A dream trip to the Viñales Valley

By: César Gómez

The Viñales Valley is located 178km from Havana and 25km from Cuba’s westernmost city of Pinar del Río.

It is reached by road trip along the national highway, followed by a steep road full of dangerous curves, which local drivers negotiate with great skill. Suddenly, visitors are met with an excellent viewpoint and discover a landscape that they will never forget.

The millenary and steep limestone mounds, known as mogotes, are the background of the wonderful scenery that in 1999 was declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.

However, the valley offers a host of other surprises, such as traveling by boat through the Cueva del Indio, discovering the secrets and culture of African slaves in the Cueva de los Cimarrones, and admiring the impressive Mural of Prehistory drawn by mountaineers on one of the mogotes.

In the small town of Viñales, a survivor of several hurricanes, the colorful wooden houses of the colonial era stand out, while many others have been converted into hostels with all the comforts of modernity. In addition, the Los Jazmines and La Ermita hotels both offer a privileged view of the valley.

Pinar del Río is the land of the best tobacco in the world. There is no greater delight than visiting the farmers who tell the secrets of how to grow and enjoy it, along with a shot of rum, or a cup of Creole coffee sweetened with honey.

Viñales is close to heaven, but it is also undoubtedly the closest thing to paradise on earth.