We came from Havanna to Viñales (map) by a shared taxi, which Julio organized. It brought us pretty close to our casa particular which we had booked in Havanna through Julio. Sadly we cannot recommend this accommodation as we had no privacy at all. From this experience we learned one of our most important lessons while traveling through Cuba. Even though you booked a room in advance don’t be shy and stay if it doesn’t feel good and you don’t like it. It is pretty normal that people look at different rooms to then decide for the best one. And never pay in advance as you then have to stick to the amount of nights you decided to stay. Looking back we would have just come to Viñales and been looking for a room on-site as there are more than enough.
Viñales is a small town with colourful houses and a main road with some restaurants and shops. Surprisingly, the supermarket was a lot bigger than many in Havanna, but we only found this one. To get a first impression about this little town and the surrounding it is best to just take a walk through the streets, roads and tracks that you can find. There are organized bike tours which are supposed to be pretty good compared to the horse riding tours which many people didn’t like. Unfortunately Carlotta was ill at this part of our tour so we only did one tour by taxi, which we can highly recommend. We payed 20 CUC for the car and saw the amazing cave called Cueva del Indio (5 CUC per person), which has a river run through it, visited a tabacco plantation, saw some ancient wall paintings and had a beautiful view over the landscape from a mountain. Our taxi driver told us that there is another cave which is not worth going so we left that one out.
Viñales has to offer an absolutely unique scenery and there is no other place in Cuba that can be compared to the natural highlights of Viñales. We recommend to stay a couple of days to explore Viñales and the surroundings.