Vinales Tourist Information and Tourism

(Vinales, Pinar del Rio, Cuba)

It is easy to see why Vinales and its surrounding valley was Fidel Castro's favourite part of Cuba. This extremely picturesque town and its valley of the same name are the heart and soul of Cuba's tobacco farming culture. Nowhere else in the country is so immersed in bucolic farms, friendly people and that quintessential rural Cuban lifestyle. The town itself is a sedate hamlet of front porches, pine trees and a distinct lack of traffic.

Such is the cultural value of Vinales that UNESCO designated the valley a heritage site in 1999. With its trademark karst (eroded limestone) pillars called 'mogotes' rising up like sentinels from the valley floor, it really doesn't get much more scenic than this. Besides tobacco farming, Vinales supports itself through tourism.

Outdoor recreation and general chilling out are the main activities on offer, and a fair number of small hotels exist to shelter visitors. Decent tourist information is available at most travel shops, including both the Cubanacan and the Havanatur tourism outlets on the Calle Salvador Cisneros, since Vinales is a very popular Cuban holiday destination.

Vinales Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Although some of the attractions at Vinales are very much geared up for tourists, others simply make the most of their scenic setting, with guided tours of the tobacco farms within the valley coming highly recommended. At the Casa del Verguero farm, visitors can watch the workers as they sort and cure the tobacco leaves, before they roll the cigars for the onsite shop. Located on the northern side of town, the Casa de Caridad Botanical Gardens (El Jardin de Caridad) provide a tranquil spot with lots of flowering orchids. At the Cueva del Indio cave, the petroglyphs and underground boat trip see large numbers of tourists, so an early morning visit is advisable if you want to avoid the crowds. A larger and less commercialised cave is the Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas, where giant stalagmites and stalactites are literally centuries old. Based within the Parque Nacional Vinales and on the westerly outskirts, the enormous Mural de la Prehistoria is another popular sight worth seeing. More information about Vinales Tourist Attractions.

The Vinales Valley is filled with majestic natural landmarks and much of its character is the result of gradual erosion over many thousands of years. The valley itself is quite enormous (132 square kilometres / 51 square miles) and surrounds the town, where it features caves, walking trails and some rather dramatic limestone mogotes. These monoliths began their life as part of the Sierra de los Organos mountain range and the highest towers for approximately 300 metres / 985 feet high, affording superb photo opportunities. More information about Vinales Landmarks and Monuments.

Museums are certainly not what tourists come to Vinales to see, although if you are holidaying in this part of Cuba, then the local Municipal Museum of Adela Azcuy (Museo Municipal Adela Azcuy) makes for an interesting diversion. This museum is conveniently located on the Calle Salvador Cisneros thoroughfare and contains much local information, with innumerable Cuban artefacts telling the story of a folk heroine who famously fought and campaigned for Cuban independence. Nearby is the Casa de la Cultura Gallery, which stands right next to the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture) and is a good place to come to see the works of local artists and artisans, with regular concerts and performances thrown into the mix. More information about Vinales Museums.

It is true to say that most people staying here come to see the Vinales Valley, rather than the actual town. Consequently, the town offers the perfect base for a variety of day trips and hikes around the valley. A number of different guided hikes are available and along the way you will see caves, farms and karsts, whilst also enjoying a spot of twitching (bird watching). Those feeling less inclined to spend a day on their feet should join the Vinales Bus Tour, where frequent open-air minibuses will transport you around the region, allowing you to alight and reboard at 18 different stops. At around an hour to the north of Vinales, the key of Cayo Jutias boasts the nearest beach and is reached via some extremely scenic mountain roads. The city of Pinar del Rio is even closer and comes with quality attractions such as the Natural Science Museum (Museo de Ciencas Naturales Sandalio de Noda) and the Fabrica de Tabacos Francisco Donatien tobacco factory. The nearby island of Cayo Levisa is also within reach and its sandy white beaches are just a short drive and boat trip away. More information about Vinales Attractions Nearby.

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