The 2021 Viñales Travel Guides
Top Activities & Attractions
- Viñales Nightlife
- Best Things to Do in Viñales
- Best Restaurants in Viñales
- Cayo Levisa Cuba: Complete Travel Guide
- Cayo Jutías Cuba: Complete Travel Guide
Moving there and around
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, the Viñales Valley has everything to please!
Its breathtaking landscapes, traditional tobacco plantations, caves and mogotes make it a must-see on any trip to Cuba! We tell you everything to not miss anything of the Valley of Vinales!
The Valley of Viñales in a few words
It is in the west of Cuba, in the province of Pinar del Río that you will have to go to discover the luxuriant Valley of Viñales.
In the heart of the Sierra de los Organos, the city of Viñales, gateway to the valley, is easily accessible from Havana (180 km – 2h30 approx.) and from the capital of the province, Pinar del Río (30 km – 45 min.).
Getting to Viñales
Getting to Viñales is not very complicated.
The valley is very touristy and easy to access.
A Viazul bus serves the city daily from Havana for 12 CUC.
However, be aware that the bus station in the capital is a bit out of the way and that you will have to pay for a cab to get there.
Buses are also crowded with tourists: remember to book in advance if you want to be sure to have a seat!
Otherwise, you can also go to the Vinales Valley by collective cab.
To do so, you just have to ask your hotel or casa particular to book the trip for you.
The cab will then pick you up directly at your casa.
Count 20 CUC per person for the Havana-Vinales trip.
Viñales is the only real city in the valley, and it is there that you will find all the touristic infrastructures (casas, restaurants, travel agencies, currency exchange office, etc.)
It is therefore from Viñales that you can start exploring the valley.
Getting around Viñales
The reputation of the Viñales Valley, a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1999, is well established.
The lush vegetation, the traditional tobacco cultivation, and especially the famous mogotes, limestone hills covered with vegetation that point their rounded peaks to some 300 meters above sea level, make Vinales an essential stop on any trip to Cuba.
The spectacular karst landscapes, the richness of the local fauna and flora and the vast tobacco fields of the region invite you to hike and explore.
Along the way, you will surely come across “guarijos”, the Cuban peasants who travel by horse or cart.
Caving enthusiasts will also be delighted: the region has a thousand caves to explore.
Tobacco growing in the Viñales Valley
Why here and not elsewhere? The red soil, which contributes to the singularity of the landscapes of the Viñales Valley, is very fertile.
The climate is also particularly favorable to the cultivation of tobacco, with during the dry season (the period in which tobacco is grown) very low rainfall (<50mm per month) and a mild climate (23°C on average).
In Viñales, traditional agricultural techniques are still used and almost everything is done by hand, from sowing to harvesting! Indeed, the tobacco cultivated by mechanical means is of lesser quality.
The “guarijos” of the region therefore continue to maintain the ancestral agricultural know-how.
The same is true for the manufacture of cigars.
A Transtur shuttle (5 CUC per day) serves the different tourist places in the area.
You can buy your ticket directly on the bus.
For more information about the route, go to the Transtur stop in the central square of Viñales.
What to do in Viñales?
Hiking in the Viñales Valley
To discover the Viñales Valley, there is nothing better than a hike.
There is something for everyone: on foot, on horseback, on bicycle! The most adventurous will go on their own.
Don’t forget to bring a map, or even better, download the map of the region on your phone before your departure (they will be available offline once in Cuba).
If you are afraid of getting lost, many guided excursions can be booked in Viñales.
Ask at your casa particular or at the Infotur and Cubanacan agencies on the main street.
During your walk, you will cross the traditional tobacco plantations, get closer to the mogotes and venture into some of the thousand caves of the region.
So put on your sneakers, and let’s go!
Exploring the caves of the valley
Get your flashlights! The unique geology of the Viñales Valley, which is responsible for its recognizable mogotes, is also the source of a network of caves that are just waiting to be explored.
The Cueva del Indio and the Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas are the two best known and most easily accessible caves.
The Cueva del Indio
This is the more touristic of the two caves.
Located 6km north of Viñales, near the village of San Vicente, the Cueva del Indio was discovered by Juan Díaz, a local farmer, in 1920.
Rock paintings and archaeological remains found inside the cave indicate that it was inhabited in the pre-Columbian period.
This is where it gets its name today.
The San Vicente River runs through the Cueva del Indio: you can do part of the visit by motorboat.
Count 5 CUC for the entrance.
You will also find a restaurant on site.
La Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas
With its 46 km, La Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas is the largest network of caves in Cuba.
Located in Moncada, 17 km from Viñales, it is better preserved than the Cueva del Indio.
An indigenous mural painting testifies to its long history.
The cave was also used as a refuge for escaped slaves.
