Welcome to Viñales

The Valley of Vinales in the Cuban Province of Pinar del Rio is one of the islands most visited locales, where a unique landscape coexists with human activity, specifically the cultivation of tobacco and coffee. The Valley occupies an area of approximately sixty square miles, and interestingly the only other similar rock formations in the world are found in China. The unique rock formations that seem to be growing out of the valley’s soil are known as “mogotes,” which resemble a small, roughly made Ayers Rock.

As well as these rock formations, there are also seventeen plant species that are found in the valley, and nowhere else on earth. Amongst these are the Corocho Palm, which is considered an ancient species, its origins being in the Jurassic period. There are also a wide variety of birds in the valley, including the “zunzun, tocororo, cartacuba, ruisenor,” and the “tomeguin del Pinar.”

The town of Vinales is located in the center of the valley, and has developed along traditional lines, as new construction along the main street continues to be built in a similar style to homes from an earlier time. Homes here are characterized by columns on their front porches, and red tile roofs. A great many of the homes in the town are bed and breakfasts, and there are many dining options.

In one of the “mogote” known as the Two Sisters visitors may see the Prehistoric Mural, the mural features drawings of life as it has developed over thousands of years in the valley, with representation of both wildlife and Cuba’s native Indian population.

There are many caves in the valley, with the most famous being the Cave of the Indian, Jose Miguel, and Santo Tomas. The San Vicente River runs underground through the Cave of the Indian, and the Santo Tomas Cave is considered one of the most extensive in Latin America, with over 20 miles of galleries.

Landside

Spelunking

Located near Pinar del Rio are the Sierra de Quemados caverns, the largest cavern system in Cuba. Here visitors will find the twenty mile long Santo Tomas cave, which is the third longest in all of Latin America. The Cave of the Indian has a section of the San Juan River through it, and is also worth a visit.

Finca La Guabina

A visit to Finca La Guabina is a nice way to spend a relaxing afternoon in Pinar del Rio. There are horses and roosters, hiking trails and horse drawn carriages, and all in a natural setting. Visitors can learn about the daily life of Cuba’s small scale farmers, and the food is simple but excellent.

Soroa

With its great variety of plant life, including orchids and ferns, and what are believed to be the smallest frogs in the world, Soroa is always worth a stop. Over 70 species of birds make their home in Soroa, many of them endemic to Cuba. There is lodging at a small villa, and the weather between December and April will have you thinking you have found paradise.

Las Terrazas

Less than an hour’s drive from Havana is the beautiful nature preserve Las Terrazas. This natural park offers visitors the opportunity to swim in cold water rivers, horseback riding, canoeing, and enjoy excellent food prepared by a few of the parks residents. The park coexists with both families who reside inside its boundaries, and some small scale commercial agricultural. One of the most popular singers of Cuban country music was from this area, and the Polo Montanez home is open to visitors next to the lake near the town center.

The La Moka Hotel is an option for any overnight guests, and it offers regular rooms, cabins, and common rooms. Las Terrazas occupies hilly terrain, and there are many hiking trails in the area. Some of which lead to nineteenth century French run coffee plantations, and the ruins of the buildings that were once an important source of income for the island.

Map

Places of Interest

  • Ancon beach
  • Cave of the Indian
  • Chinatown
  • Christopher Columbus Cemetery
  • Metropolitan Park
  • National Aquarium
  • Plaza Mayor
  • Plaza of the Revolution
  • Prehistoric Mural
  • San Jose Art Fair
  • Sugarmills Valley
  • Topes de Collantes
  • University of Havana campus
  • Viñales valley

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