Viñales is known for being the Cuban Cigar Capital with breathtaking landscapes and precipitous limestone buttresses of rock. Viñales is a must when planning your itinerary for Cuba.
The beautiful scenery that lies within the Valley de Viñales is something that words and photos just can’t do this place justice.
Horseback Riding in Viñales
You can arrange a horseback riding tour through your casa particular, hotel, or down on the main strip in town. We met in the lobby of our hotel and headed toward the horses. We each were given a horse and had a 30-second lesson and we were on our way through the National Park.
My horse was the leader of the pack and he was the main trouble maker. Always wandering off the trails to stop and grab a bite to eat.
As we made our way down into the valley through the lush countryside, we stopped at a local tobacco farm.
Tobacco Farming in Viñales
You can’t visit Viñales without touring a tobacco farm and partaking in some cigar rolling.
It was very interesting to listen to the farmers talk about how the government owns 90% of the tobacco grown on the farms and the other 10% can be used for the farmers needs to sell to tourists and locals. The 90% given to the government is used in the production of cigars that are then sold in the major cities in Cuba.
Eric and I aren’t cigar smokers but when in Cuba, do as the Cubans do.
While our guide was rolling the cigar he told us that the cigars you get in Vinales are the purest form you’ll be able to find in Cuba. The cigars sold through the factories are processed with chemicals, nicotine, and other ingredients. On the farms, they use honey, cinnamon, and other natural ingredients to add flavor.
Walking around the grounds of the tobacco farm, you’ll notice the fertile red soil. The fertile land and the climate of Viñales makes for the perfect tobacco-growing conditions.
Food in Viñales
The town has quite a few small restaurants and bars on the main street. Our favorite place to eat was Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso. It’s this cute little house up on the hillside with a 100% organic farm surrounding it.
We made sure to make reservations through our hotel to be able to sit and watch the sunset over the mogotes, a series of dome-like limestone hills that rise abruptly from the flat plain of the valley. I would suggest making reservations, as this a popular stop in Viñales, especially if you want to watch the sunset.
For your drink, be sure to ask for the ‘no stress‘. It is a mixture of coconut water, pineapple juice, mint, basil, lemon, and rum. It’s so refreshing!
This place will have you leaving with your pants unbuttoned. You’ll get so many courses and everything tastes so good; you’ll want to try everything. Our meal included: taro chips stuffed with ground beef, squash soup, greens, carrots, chicken, lamb, pork, rice, and beans. The amount of food you will get covers up the whole table.
We felt bad not being able to eat all of it and we were assured that the food did not go to waste. It was used to feed the animals and for compost out on the farm.
In the end, Viñales should be a must when traveling to Cuba. The relaxed lifestyle and breathtaking landscapes make this one of my favorite cities in Cuba.