Attractions Nearby Vinales, Day Trips and Excursions
(Vinales, Pinar del Rio, Cuba)
While the town of Vinales is an extremely pleasant place to wander around and enjoy the rural pace of life, most visitors spend their time out in the surrounding Vinales Valley. There are numerous natural attractions scattered around the valley that make excellent excursions such as caverns, karst formations and national parks.
If you have more time to spare you may want to venture out of the valley towards the beaches of the northern coast or the urban environment of cities like Pinar del Rio. There are a couple of tour companies in Vinales that can arrange any of these day trips for you. In particular, Cubanacan offers frequent excursions to the nearby attractions of Cayo Jutias, Cayo Levisa, Maria la Gorda and the San Tomas Cave.
Day Hikes around Vinales
Address: Vinales Valley, Cuba, CU
There is a wealth of wonderful hiking around the Vinales Valley, and one of the best ways to get acquainted with the area is with a guide. The Museo Municipal Adela Azcuy
offers five guided hikes each day in both Spanish and English. They set off either at 09:00 or 15:00 and take you past traditional farms, through caves, up the side of karsts or on bird watching trips. The longest of these hikes lasts three and a half hours, while the shorter ones take just an hour. There needs to be at least two people for a hike to happen.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 and 15:00
Vinales Bus Tour
One of the greatest ways to get out and explore the rather spread-out attractions of the Vinales Valley is on the newly established Bus Tour route. These unmistakable green minibuses are open-air, but roofed, vehicles that allow riders to hop on and hop off at any of the 18 stops on the circuit. A local guide rides the bus all day giving you the lowdown on the sights. Your ticket allows you to get on and off as many times as you want in a day, and the bus stops at all the major attractions in the valley. The bus tour runs nine times each day and tickets can be purchased as you board, with buses departing from the main park.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
The key of Cayo Jutias is home to the closest beach to Vinales, making it an ideal day trip from town if you need a break from karsts and caves. It is about 60 km / 37 miles to the north along scenic mountain roads, giving you the bonus of a great drive to go with the pristine sea and sand at the beach. The northern shoreline of Cayo Jutias is home to the main sandy beachfront, which stretches for some 3 km / 2 miles. To reach Cayo Jutias you can either rent your own vehicle or hire a car and driver for the day, travelling over the short causeway connecting the mainland. It is worth noting that there is no accommodation here, with facilities being rather lacking and all part of the charm. The Restaurant Cayo Jutias is central to local tourism and a good place for seafood.
The boat dock to this lovely little island is just an hour's drive from Vinales. A further 30-minute boat ride will get you to Cayo Levisa. The squeaky white beaches here are quite beautiful, and there are a handful of shops that rent water sports equipment for you to enjoy, including both scuba diving and snorkelling gear, as well as windsurfing. This is an especially popular excursion, meaning that it is easy to arrange the trip.
Vinales National Park (Parque Nacional)
Address: Vinales, Cuba, CU
This massive national park borders the town of Vinales to the west, but oddly enough you aren't allowed to wander its marked trails by yourself. You will need to hire a guide or join an organised hike to enjoy the 14 designated excursions. They are, however, excellent hikes that take in natural and cultural highlights in the area. The Parque Nacional's most popular hiking trails include the Cocosolo Palmarito, the Maravillas de Vinales and the San Vicente routes, although countless unofficial trails are available. Another fun way to experience the park is on horseback, again by guided tour - check with the visitor centre for information. Notable attractions around the park include the Cueva del Indio
, the Cueve de San Miguel, the mountain settlement of Los Aquaticos, and the Mural de la Prehistoria.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 17:30
Pinar del Rio
Twice-daily Viazul buses connect Vinales with the nearby city of Pinar del Rio, located just 26 km / 16 miles to the south. Pinar del Rio is a busy city with much interest, as well as plenty of accommodation and shops, with the Calle Marti functioning as the main thoroughfare. Sightseers should pencil in a visit to the Museo de Ciencas Naturales Sandalio de Noda or the Museo Provincial de Historia, as well as perhaps a trip to the Fabrica de Bebidas Casa Garay (brandy) and the Fabrica de Tabacos Francisco Donatien (tobacco) factories. For evening entertainment, head to the Teatro Jose Jacinto Milanes, which ranks as one of Cuba's most historic theatres and dates from 1845.