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Vinales Valley

  • Vinales, Pinar del Rio, Cuba

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 31 March, 2024

The Vinales Valley, a UNESCO-protected limestone landscape celebrated for its ancient tobacco cultivation techniques, sits at the western end of the magnificent Sierra de los Organos mountain range. The mini forest-cloaked limestone haystack mountains, known as mogotes, stud the ruddy red floor of a valley ploughed by oxen and patterned by tobacco fields.

Tobacco leaf-drying huts and thatched huts (bohíos) complete the unique, timeless sculpted landscape.

Cuba’s best tobacco terroir is south of Viñales at San Juan y Martínez. Tour the Hector Luis Prieto (Quemado de Rubí) plantation and watch a roller (torcedor) craft cigars.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Organised tours are available from Havana, but you can go independently to appreciate the valley at your own pace. Hire a car to drive to the valley, or take the punctual, reliable government-run coach from Havana to Vinales village (about 3 hours). You’ll need a hire car or a taxi to get to Finca Hector’s tobacco plantation. Ask your B&B in Vinales to find you a driver.

Once there, your transportation requirements are minimal. The valley can easily be explored on foot or by bicycle or by hop-on hop-off bus. Maps, guides, tours bookings and general information are available at the Vinales Valley Visitors’ Center (close to the Hotel Los Jazmines; open daily 8am-5pm).

To really understand this beautiful ecosystem – and the lives of the farmers who live here – though book a guided walk with a local expert (through the visitors’ centre) or with The Vinales Experience.

Guided horseback rides are another wonderful way to take in valley floor sights. Around 2-5 hours duration, they can also be booked with The Vinales Experience.

When to do it

Cuba’s dry season from November to April is best for walking and general valley visits.

For cigar aficionados (and photographers) February and March sees tall, bright green tobacco plants carpet the valley floor, and the harvesting, when thousands of leaves are strung up in farm barns to dry.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Our writer’s recommended tour operators to book with

The Vinales Experience

  • Vinales, Cuba

No Image Available for this listing

A Cuban-British outfit that has running tours of the Vinales Valley since 2017. All their tours are mindful of sustainability and donate to community projects.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Havana

  • Cuba

Colorful colonial buildings, Havana, Cuba

Destination guide

Sensual and sultry communist Caribbean capital, home to captivating, crumbling architecture, and enlivened by dance, music, avant-garde art and cocktails. Impossible to describe, there’s nowhere else quite like it.