Viñales is to the north of Havana and was 8 hours away from Trinidad, again we relied on the trusted Viazul Bus to get from Trinidad in the middle to Viñales in the north of the island. Viñales Valley is a UNESCO world heritage site and has been protected since 1999.
Being in Viñales actually felt like being in another country, the valley was unspoilt and some part appeared to be unchanged since pre-historic times.
The weather in Viñales was much cooler than any other city we had visited. The weather was cooler at between 25-27 degrees with a breeze whilst we were there.
Where I stayed
Casa León León
We stayed in Casa León León an amazing Casa particular with a great host. Leon who is the owner is an elderly man you would want to spend hours talking to and he was so lovely that he rode his bike to come meet us at the Viazul terminal to bring us back to the Casa. We had a large double room with two double beds with our own bathroom. Breakfast as with the other Casa’s we stayed in was delicious, Cuban breakfast rocks. We paid CUC60 for 2 night, I really recommend this Casa. Address: Calle Adela Azcuy # 45, Vinales, Cuba Tel: +53 48 796380
What I did
To fully explore the Island we bought a hop on hop off Viñales bus tour ticket for CUC5, the bus takes you along most of the major tourist attractions in the valley and the ticket lasts the whole day.
Jardin Botanico de Caridad
Viñales is rather small, so the centre is only 15 minutes walk from end to end. Jardin Botanico de Caridad is a five minutes walk from the central plaza. The jardin (garden) is beautifully kept and a great place to lose ones self. Viñales is already a quiet town so the jardin feels like a sanctuary within a sanctuary. However there was one weird thing about the jardin in that they had dismembered doll parts all over the place, it was initially scary but soon it became normal to see the creepy little doll heads, legs or arms hanging in an amongst the beautiful plants.
Cueva del Indio
We chose to use the boat at a cost of CUC5 to get through the caves, lets just say the queue to get on the boat lasted longer than the boat ride through the caves itself. Nevertheless the experience was worthwhile and after disembarking from the boat we got a chance to walk though and explore the adjacent ranch whilst we waited for the hop on hop off bus, there is also a bar, restaurants and souvenir shops to keep you entertained.
Mural de la Prehistoria
The entrance fee to see the mural up close was CUC3 and the ticket entitles you to a free drink at a bar. This attraction is bitter-sweet in that because we came to see this attraction I got to taste the best Pina colada I have ever tasted. Once we looked at the less than impressive mural which we could see from the road we had 1 hour 20 mins to wait until the next bus so we decided to explore the area, we did a small walk up the side of the mountain and then walked into the neighbouring village where most people grew coffee. After that we went to the bar and indulged in the cocktails, the bar man liked us and was very generous with the rum serving and gave us multiple free refills.
Hotel Los Jazmines
This hotel is worth stopping off at for the best views of the amazing valley. From here you can really see the prehistoric rock formations that make the valley really special. There is a souvenir shops and a restaurant to sit and relax and get away from the afternoon sun. I also believe for a small fee you can use the hotel’s swimming pool. There is a village nearby so if you are curious you can take a walk into the village like we did.
We walked around and explored the quaint little town, aimlessly wandering is a great way to explore and find great things.
Food and Drink
This was one of the most reasonably priced restaurant in Viñales and the food was very delicious hence why we eat there both nights that we were in the town. My meal with a glass of beer cost CUC8.
Bar 3 J
This was a cool bar that was bustling every night with tourists and locals alike. The daiquiris were to die for and only CUC3 and that’s why we went back a second night.
Review of Viñales
This town was the perfect stop after the craziness of Santiago de Cuba and the activities in Trinidad, as we were getting towards the end of our trip Viñales was a welcomed change of pace and a great place to unwind. If you are visiting Cuba try to add Viñales to one of the destinations you visit, it is only 4 hours away from Havana and truly worthwhile.
So what next
The next stop is back to Havana where it all started.
Do you want to find out what we did in Havana for the second time and how we completed our trip to Cuba? Then follow my blog to find out more and you will be notified as I upload more posts.
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