Viñales is three hours away from Havana

Valle de Viñales is a great escape from the busy cities. The valley is perfect for horse riding and checking out the tobacco farms. Viñales is also great for biking to the very interesting Mural de PreHistoria.

A tiny town with a huge influence over the rest of the country, Vinales is where the very best tobacco is grown for the biggest cigar brands. Cohiba, Montecristo, Cuaba – they all use the leaves grown in this valley.

From the mountains surrounding it to the little dance club behind the main square, Viñalesepitomises regional Cuban life.

Things to see in Viñales, Cuba:

• Hike through tobacco fields

• Organic farm

• Lunch at El Olivo Restaurant

Cueva del Indio

Our tour consisted of 3 parts; a cave with an underground lake, a tobacco farm, and horseback riding though the valley. Our tour guide described the cave, Cueva del Indio, as “Disneyland” since other tourists would be there. Fortunately, it wasn’t that crowded when we arrived. For $5 you get to go inside a cool cave and take a boat ride as the captain points out rock formations that look like animals, I wasn’t super excited for this but it was actually really cool! I am glad we stopped. There was a spot to grind your own sugar cane for a cocktail and an actor dressed as a native Cuban on the way in, a little cheesy but entertaining nonetheless.

Tobacco Farm

Next we visited the tobacco farm which was my favorite! We stood inside a barn filled with drying tobacco leaves as the farmer explained fun facts about cigar making and how each family’s recipe is a little different. We then each got to try one! I am not a smoker but boy were these fun! He even dipped them in honey for the ladies. Sipping on a mojito, smoking an organic Cubano, and overlooking the mogotes in the valley was divine! We bought cigars here and got 20 for $60USD which seemed cheaper than in Havana. Our entire group was purchasing some so we were able to haggle a bit.

Horseback Riding

By the time we headed to the horses we were pretty tired and the horses seemed tired too. The horseback riding was a little overrated but for 10USD an hour, you can’t complain. We are not huge horseback riding people to begin with and it was super hot so we felt bad for the horses. However, we did get to see some pretty views we wouldn’t have otherwise. Then we headed back to Havana. Stopping by a road-side stand of the largest, juiciest fresh picked mangos was the perfect way to conclude our Viñales visit.

  • We paid $40 USD for the experience, which ended up being about 4 hours. This included our visit to the coffee plantation and the cafe, but the drinks and food were extra.
  • If you’re not comfortable with the horse you’re given, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for a different one. The horses are definitely mild, but comfort is a must. You and your ride will be BFFs for the next 4 hours.
  • Bring a light rain poncho. We started our adventure in the sun and got drizzled on. None of us minded, really—so it’s up to you.
  • Keep a good grip on your phone or camera. It’s not a smooth ride, but pictures are half the fun!
  • Instead of buying your trek on the main street, ask Cuban family in your casa de particular about local tours.

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