Have you already booked your trip to Cuba? As the country is now opening up more and more to the rest of the world (especially the US) it is a given that the Cuba in 10 years will look very much different from the Cuba today. So if Cuba is somewhere on your travel bucket list, now is the time to move it up the list!
There are lots of different travel itineraries for Cuba from backpacking a few weeks through the country to hopping from one pretty hotel to the next one. The most popular destinations on any Cuba travel itinerary are often Havana, Trinidad and some of the beautiful white sandy beaches. And if you have a few more days you should also make it to the west of Cuba and explore the nature-tourism spots of Artemisa and Pinar del Río. If your stay in Cuba doesn’t allow for a few more days here and there, just book the one day trip to Vinales / Pinar del Río. The tour leaves from Havana in the morning and brings you back around the early evening (depending on whether the bus makes it back to the city – more of that towards the end of the post). You can book these tours through the travel agencies that are based in some hotels in Havana or online if you manage to find a wifi spot that works. Finding places with a working and fast internet connection can be very tricky in Cuba – at least for now. This will likely change soon.
The Vinales / Pinar del Río day trip itinerary
First Stop Of the Vinales Day Trip: Rum Factory
The first stop is a rum factory where you can join a tour that shows you how the rum is made. The tour will lead you through most of the factory and you get to buy rum in the little shop at the end of the tour. After around an hour the tour continues to the tobacco farm. On the way you will pass some beautiful viewing spots like the one below.
Yes, the famous cars are everywhere.. :)
Second Stop Of the Vinales Day Trip: Tobacco Farm
The second stop of the tour is the tobacco farm. The tour takes around half an hour which includes a cigar rolling demonstration and explanation of the entire process from plant to cigar. At the end of the tour you can buy cigars. I think we paid around 20 USD for 10 cigars. The cigars were really good and super fresh. So that was definitely worth it. So by now you should have a little bottle of rum and some cigars with you – perfect souvenirs to take home from your Cuba trip :)
Third Stop of the Vinales Day Trip: Mural de la Prehistoria
The first thing that you will see at the Mural de la Prehistoria is the huge painting on the side of the rock. The painting is 120m long and was designed in 1961 by artist Leovigildo González Morillo. The painting with its dinosaurs and snails is supposed to show the theory of evolution and is said to have been commissioned by Fidel Castro. Well, it is debatable how much beauty or not this painting adds to the area, so in case you are not quite convinced, no worries, there is a restaurant next to it where you can have lunch and some local rum.
Last Stop of the Vinales Day Trip: Underground Caves
The last activity of the Vinales day tour is a little boat ride through an underground cave. This is actually quite a pretty cave to ride through and worth doing if the queue is not so long. If you are part of the Vinales day tour you are most likely able to skip the queue of visitors that have come there individually.
And just when you are about to head back to Havana..
So this was our bus driver trying to park the bus smartly… and got stuck. Obviously the guys were not able to move the bus. Nor was the gentleman in the red shirt able to move it with his telekinesis skills..
Unfortunately, the tractor failed as well..
But then a big truck came along and pulled the bus back on to the street. What an adventure haha. After around an hour of desperate attempts to get the bus moving we thought we would have to stay the night in a local guest house drinking the rum and smoking the cigars we had bought earlier that day.. Woudn’t have been the worst way to spend the evening though :)