Vinales, Cuba is a great travel location in Cuba as it showcases a unique side to Cuba – the luscious green countryside. Besides the fact that Vinales in conveniently located only 3 hours from Havana, Vinales is also great as it really caters to tourists, offering many beautiful (and affordable) Casas and restaurants. If you are ready to escape the city and get away from the beach, then Vinales is the perfect option. These are my top picks for things to do in Vinales, Cuba which should keep you busy for a couple days in this gorgeous town.
Go on a Horseback Riding Tour
This is one of the most common things to do in Vinales, Cuba. The countryside outside of this town offers views of beautiful valleys and staggering cliff-faces. By horseback you will be able to cover more ground than you would by foot. These trails are not accessible by vehicles so horseback riding is really the only option.
We went horseback riding and paid $5 each per hour which is some of the cheapest horseback riding we have ever seen! We organized our trip through the owner of our Casa (a bed and breakfast type of accommodation which is most common in Cuba.) However, guys on the street sometimes offer lower prices at $10 total for three to four hours.
The horses are very used to people, they do this every day. Our guide didn’t speak much English but knew basic words that came in handy. I could easily steer or stop my horse with the reins. The guide also helped me off and on the horse each time. There were no cliffs or dangerous paths, just lots of mud! I felt very safe during the tour. Although, Daniel’s horse did try to bite him!
We were picked up in a wagon from our Casa only an hour after we told our host we wanted the tour. The wagon took us to the outskirts of town where we met our guide, we were in for a private tour! Most of these horseback riding tours include various stops at a cigar farm, coffee farm, honey and rum planation, and a lake with a viewpoint and for swimming. The itinerary can be completely tailored to what you want. Keep in mind, these stops are included in the amount of time you are paying for so tell the guide directly where you want to stop and where you don’t. We didn’t have any interest in stopping at the coffee farm as we have done a few coffee tours recently, and therefore saved ourselves about 45 minutes.
Visit a Local Cigar Farm
This was actually the first stop on our horseback riding tour but can easily be access by foot from town. It was a pretty neat little tour. The guy giving us the tour spoke English and was quite entertaining. He told us how the tobacco leaves grew, showed us the sizes of them and how different leaves make different types of cigars. He also sat us down and rolled a cigar right in front of us before offering us our own cigar to try – for free! The whole tour took probably about 20 minutes but was interesting and well worth the visit I think.
How to Get There
Walk 5-10 minutes on the main street in town to the right when facing the plaza. You will reach a small tobacco farm which also offers cigar rolling demonstrations. This farm is called “Tobacco Macondo Organic Cigars” and the location is also on the App MAPS.ME
The demonstration and tour are free but they will try and sell you cigars at the end or ask for a tip. This would be the cheapest of the things to do in Vinales, Cuba. The cigars are pretty reasonable at about $4 each and you know they are organic and good quality. These cigars also have much less nicotine than ones made in factories. However, keep in mind that they could be a hard souvenir to bring home as they have no proper packaging or ingredients list. I would recommend buying these cigars for your own use in Cuba only and for souvenirs buy cigars from registered cigar shops.
Head out on the Town in the Evening
Surprisingly this small town offers quite the entertaining nightlife. No clubs or anything crazy in those terms, but lots of restaurants and bars with a good mix of locals and tourists.
Where to Eat
The restaurants are pretty cheap in comparison to Havana and offer a good quality of for the price. We tried a couple different places and honestly, all were pretty good. My favorite would be a place called “La Plaza” where lobster is only $7 USD and is huge!
Where to Drink
A venue called “100% Cuba” is actually a restaurant and has a decent BBQ, but its Pina Coladas are what really sets this place apart. For $3 USD they will bring you a huge Pina Colada without any rum in it…yet. They will also bring you a bottle of Havana Club Rum which is where you add your own rum, and as much as you want! This was my kind of Pina Colada! It was a really great drink and there is a rooftop area to relax and enjoy.
Where to Party
The “Centro Cultural Polo Montanez” is not necessarily a club per say, but more of social club which serves drinks. When we went there dancers were performing and locals were dancing their hearts out on the dance floor. It was really a unique and fun scene, different than anything we had seen before and well worth having a look. It is located on the back right hand corner of the main plaza.
Vinales is a small town and you wouldn’t want to spend too many days there as I could imagine it would get boring after a while. But, for a place to relax, this is definitely it. We spent two nights in Vinales and thought it was enough. It provided us a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of Havana and gave us a couple different experience in Cuba which we really valued.
Are we missing anything you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments!
Travelling more in Cuba? Check out our other blogs about Cuba here!