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Viñales, Cuba Travel Guide

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

A winding country road cuts through lush green fields and through the green mountain side mogotes in Viñales, Cuba. ©AlonzoWright
The road through the lush agricultural area of Viñales, Cuba. ©AlonzoWright

There are lots of picturesque places to visit in Cuba, so you may be wondering why you should visit Viñales. First, and foremost, Viñales is one of the most beautiful places to visit in all of Cuba. It seems like no matter where you go in the area, the incredible vistas are postcard worthy. So, what is Viñales, Cuba known for? A few things, but mainly this region is known for its vast rolling acres of plush green tobacco fields and agriculture. It feels like you’ve stumbled upon the Garden of Eden, so naturally, it’s a favorite stop while traveling through Cuba. Despite its popularity, it’s not so overrun by tourists that you feel like you’re in a commercialized, culturally hollow version of the country.


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Why you should visit Viñales

Tobacco is perhaps Cuba’s finest export. A Cuban cigar is as synonymous with an elite lifestyle accessory as James Bond with that liquid mercury, Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. Sends shivers up your spine just thinking about how delectable it is. Cuban tobacco is rare, it is hard to get, and it has become such a well-known dynasty around the world that even those who don’t smoke cigars know how special it is to try one. This is the heart of where all that comes from. The people and the topography are unlike any other place on the island.

But it’s important to realize the fracture between the glossy images of those who enjoy the cigars, and those who produce them. Many of the purveyors in the region are poor and often lead back-breaking lives to keep afloat and provide for their families. They rarely have the means to leave the region for either a lack of resources or time away from their crops. And yet, they are responsible for weaving the very fiber that put Cuba on the map. This is important from a historical context.

And of course, the natural vistas. The sheer beauty of this tropical setting is unmatched; it is Mother Nature at her finest. With the expansive hillsides and lush mogotes, it is a natural wonder that exceeds any expectation of what you see on the average Google image search result. The agricultural region was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and it is without a doubt worth seeing.

Cuban tobacco farmer in a straw hat and green shirt poses with his drying green and brown tobacco leaves in the barn in Viñales, Cuba. ©AlonzoWright
A Tobacco farmer whose family has been farming these fields for a century. ©AlonzoWright

Where to stay in Viñales

Depending on the experience you’re looking for, this small town has a handful of highly-rated casas particulares (private guest houses) and hotels you may be interested in. Both will give you an entirely different experience. The casa particulares will give you a better sense of how the Cuban people live and how incredible their hospitality is. This is an opportunity to help the Cuban people directly, enjoy warm cultural exchanges and often times a delicious home-cooked meal as well. It’s more personal, more authentic and something you will likely never forget.