You´re visiting the bautiful valley of Viñales? Great. Then this post is for you.
Viñales is a pretty popular place to visit. It´s the place of tabaco planations Cuba´s famous for. But no worries, even if you are not the only visitor here, it´s so relaxed and calm that you won´t notice that the area is full of tourists.
There´re 3 hotels around : Los Jasmines, La Ermita and Rancho San Vicente. I would recommend you though to stay in a Casa Particular. Cuban B&B´s are smaller so probably you´ll be the only visitor at the house. Also that´s the best way to meet locals, chat a bit, experience the latin hospitality and try the best food. Because there´s no restaurant in Cuba that serves meals like a Cuban mum 🙂 If you want to relax next to the pool though, you can pay at the reception of any of the 3 hotels mentioned above and enjoy all day of sweet lazyness 🙂
Hotel Los Jasmines and Casa Particular La Tita
Most of people stay in Viñales for 2-3 days. During this time you can choose to do some horse riding or do the walking tour of the area. On the walking tours you can visit the farms, meet the farmers and try some cigarrs. You´re in Cuba after all 🙂
You can try to do to do some canopy as well. This atraction will cost you 15CUC but it´s a cool experience with local guides and amazing views.
There are few caves in the area, one available by boat (the nicest one) but don´t be suprise to pay 5CUC for a short boat ride. If you not a big fan of caves maybe skip this one.
On the main road you´ll find plenty of restaurants but again, if you´re staying in Casa Particular you´ll eat much better home. Restaurants here are bit overpriced and quality of food is…let´s say average.
However there´s a eco farm 20min walking from the center of town. They have a restaurant with the view and the food is really decent. If you choose to climb there in the middle of the afternoon make sure you try their Anti Stress Smoothie served Cuban style – you ask for smoothie and you´ll get it with a brand new bottle of rum so you can add it yourself. It does take all your stress away I must say. PS after opening the bottle don´t forget to put some drops of rum on the floor- for the dead ones.
At night don´t miss Polo Montañez Culture Center, located right next to the church on the main square. Every night the locals and tourists meet there to watch the show and dance salsa. It´s a good fun. And if you´re lucky enough to spend a Saturday night here make sure you go to the cave called El Palenque de los Cimarrones which has disco once a week.
If you are a beach person go to Cayo Jutias. It´s located more less 50km north from Viñales, perfect for one day trip. You can get there by taxi which will costs 50CUC (45EUR) both ways and the driver will wait for you at the beach. Alternatively, next to Los Jazmines hotel you can rent a scooter for 25CUC a day (20EUR) and go there on your own.
What to do after Viñales?
Well, there´re a lot of options. You could choose to go to Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Cayo Levisa or wherever else you want 🙂 I really recommend you to go to Maria La Gorda beach. It´s a small hotel with bad food but the beach….the beach is amazing.