Two days in Vinales | Cuba

Travel Diary: Two days in Vinales | Cuba

After two days in Havana, where I could acclimatize a bit, my husband and I take the bus to Vinales. Since we deliberately decided not to rent a car, we take care of a bus ticket – luckily you can get one right in the hotel next door. Without a computer, armed only with an old telephone and a notepad, the nice lady organizes tickets for the next day, when we are supposed to leave at 11 a.m. for Vinales.

Bus ride to Vinales

The next day we are standing at the hotel with our suitcases at 11 a.m. and are really curious – if a bus is on time here? Surprisingly yes, even over punctual. After the luggage is loaded and we have made ourselves comfortable, we are already on our way. Out of Havana, through the neighborhoods that tourists don't normally get to see so quickly. We stop a few times, pick up more passengers before we head west on the highway. We already get off the bus in Pinar del RIo, and from there we take a cab to our accommodation.

Two days in Vinales

When we arrive, we are a bit overwhelmed: the hotel consists of bungalows, which are definitely past their best days, and the pool is besieged by large families. The omnipresent salsa music is so loud that you can only communicate by screaming. After we have left our luggage in our bungalow, we are on our way back to Vinales. There is not much to see here – a small market, many colorful houses, a few small restaurants. We spend the rest of the day here, go to a supermarket and then drive back to the hotel. In the meantime the large families have disappeared, instead a small, very cute dog follows us – but it is so intrusive that it almost makes it into our bungalow.

Travel Diary: Two days in Vinales | Cuba - Vinales 1

Travel Diary: Two days in Vinales | Cuba - Vinales 3

The next day begins quite relaxed, although the pool is already besieged again at 9 o'clock in the morning. After breakfast we make a tour through Vinales – by cab. About three hours we are on the road, visiting all the highlights. After the Cueva de Santo Tomas, which is really impressive, we go to another stalactite cave, then on to a tobacco farm, where we are explained how to recognize good cigars and how they are rolled. At the end we have a look at the Mural de la Prehistoria, and of course at the view at the Hotel Los Jazmines. From here you can see the Vinales valley very well – unfortunately we can't explore it further, as we simply don't have enough time overall for that. After a late lunch, during which we have a long chat with our cab driver, we go back to the city center for a short while – we still need bus tickets for the trip to Cienfuegos the next day. At the official point of sale there are bus tickets for only three CUC more and also a shared cab – which is supposed to be much better. And besides, we will be picked up directly at the hotel instead of having to go to the bus terminal beforehand. We take this supposedly small risk and are happy to make the long way to Cienfuegos faster than planned.

Travel Diary: Two days in Vinales | Cuba - Vinales 2

Travel Diary: Two days in Vinales | Cuba - Vinales 5

Travel Diary: Two Days in Vinales | Cuba - Vinales 6

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Vinales – an intermediate conclusion

I'll be honest, after Havana, Vinales was rather…unspectacular. The scenery is definitely nice, and the visit to a tobacco plantation was also quite interesting, but one day would have been enough for that, too. Still, I'm glad we were here, even though I'm really looking forward to the next day and staying in Cienfuegos.

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