Accompanied by a speleologist, you can explore part of the Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas.
The 1h30 visit will cost you 8 CUC.
A small museum is also present on site (1 CUC extra).
Excursions from Viñales (20 CUC) are also available.
Visit of the cigar factories
You want to know everything about the famous Cuban cigars? Go to one of the many factories in the Viñales Valley!
The region is indeed the first producer of tobacco in Cuba.
The guarijos, the peasants, still practice today the traditional agriculture – with, in particular, ploughs drawn by oxen – which allows the production of cigars of better quality than the mechanized agriculture.
The manufacture of cigar is a long and meticulous process, which the producers will be delighted to share with you.
And as nothing is worth the practice, you will be able of course to taste the local production! If you want to smoke cigars like Che Guevara, you should know that he always dipped the end in honey!
Mural de la Prehistoria
The Mural de la Prehistoria is a misnomer! Located 4 km west of Viñales, this fresco of 120 meters high and 180 meters long was made on a mogote in the 1960s by Leovigildo Gonzales Morillo (student of the famous Mexican painter Diego Riviera).
Commissioned by the Castro regime, this mural aims to represent the evolution of the island of Cuba (from ammonites… to men).
Count 3 CUC for the visit.
Otherwise, the meal at the restaurant on the spot (15 CUC) includes the entrance ticket.
You can also go horseback riding in the surroundings of the fresco (5 CUC per hour).
There are also hiking trails that lead to the top of the mogote from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Viñales Valley.
Take in the view from the terrace of the Los Jazmines Hotel
The Los Jazmines Hotel (Carretera a Viñales, Km.23), 3 km south of Viñales, has a superb panorama of the valley.
You can enjoy the view over a drink, and even take a dip in the pool for 7 CUC.
Count on about 3 CUC for the cab ride from the center of Viñales.
If you want to sleep there, the room is between 50 and 90 CUC a night.
La Casa de la Caridad, the botanical garden of Viñales
Nature lovers will be delighted! The botanical garden of Viñales has beautiful orchids and fruit trees of all kinds.
Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
Los Acuáticos Community
Located 6km west of Viñales, Los Acuáticos is a community created in 1943 by the peasant woman Antoñica Izquierdo, who is said to have discovered healing properties in the water of the region.
Today, only two families still reside there.
A 3-hour guided tour (10 CUC) allows you to discover the community and its surroundings, which are ideal for hiking.
The view at sunrise is breathtaking.
It is also possible to book an excursion to Los Acuáticos in Viñales.
Best Places to Visit from Viñales
Viñales is the ideal starting point to a host of other extraordinary places that are waiting for you! So, put your backpack back on, the exploration continues!
Cayo Levisa is a small paradise island off the coast of the province of Pinar del Río.
It is possible to make a day trip there, or to stay in the only hotel on the spot: Hotel Cayo Levisa.
If your budget is too tight to afford a getaway to Cayo Levisa or if you still have some sunscreen to use, head for Cayo Jutias.
Less confidential but easier (and cheaper) to access than the first one, this island is linked to the mainland by road.
Spearheading sustainable development in Cuba, Las Terrazas is a community created in the 1970s in the mountains of the Sierra del Rosario.
Classified as a biosphere reserve and a Unesco World Heritage Site, it is now equipped with eco-tourism infrastructures.
Soroa is a mountain village located in the heart of the Sierra del Rosario.
The climate, characterized by heavy rainfall, favors the development of a particularly lush vegetation and feeds the waterfalls and natural pools of the region.
Peninsula of Guanahacabibes
The Peninsula of Guanahacabibes, in the extreme west of the island, is home to a national park classified as a biosphere reserve by Unesco.
It is also where María la Gorda is located, a small paradise for divers! It is a welcome break, far from the tourist agitation.
Few are those who venture so far to the west.
Our good addresses in Vinales
It is located in a quiet area, about 10 minutes walk from the center of the city.
For 10 CUC per person, you can also have dinner there in the evening.
On the menu: ropa vieja, lobster… A treat! If your budget allows it, we also recommend the
Hotel E Central Viñales
located in front of the church, on the main square.
The hotel opened very recently, and it is still brand new (which, in Cuba, is not necessarily a common thing).
Some of the rooms have a nice view of the main square of Vinales and the small patio is really nice.
You will find most of the infrastructures along the main street:
Bank & exchange offices:
- Banco de Crédito y Comercio: Salvador Cisneros n°58
- Cadeca: corner Salvador Cisneros and Adela Azcuy
Viazul Agency: Salvador Cisneros n°63A
Travel agencies / excursions :
- Infotur: Salvador Cisneros n°63B
- Cubanacan: Salvador Cisneros n°63C
Etecsa : Ceferino Fernández n°3