Cuban cities may be exciting, but one thing is sure – nothing leaves you more breathless than divine Cuban nature. In the beautiful lush valley, you’ll find Viñales and the laid back atmosphere it offers. This relaxing little town is a perfect stop after the busy Havana streets. Here, you can feed your body and your mind, while riding a horse, hiking or just wandering through the endless valley. On the top of that, you’ll have a chance to meet a real Cuban farmers and learn how Cuban tobacco is produced. One day may not be a long time, yet, you’ll surely enjoy every minute of it.
What’s the best time to visit Viñales?
The subtropical climate means hot temperatures all year around accompanied with two main seasons. The rainy season runs from May to October, and can bring daily showers and, at times, hurricanes. It’s also a part of a year with an almost unbearable humidity level. The dry season, November to April, is more preferable time to visit. However, it’s also the busiest time in Viñales. During the Christmas and Easter, the town gets full with tourist, but literally full. That means, if you’re traveling during that period, make sure to book a hotel or a casa particular in advance. To avoid crowds, pick early May or November.
Few facts about Viñales
Viñales is an agricultural town, located in a lush valley of a same name, in the Pinar del Rio province of Cuba. For its outstanding landscape and traditional agriculture, the valley is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. No wonder even Fidel Castro found it a favourite place in Cuba.
Fruits, vegetables, coffee and tobacco are grown and produced here, with a use of traditional methods and techniques. The natural landscape is accompanied with the traditional vernacular architecture – multicolored and bright one storey houses that truly make Viñales one of the most picturesque places on Earth.
One Day in Viñales Itinerary:
Top things to do in Viñales, Cuba
Breakfast at Casa
Viñales may have a few amazing restaurants, but nothing is more delicious than a breakfast in Casa Particular. If you sleep in a casa, make sure to arrange a breakfast a day in advance. It will cost you an additional 4-6 CUC per person, but will be oh-so-worth-it. Fried eggs, avocados, fresh fruit juices and a fruit salad can be found in almost every casa. It will surely make you ready for a whole day of wandering.
Pick yourself a preferable guided tour
Viñales valley can be explored on your own – but you may be missing lots of interesting stuff. There are dozens of amazing guided tours that can be booked in a tour agency just across the main square.
Pick yourself the most suitable one, whether is a horseback riding tour through a valley, bicycle tour or a walking tour. Make sure to visit a Tobacco farm where you can learn a process of growing, drying and rolling tobacco. You’ll get a chance to try it as well, and since they are completely organically grown and pesticide free, you can enjoy the taste of cigar even more. At the end of a tour you can even purchase a box of those cigars.
Besides the farms, there are two amazing caves that can be explored on tours as well – Cueva del Indio and Cuevas de Santo Tomas.
Depending on a tour you choose – wear the right shoes and the comfy clothes. All the tours, even just a walking tour, can be exhausting and it’s important to have super comfortable walking shoes on.
Espresso and tapas at 3J Bar de Tapas
You may be pretty exhausted by this time, especially if you picked a tour that’s more adventurous. Therefore, it’s a perfect time to chill on a terrace of 3J Bar and have some mojito or espresso. This relaxing place also offers a variety of tapas so you can grab something before your lunch. It’s also a perfect spot to meet the fellow travelers since it’s one of the most popular bars in the whole town.
Visit the Plaza Jose Marti
The main square and the central point of this little town is the Plaza Jose Marti. It’s both the cathedral square and a favourite gathering point for locals. Since it’s one of a few places where you can connect to the Wi-fi, the place is always packed with people surfing on their phones. The cathedral Iglesia del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus may be built in a simple manner, but it’s indeed very beautiful.
Take a Hop-on-Hop-off bus through the valley
Actually, you can even grab a taxi, but the bus is a way more affordable option. The Hop-on-Hop-off bus runs every 90 minutes from the bus station just across the Cathedral square. Keep in mind it only runs until 7 PM. The bus has several stops so you can get off whenever you decide to. It’s a great way to see the rest of a valley, especially if you’re already super tired of walking from your morning tour.
Walk and Lunch at Balcon del Valle
You’re definitely starving by now, and the most beautiful place to have an amazing lunch with the most spectacular view of the valley is Balcon de Valle. It’s also a super affordable place to eat. Don’t forget to order an amazing season salads and season fruit juices. Wait for a sunset time as the landscape starts to change its color and the whole atmosphere gets super romantic.
Dinner at the Barrio
There may be other recommendations for a nice dinner place, but they can hardly beat Barrio. Food in the Barrio is super delicious, the plates look amazing and they’re still pretty affordable. Start with some seasoned or tuna salad and don’t miss a chance to try their grilled lobster. Make sure to reserve a table, cause it can get pretty busy during the night.
Night at the Square and Centro Cultural
Plaza Jose Marti gets really packed during the night. The vendors are selling the super cheap cocktails, and the Cuban rhythms that are coming from Centro Cultural makes a great vibe. It’s an amazing place to meet both locals and other travellers and afterwards watch the great live performances at Centro Cultural and ultimatively to hit the dance floor and to learn some salsa moves. Pretty cheap entrance, reasonable drinks and loads of fun makes this place the ultimate one for a fun night out.
Where to stay in Viñales?
Casa particular (Private apartments) may be the best (and at times the only) choice for your stay in Viñales. Even though it’s possible to find your casa once you’re there, due to a limited number of casas it’s better to book it online or to reserve it via phone. The accommodation there is pretty affordable and they usually prepare breakfast at a cost of a few dollars.
Extra tips for visiting Viñales
Keep in mind that accommodation capacities can easily be filled during the busy season. To save yourself from that hastle, book your accommodation in advance.
Viazul buses are the most convenient and the cheapest intercity transport in Cuba. Whenever you can, travel with Viazul, but make sure to book your ticket at least a day in advance.
Mosquito repellant can be a saver, especially during the wet season. Buy yourself one.
In Viñales, there are only a few small shops with quite reduced assortment. Buy everything that you’ll eventually need in advance.
In case you have more than just One Day in Viñales check out Tripadvisor for detailed list of all the top things to do in Viñales.
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