Valle de Vinales
We got to Vinales directly from Playa Giron, which is not possible by bus. You can take the bus to Havana and then change into another bus to Vinales, but that´s not possible in one day. So, we took a collective taxi, paid 40 CUC/ person and traveled almost all day. It was amazingly well organized. The shared taxi took us shortly before Havana, where we were transferred into a small bus for 12 persons to Vinales. It drove everyone to their casa.
Vinales is an amazing nice little town. Even tough it is very touristy, it still has a nice and layed-back charme! Maybe that comes with the mountains J. The countryside is known for the mogotes – the typical limestone mountain formations that look like they have grass-hair (it´s also a UNESCO natural world heritage area). Because of the limestone, there are many caves in the area.
There are many, many casas (almost every house is a casa!), bars and restaurants in Vinales. We called a casa in advance and with the fifth one we were lucky, but it did cost us 35 CUC per night, which is expensive in Cuba. And it’s the same as always, you don´t need to book in advance, but if you do so the collective taxi can drop you right there. We didn´t have breakfast and dinner in the casa, since there are a lot of cheap and good options for food in the town center. Make sure you get a casa with a roof terrace, because it is really nice to either see sunset or sunrise in the valley! That´s really calm, relaxing, quite and beautiful!
We did a hiking trip in the Vinales natural park – on our own, without a tour. That is easy and possible (even if people tell you otherwise). We weren´t interested in horseback riding (because we heard about bad conditions for the horses) and talked to some people who went on their own. Reading about an easy hike in our travel guide, we just got up early and went into the nearest valley. The hike led us to the backside of the town, following Calle Adela Azcuy North-West in direction of the big Mogote de Valle. We passed Rauls farm and followed the sign to Cueva de la Vaca that passes through the mogote and leds into the Valley. The cave is nothing special but you can have nice views of boths sides. It´s a bit dark so at least a Phone or something with a little light helps! Following the path we passed the acient large tree and continued the walk in the Valle de la Guasasa. We passed some tobacco plantations and farms, watched the workers and ended at the Mirador viewpoint. It has a great view on the valleys and offers refreshing fruit juices starting from 2 CUC. From there we headed into the Valle de Dos Hermanas where we got a glimpse at the awfully painted hill Mural de la Prehistoria (we were really happy we didn´t go there only to see the painting!). Passing the Campismo, the now paved road returns to Viñales. The last bit is boring, because it´s just walking on the street with some traffic, if you are lucky u might catch a taxi from the Campismo back to town which shouldn´t be more than 2 CUC.
- Go on the hike on your own, start around the sunrise, all the horse riding and guided tours start at 9 a.m.
- Save money and eat Pan con Tortilla across the bakery on Calle Adela Azcuy
- Enjoy the sunset with a beer or rum on the roof terrace of your casa