Want to experience Vinales Valley in Cuba but don’t have time to stay there for long?
You can actually visit this spectacular part of Cuba by making a day trip from Havana to Vinales; the journey is only a few hours!
I have made this exact day trip to Vinales in Cuba with Civitatis, and it was a really great tour which is excellently organized, super guides, and it will take you to see the highlights of Vinales if you have one day only.
It will be a long day, and you will experience the stunning green valley, from cigar farms to cave exploration, rum tasting, and more!
If your holiday does not allow for time to spend several days in Vinales Valley and Pinar del Rio, you can still experience the highlights by making a day trip from Havana to Vinales!
Vinales Valley is a stunning, lush, green, fertile part of Cuba that is only a few hours from the buzzing capital, Havana.
Do you know that Vinales Valley is not only the home of the famous Cuban cigars but is also on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list?
It is also home to a national park, spectacular caves, beautiful waterfalls, and steaming hot, strong coffee!
Where Is Vinales Valley?
Vinales is situated around two hours by car west of Havana, in Pinar del Rio province, and around one hour from stunning beaches on the northern shores of the main island of Cuba.
The Valle de Vinales, or Vinales Valley, is one of the 9 UNESCO-protected World Heritage Sites in Cuba, mainly because of the unique mogotes, and small hills that are scattered around the valley floor.
Brand new tour from Havana to Vinales!
From September 2023, Civitatis is launching a brand new two day tour from Havana to Vinales!
With this tour, you will have more time to explore this amazing part of Cuba, including horseback riding, cave boat tour, and zip lining!
Also read: 33+ Legendary Things To Do In Havana 2022!
What To Expect On Your Havana To Vinales Day Trip!
On this day trip from Havana to Vinales Valley, you will be picked up from your hotel or casa in Havana early in the morning. Then you can relax on the around two hours journey west to Vinales in an air-conditioned minibus for the day.
There will be an English-speaking guide with you (if you choose the English version), so if your Spanish is a bit rusty, you do not need to worry!
If you don’t have time for breakfast before you leave, there will be a short pit stop halfway where you can get something to eat or just a strong shot of Cuban coffee.
As you arrive in the small Vinales town, you will drive through bumpy dirt roads while admiring the particular architecture in this part of the country, heading for a tobacco farm to learn about the famous Cuban cigars straight from the farmer’s mouth!
Visiting A Vinales Tobacco Farm
The Cuban tobacco farmer will let you in on all the farmer’s secrets handed down for generations on how to grow tobacco and produce cigars.
Every farmer has his particular, slightly different recipe for how to make their special distinct flavor to their exact brand.
On the farm, you get to explore the fields and barns, seeing how a Cuban cigar is hand-rolled!
You also get to test one (often dipped in a little bit of honey), and you can buy a Cuban rum cocktail to go with it!
If you like what you get, you can also buy a bundle of handmade cigars to take home with you for special occasions.
The cigar farmers in Cuba are obliged to sell 90% of their crops to the government but are free to sell the remaining 10% to visiting tourists or just enjoy themselves.
After leaving the cigar farm behind, you will stop to admire the Mural de la Prehistoria, one of the largest open-air murals in the world!
This mural was created in the 1960ies, depicting images from the Jurassic period over a huge rock formation, so it is not actually an ancient mural, but impressive nevertheless.
You will also stop by Jasmine’s viewpoint, also called “the Viñales balcony,” where you have uninterrupted views all over the valley.
Take in the magnificent landscape and the mogotes from a distance.
Tasty Traditional Cuban Lunch!
After the tobacco tour, you will head over to a local paladar, a private restaurant for a traditional Cuban lunch!
This normally will be rice and beans, chicken, pork, or fish, and lots of different vegetables and salads served almost like a “tapas meal,” where you can help yourself to what you prefer!
La Cueva Del Indio
My favorite activity on this day tour to Vinales was visiting the Indian Cave or La Cueva del Indio!
After entering a modest-looking gate in the mountain, you will descend into the darkness and walk through an amazing maze of cave structures!
The cave has everything from large halls with high ceilings to narrow passages that you need to pass, and the internal lighting makes the experience a little bit regal!
At the end of the cave tour, you will enter a small boat and go for a slow ride in the cave interior to see a hidden waterfall before you exit back out into the bright sunlight, where the river finds its way out of the mountain.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Vinales
The best time of year to visit Vinales Valley is from November through April, as these are the coolest and driest months in Cuba in general.
From May starts the wet season, and in the period June through September, you can expect excruciating heat, tropical storms, and the occasional hurricane!
Within this period, the tobacco harvesting season starts in February and lasts until the harvesting and processing are finished.
Tobacco leaves are harvested at different stages for varieties of textures and tastes for Cuban cigars, and the process of drying and tobacco continues for months!
Vinales Valley National Park
The Parque Nacional de Vinales, or Vinales Valley, made the UNESCO list in 1999, mainly because of its mogotes.
The mogotes in Vinales are a series of tall, rounded limestone hills that rise abruptly from the flat floor of the valley.
This valley and its remarkable landscape are located in Sierra de Los Organos, colonized in the early 1800s, which boasts fertile soil ideal for farming crops and raising livestock.
Also, traditional methods of farming that have survived for generations are largely unchanged on this plain, especially for growing the famous tobacco!
How Many Days Do You Need In Vinales?
If you want to spend a couple of days in Vinales, it is possible to join this day tour from Havana and jump off the bus at the end of the day when the rest of the group returns to Havana.
If you really want to explore, you can easily find enough to do for three or four days in Vinales Valley as well as the larger Pinar del Rio province.
If you have decided to spend a few days, Vinales Valley is the perfect place for climbing enthusiasts, hikers, or bicycle tours to explore the countryside.
Or you can go for a horseback riding tour of the valley, a sunrise hike, or even visit some amazing waterfalls in the hills, and test cocktails made from freshly pressed sugar cane!
Wrap-Up Day Trip From Havana To Vinales!
This one-day trip from Havana to Vinales Valle, west of the capital, will get you the highlights of the area if you have a tighter itinerary for your Cuba holiday.
It is also a great starting point for a few days in Vinales and Pinar del Rio if you find you want to explore some more!
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