So you’ve decided to travel Cuba and you’re considering going to Vinales, GREAT. Here’s a little guide to help you get the most out of your stay there.
A lot of people will do day trips to Vinales and then cram all the touristy stuff you could possibly imagine into that day. They’ll visit the tobacco farms, do a taxi tour and hang out in the valley. Although I guess it is possible to stuff all this into one (long) day there is so much to enjoy in Vinales and part of it’s charm is its laid back vibes. It’s the kind of place you could spend a few nights to recharge and relax but not get bored.
First of all, you’re doing to end up staying in an airbnb or “casa particular” as the cubans will say. There are SO MANY here. Even if you didn’t book one ahead of time (as not all of them are even posted on airbnb), you could still show up and find a place to stay. Each casa will have a posted picture on the front of their house that will say “casa de _______” so you know it’s an airbnb. You can just walk right up and ask them if they have room available. If they don’t everyone knows everyone and they’ll have no problem suggesting to you where you should go.
But let this be known – few people speak English. That goes for everywhere in Cuba, so brush up on your Spanish a bit! My Spanish is elementary (at best) and I managed to get by.. although we did struggle with understanding some things so I definitely recommend learning a little before you come.
Vinales is a very laid back and beautiful place to hang out in. There is one main street that has a lot of good restaurants, a bank and a park (with the wifi zone). You can buy wifi cards at the bank for 1 CUC per hour – or if you don’t want to wait in that line there’s usually a guy hanging outside of the bank selling them for 2 CUC an hour. If you don’t want to be on your phone all the time (good idea), this is the perfect place to chill have a cerveca and read a good book.
When you’re done with your book and ready to do some activities your casa host will gladly book tours for you. Cuba is the kind of place that you HAVE to do tours. Like, you don’t have another choice. You are not free to just wander and hike in the valleys – it’s not allowed. Tours aren’t expensive and the guides will have the best information anyways.
Somethings to do:
Horseback tour: 4-5 hours through the valley (GORGEOUS), visit a tobbaco farm to have a cigar and learn about how they make them, then head through the valley with your horse to a coffee plantation and enjoy a mojito by a small lake before taking your horse back.
Taxi tour: 2-3 hours through Vinales and the valley. Stops at all the main tourist spots – lots of caves, the beautiful mural, and a gorgeous lookout of the valley.
To the beach: all day (or as long as you want). It’s about 2 hours away from what we heard.. but we also heard it is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Cuba. Your casa host will be able to organize a collective taxi to take you there and back.
Make sure to take cash with you. Although there is a bank here, it’s always a good idea to have cash on you in Cuba because cards aren’t really accepted especially in Vinales and with the whole lack of wifi and long waits at the bank you might not be able to get money when you need it.
Enjoy Vinales Muchachas !!