Nestled within the Sierra de los Organos on the west of the island is the laid-back town of Viñales, a land of tobacco fields and dramatic rocky outcrops.

Agriculture is the main industry in the Viñales Valley and the land is farmed in much the same way as it has been for centuries. Oxen plough the fields, their hooves a more gentle alternative to modern machinery, and field upon field is dedicated to the crop that goes into making one of Cuba’s most famous exports – the cigar. Visit a tobacco house to see to see the leaves drying in the rafters and watch as skilled hands roll and craft this iconic Cuban accessory.

The Viñales Valley is one of the country’s most striking landscapes; scattered across a tapestry of rust-coloured soil and green tobacco fields are huge limestone hillocks, known as mogotes, other-worldly like formations from the Jurassic period. Ripe for exploring, this area is perfect for hiking, climbing and horse riding.

Most of the population lives in the village of Viñales, and here you’ll find a buzzing centre filled with casa particulars, bars and restaurants. Step away from the main street, however, and a traditional way of life prevails with horses, chicken and oxen vying for space on the road and people taking a break from the heat to sit on their porch and watch the world go by.

What to do

  • Hike through the Viñales Valley
  • Learn how to roll Cuban cigars
  • Horse riding
  • Enjoy home-cooked food at a local farm