Vinales – Cuba
The Valley of Vinales is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is most notable for its tobacco plantations as well as the strange, and unique, limestone hills (“Mogotes” in Spanish) which just seem to have sprung out of nowhere across the valley floor.
It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty where most of the country’s tobacco is grown for the Cuban cigar industry and a visit to the Casa del Veguero tobacco plantation, just outside town, is the place to go to get an explanation of the growing process and how the leaves are dried before being turned into some of the best cigars in the world.
Beneath the valley floor, the area is a maze of spectacular limestone caves. The Cueva del Indio and the Cuevas de Santo Tomas are the best cave networks to visit with underground rivers and streams cutting through the cave system. One of these subterranean rivers is large enough to take boat trips on – you might have to queue but it’s a fascinating experience so it’s worth the wait!
Above ground, as well as fabulous walking, the area is great for photographers, birdwatchers, cyclists and horse riders. It is definitely one of Cuba’s most beautiful rural areas and is a wonderful haven of peace after the frenetic energy of Havana. The best places to stay are located in the small town of Vinales, which is very sweet and has a regular market where local people sell arts and crafts and where there are some good bars and restaurants too.
If you need help planning your trip to Cuba, contact Travelfab which will be happy to assist you with your travel needs.