|PINAR DEL RIO, the western province of Cuba, has some of Cuba’s most breathtaking scenery. The Viñales valley has not really changed in hundreds of years; most of the people in the area are farmers growing tobacco and coffee during the winter, other crops and vegetables during the summer. Close to a spectacular cave system (the largest in Latin America) with underground streams and gorges, the valley is home to some unique flora and fauna. The Vinales Valley was once an enormous cave system itself before the top eroded away and is now the site of the strange-looking "mogotes? the almost sheer limestone outcrops smothered in palm trees which are found only in Cuba and two other sites in south-east Asia. The lovely islets (Cayos) of Cayo Levisa and Cayo Jutias are within easy distance just off the north coast, about one hrs drive from Vinales. |
|HOTELS IN PINAR DEL RIO|
|MOKA HOTEL (
) is set in an area of forested hills and coffee plantations, one hour’s drive west of Havana. Close to Soroa with its waterfall, spa, and famous botanical gardens, Moka is a new and comfortable hotel built in a style that incorporates most of the natural surroundings. This is the ideal place to relax and recharge the batteries. Trees grow through the reception hall and a stream runs through the gardens and under the hotel. All the comfortable air-conditioned bedrooms and elegant private bathrooms look out through the trees towards a lake below. All rooms have safe deposit boxes, satellite TV and a fridge. The hotel has a swimming pool and a tennis court. Horse riding, fishing, birdwatching, and guided walks can be arranged at the hotel reception. Various day excursions can be arranged with the hotel, including day trips to Cayo Levisa with its four kilometre white sandy beach for a seafood lunch and snorkelling trip. |
|LOS JAZMINES (
) is an attractive looking hotel set in the middle of the spectacular Viñales valley in the heart of Pinar Del Rio. It was built in colonial style on the instructions of Castro as the ideal honeymoon retreat. The uninterrupted views of the valley are some of the best in Cuba, with tobacco curing houses set in tobacco fields (winter only) in the foreground and abrupt Jurassic limestone mountains as a backdrop. All the simply furnished bedrooms are air-conditioned, have satellite TV, a private en-suite shower room and a balcony offering a superb view of the valley and sometimes fabulous sunsets. Most rooms have safe deposit boxes, which can be requested at the time of checking in to the hotel. Los Jazmines has a large swimming pool. Horse riding can be arranged at reception or in the village, although you may prefer to explore the beautiful surroundings on foot. |
LA ERMITA (
) is set on a hill overlooking the village of Vinales with its beautiful tropical valley beyond. The rooms are all centred around a swimming pool and gardens. The hotel's restaurant with its terrace overlooking the valley serves a selection of local dishes. The rooms have en suite shower rooms, air conditioning, satellite TV and safe boxes. Horseriding in this beautiful unspoiled area can be arranged by reception, as can a number of local excursions.
|RANCHO SAN VICENTE (
) is a small spa hotel set in a lush river valley surrounded by abrupt limestone cliffs, covered with thick vegetation. Various massage and therapeutic mud treatments are available at the hotel. The rooms, some of which are in separate villas, are set around tropical gardens with a swimming pool. All rooms have air conditioning, en suite shower rooms and satellite TV. This is an ideal are for walking, horse riding and cycling. (This is a particularly good hotel if you have a rental car, as it is 5 km from Vinales.|
CAYO LEVISA (
) is set fifteen minutes boat ride off the North Coast of Pinar del Rio, about one hour from Vinales. This is the ideal place for people wishing to spend a quiet time on the beach. It only has 20 simple thatched cabañas, with air conditioning, en suite shower rooms and satellite TV. The cabañas are located in the centre of a 4.5 km white sandy beach, around a central thatched restaurant and bar. The swimming from the beach is shallow and safe, and is protected by a coral reef about half a mile off shore. Snorkelling, scuba diving and fishing are all excellent at Cayo Levisa, subject to weather. The hotel does have limited non motorised water sports.