnus rodens.
Who could forget the smoky aroma of the pork, the fish and the chicken roasted under guava leaves! Viñales cuisine is delicious and traditional, so you won’t be able of resisting to lick your fingers after a copious dinner. Espíritu Travel guides know the truly authentic paladares, don’t doubt it!
Cueva del Indio
A little stairs is the path to uncover the Cueva del Indio (Indian Cave), a karstic cave traversed by San Juan River which have been electrified and prepared for its exploration. Discovered in 1920, its inner river transform the route in an adventure you don’t wanna miss: walking a cave, taking a boat, uncover fossils of fishes and corals in the walls, everything is possible.
A horseback ride to the Viñales National Park
After dinner we would like you to explore the human harmony and natural beauty of Viñales National Park at your own pace. The protected area hides 47 archeological sites, 28 “palenques” (antique refuges build by the cimarrones during the colonial period), 17 endemic species, typical tobacco houses and coffee granges, farmers preparing the land with a creole plow from the 19th century….
There are also 11 historical sites in Viñales, among them the community of Los Malagones, a family who constituted the first rural army in Cuba, expulsing a strong band of mercenaries from the mogotes in a record time.
Traverse the greens of Viñales with a horse and feel its history and biodiversity.
Discover the tobacco path
Vuelta Abajo is a land of high quality tobacco. That’s why the fields extend until the horizon. During the 17th century, the first tobacco farmers arrived to the region with a fast economic development and a raising of the production quality. The “vegueros” used to be specialized in grow, harvest and preparation of their cigars, a secret passed generation after generation.
Today, Viñales produces some of the finest cigars in the world. But, what’s the difference between a variety and the other one? How much water do they need? How Cuban farmers keep the perfect temperature and humidity in those rustic houses? During your trip you will learn it all, hear firsthand how cigars are made, from the gentle plant to the aromatic cover. Preparing a cigar is an art. We are sure you will love it!
It sounds good? Then contact Espíritu Travel today and customize your trip to Viñales, Cuba.