Vinales Valley Travel Guide

A recent addition to the UNESCO World Heritage list, the town and valley of Vinales are found in the green province of Pinar del Rio. It's characterised by impressive round-topped hills called mogotes that date back to the Jurassic period and are covered with rich and varied vegetation. They are thought to be remnants of the plateau that was eroded by a network of underground rivers millions of years ago.

The Vinales Valley is located about 112 miles (180km) west of Havana, making it a good day-trip destination or weekend getaway. The valley is beautiful, a patchwork of nature's bounty mixed with green fields of tobacco, coffee and other crops that grow out of the rich red earth. Scattered palm trees and pine forests shelter a variety of melodious birds, while the region is also a magnet for speleologists and cave enthusiasts with its abundance of limestone caves and caverns.

The hilly landscape, quaint villages, oxen-ploughed fields, rustic barns and underground cave systems and rivers, provide a striking contrast to the faded colonial grandeur and white sandy beaches found on the rest of the island. The main valley village is Vinales, a charming and laid-back place that makes a good base for exploring the lovely countryside.