Destination: Viñales Valley - Cuba's Home of Tobacco
“In Cuba specifically in Havana, there is a sort of energy that turns every situation into something unexpected”
~ Fernando Perez
Viñales is a small town located in the western part of Cuba and Cuba’s home of tobacco. Named as one of the top destinations to visit by The New York Times, the tranquil and lush Viñales Valley is just a few hours away from Havana. Here, in the very fertile Viñales Valley with beautiful landscape, you will find the gigantic and dramatic limestone formations called mogotes and plains situated between steep stone cliffs, the perfect place for growing one of the world’s finest tobaccos, arguably the premier cigar plant in the world.
Farmers in the Viñales Valley still use the traditional method of farming such as horse and cart farming and deft animals for planting, harvesting and drying tobacco plants. The tobacco plant attains its full height between November and February. The tobacco leaves are harvested, dried and then carefully rolled into this prized product. Cuban cigars are known for their fine and smooth finish and low nicotine content. You don’t even have to be a cigar smoker to value the art and the science of making fine Cuban cigars. You can make good use of the opportunity of the accessible travel between the US and Cuba and experience the beauty of Cuba’s Viñales Valley.
The Viñales Valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and National Park in 2001. Take a voyage to this beautiful fertile land to see why! You can take a horseback riding tour or an oxen carriage to meet third-generation tobacco farmers in the Viñales Valley who make the finest cigars in an exceptional way. With tobacco leaves stripped of their stems, the nicotine is reduced further, and the leaves will then be marinated in honey and spices. As a guest, you may have the exclusive pleasure of having the first taste of a cigar once it has been dried, rolled and dipped in honey. It is simply a mind-blowing experience you should not miss.
Following your farm tour, you can dine at a private restaurant with amazing views across the entire valley, and have a meal of delicious Cuban cuisine. You can then take a stroll to see the local architecture (mostly one-story wooden houses with porches) of its farms and villages. You can mingle with the locals to learn more about the rich and vast Cuban culture, which is a fusion of different cultures from indigenous peoples, Spanish conquerors and African slaves who once toiled on the tobacco plantations. The Viñales Valley is significant to the Cubans because of its beauty, history and cultural importance. It is known as the “living landscape” because of its authenticity in terms of location, outlines and outward appearances, materials and essence, uses and purpose, customs and techniques, and most importantly, the spirit and feeling. Despite modernization, the Viñales Valley is able to preserve its unique and enchanting character while adapting to changes and consistently receiving a flow of visitors.
As interesting and enlightening as visiting tobacco farms is, that’s not the only thing you can do in Viñales. You can explore some of the various limestone caves in the area or even dare to rock climbing these gigantic formations. You can either tour the valley using a horseback riding or rent a bicycle/motorcycle to explore it. You should make sure you check out the gigantic and artistic masterpiece called Viñales Mural de la Prehistoria. This incredible work of art was created by Leovigildo Gonzalez Morillo and it depicts the history of the world from the time of the dinosaurs to the arrival of humans.
Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing, should stop you from enjoying this exhilarating experience of visiting Viñales Valley. Allow me to plan this one-of-a-kind adventure so you can focus on the joy of making memories!. Leave all the tiring process of planning to me as you enjoy the time of your life with your special friends and family. Everything’s covered, from car pick-up to/from the airport, in-hotel dining options (a plus but not mandatory), breakfast included, business class air, day tours booked in advance, some downtime with clean, comfortable accommodations, unique and memorable culinary options, and authentic experiences are guaranteed. It will surely be worthwhile with great adventures that are smoking hot! Contact me for more details……..
Erin Smith ~ Affinity Group Travel Advisor