A beautiful ranchers town overrun with Cowboys and Havana Club Rum, Viñales is a place you’ve got to check out while traveling through Cuba. The city sits to the west of Havana and is home to some of the most beautiful Tobacco and Coffee farms on the Island. There are also three caves, a lake for swimming, and endless mountaintops where you can watch the sunrise and sunset.
1. Ride through the Valley on Horseback.
The small town traditionally relies most on farm, and natural products. Accordingly, it is run by Cowboys who roam the countryside. A sage in the Valley of Vinales, they are the best resource for living like a local and are happy to add you to their string. Keep in mind however these Horses are Cuban, they are savey, creative, and tough. The tour will last anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, and is not to be taken lightly. They run 3 CUC an hour.
2. Go spelunking.
There are three caves that you can visit. If you are unable to make it, however, there are plenty of other cave tours in Matanzas and Trinidad as well. You can hop on a bike, or simply walk there, they are no more than 3 km outside of town, so I am told.
3. Jump in the lake.
Cuba is a very hot place. Instead of finding comfort under the safety of the AC unit, take a day tour to the Lake and go for a swim.
4. Have a fresh cup of coffee.
Viñales is saturated with both coffee and tobacco farms. The coffee is rich and fresh off the bush. The tour will take you through the harvesting and roasting demonstration. Enjoy the freshest from the stalk.
5. Light up a Stogie with a farmer.
Lastly, and most importantly, schedule time to take a tour to a Tobacco farm. The Cuban Cigar is the heart of Cuban culture. I can’t think of a better way than to light up an organic Cigar with the farmer himself. They are happy to have you and will teach you how to properly poof.