Havana To Vinales Day Trip: a local lighting a Cuban cigar next to a bottle of Cuban rum

Beautiful Havana To Vinales Day Trip From A Local (2024)

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 made this exact day trip to Vinales in Cuba as a tour with Civitatis, and it was a really great day. It is excellently organized, has super guides, and will take you to see the highlights of Vinales if you only have one day.

It will be a long day, but you will experience a lot in the stunning green valley, from cigar farms to cave exploration, rum tasting, and much more.

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Amazing Havana To Vinales Day Trip

The green valley of Vinales west of Havana, with vast plains, trees, fields, and the famous mogote hills
Vinales Valley west of Havana

If your Cuba holiday does not allow for time to spend several days in Vinales Valley and Pinar del Rio province, 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, honey production, beautiful waterfalls, and steaming hot, strong coffee.

Where Is Vinales Valley?

Casa particulares Vinales Valley. These two small wooden houses painted in bright pastel blue with shaded front porhces is the kind of casa you might stay at in Vinales Valley Cuba.
Casa particulares 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.

It is mainly known for its unique mogotes, the small steep hills scattered around the valley floor.

πŸ“ EpicNomadLife Tip: Top-rated two-day tour from Havana to Vinales!

Civitatis has launched a new two-day tour from Havana to Vinales that already gets top reviews.

With this tour, you will have more time to explore this amazing part of Cuba, including horseback riding, cave boat tour, and zip lining.

What To Expect On Your Havana To Vinales Day Trip!

Cuban tobacco hanging to dry from the barn ceiling in Vinales Valley Cuba
Tobacco hanging to dry in Vinales

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, relax on the approximately two-hour 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, don’t worry either. 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 town of Vinales, you will drive through bumpy dirt roads while admiring the particular small-town architecture in this part of the country.

Sunrise over Vinales Valley west in Cuba, the glowing golden sun is coming up behind the green trees and bushes behind a wooden gate
Sunrise in Vinales Valley

Many of the houses look like the old South State US wooden houses with small porches with roofs at the front of the house, only here, they are painted in bright pastel colors.

The first stop of the day is at a traditional tobacco farm to learn about the famous Cuban cigars straight from the farmer’s hands.

It was a great activity!

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We got to experience a lot of the area by riding a horse, learning about tobacco, coffee, honey, and last but not least, rum (all with the help of the combined work of many individuals- supporting locals is extremely important!). The lunch served was also great and we could try local food and freshly squeezed fruit juice.
Ildikou, October 2022

Visiting A Vinales Tobacco Farm

A woman with red nail polish rolling a Cuban cigar from the dried tobacco leaves
Cuban cigars in the making

Every farmer has a particular, slightly different recipe for making their special, distinct flavor for their exact brand.

On the farm, you will visit the fields and barns and see how tobacco is dried for months and how the Cuban cigar is hand-rolled.

On the tour I took, the farmer gave an interesting introduction to the entire process and how they run things in the valley.

You also get to test one (often dipped in honey) and buy a Cuban rum cocktail to accompany it. If you like what you get, you can also buy a bundle of handmade cigars to take home with you for special (or not special) occasions.

Farm animals running around free in Vinales Valley Cuba

On Cuban farms, all the animals run around freely, including roosters, pigs, and hens.

The Cuban tobacco farmer will share his trade secrets, handed down for generations, for growing tobacco and producing the coveted Cuban cigars.

Cuban cigar farmers are obliged to sell 90% of their crops to the government but are free to sell the remaining 10% to visiting tourists (or to 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!

Mural de la Prehistoria in Vinales, a large mural on a mountanside
Mural de la Prehistoria

This mural, created in the 1960s, depicts images from the Jurassic period over a huge rock formation. It is not actually an ancient mural, but it is impressive nonetheless.

You will also stop by Jasmine’s viewpoint, also called “the ViΓ±ales balcony,” where you have uninterrupted views all over the valley.

Take in the magnificent landscape and the mogotes from a distance.

Also read: 43 Legendary Things To Do In Havana

Tasty Traditional Cuban Lunch!

Traditional Cuban lunch table in Vinales with meat, vegetables, fruit, juices and of course rice.
Traditional Cuban lunch in Vinales

After the tobacco tour, you will head over to a local paladar, a private restaurant, for a traditional Cuban lunch!

This normally includes 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

Inside Cueva del Indio in Vinales, white rugged ceilings and walls, and an underground river below
Inside Cueva del Indio in Vinales

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 board a small boat and go for a slow ride in the cave interior to see a hidden waterfall. Then, you will exit back into the bright sunlight, where the river finds its way out of the mountain.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Vinales

Street in Vinales with cars, horse and carrieges, bikers, restaurants and a myriad of electrical cords above on a bright sunny summer day
Street in 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.

The wet season starts in May, and from June through October, 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, drying, and processing are finished.

Tobacco leaves are harvested at different stages for varieties of textures and tastes for the famous Cuban cigars, and the process of drying and tobacco goes on for months.

Vinales Valley National Park

The particular mogotes in Vinales Valley, sugar-topish small green hills with steep sides on the valley floor
Mogotes in Vinales and a tiny house

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. You can go rock climbing on some of them, and even inside some of them!

This valley and its remarkable landscape are located in Sierra de Los Organos, which was colonized in the early 1800s and 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, you can join the organized two-day tour instead of this one. Also, you can jump off the bus at the end of the day tour when the rest of the group returns to Havana and head out to explore on your own.

If you really want to find adventures here, you can easily find enough to do for three or four days in Vinales Valley as well as the larger Pinar del Rio province.

Also read: Best Things To Do In Vinales Valley From A Frequent Visitor

What To Do In Vinales Cuba?

Horseback riding in Vinales on a red dirt path on a sunny day surrounded by green trees and bushes
Horseback riding to the cigar farms

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.

You can also go on a horseback riding tour of the valley, a sunrise hike, visit some amazing waterfalls in the hills, or test cocktails made from freshly pressed sugar cane.

Wrap-Up Day Trip From Havana To Vinales!

If your Cuba holiday itinerary is tighter, this one-day trip from Havana to Vinales Valle, west of the capital, will get you the highlights of the area.

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.

Related blog posts:

Three Ways To Travel From Havana To Vinales (And One To Avoid)

Is Female Solo Travel In Cuba Safe? A Local Woman’s Advice

Sensational 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary By A Local

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