Vinales, Cuba’s countryside was a short and packed to the max visit. From the moment we arrived we all wished we’d planned one more day but with our itinerary it just wasn’t possible so we made it our mission to leave no stone unturned during our 24 hour stay.
Through our Airbnb host we booked a classic car tour around the jungly mountains starting with Cueva del Indio. Outside of the cave’s entrance were the biggest monstera plants I’ve ever seen! This crazy plant lady was straight up geeking out!
Frolicked around the monsteras for a bit then headed into the cave.
We didn’t know what to expect, again, didn’t do a lot of research but much to our surprise it was massive and really really cool! At the end we got to a line of people and were confused on what they were waiting for, so I wiggled to the front to get a glimpse of what was going on. Much to our surprise they were boarding small boats! Turns out the cave had flowing water that we got to tour around on via these small john boats that stuffed in about 15 people. We weren’t scared at all, noooooo. Will say those boat captains were super skilled maneuvering around the narrow cave walls. Very impressed and the sights were something else-huge stalactites and stalagmites.
Was really nice traveling with someone who snaps as many pics as I do. We were constantly catching candids of one another too <3
Ok, this might be one of my favorite memories from Vinales.
We had just finished the cave tour and were walking back to the car when we came across the sweetest old Cuban man and his fruit cart. I wanted some bananas and through my poor Spanish was trying to get a bundle when he started showing us a water bottle full of honey motioning we should try. I was politely declining but he wasn’t having it. Like, NOT accepting my “no no gracias” So, I grab the filthy cap he had filled with honey and take it like a shot. Right before accepting my fate I take a look at said cap and it’s gnarly y’all! Meanwhile my travel buddies are losing it watching all this go down! But then it was their turns but those jerks got out of it. He wasn’t done yet though, next he wanted us to try his papaya. Knowing I was the push over of the group he immediately went to me with his loaded rusty knife. I said “what the hell, this couldn’t be worse than dirty honey cap” and ate the big ole hunk. Now we were ok to buy a banana bundle and hit the road. My fate was sealed. I’d either have the immune system of a rock star or take back the wrath of the Cuban Cobra belly snake but you know what-I live for silly stories like this!
Loaded up and were off to the next stop. But not before playing around in the car for some pics. Those windows were not meant for hanging out of, either that or people were a lot smaller back in the day!
Cave #2, Palenque de los Cimarrones aka the night club cave
What I would give to have been able to party here with locals, too bad we found out about it too late. Pays to do extensive research folks, something I’m realizing I do not do enough of when trip planning. Can you imagine the parties here!??!
Cave tour came with a “free” drink with optional ron to spike it with, duh we spiked it right up!
Our last stop was Mural de la Prehistoria a mural on a stone wall depicting evolution. It’s only got three stars on Tripadvisor which I’d probably give the same but would say it’s worth it if it’s along the way, and with most tours we saw-it is. Best part was seeing two big ole pigs running across the field and thinking our driver ditched us. Turns out he did leave but only to get more gas but for a bit there we thought we were going to have to steal someone else’s cab! Language barriers make for the silliest of times.
The other part of our stay in Vinales was exploring around the small town. Our house was just a few steps away from the main strip, which was the only strip really. On the way to lunch we stopped at this persons front yard converted into a shop, where we picked up the hats we’d be wearing for the rest of the trip.
The other main highlight was our horseback riding adventure out to the tobacco farms.
Which can best be described in one Boomerang:
I’m a dummy and wore shorts because “my jeans were too tight” well, shorts were not the answer to that. The insane terrain didn’t help this poor decision either. Half of it was trotting through eroded dirt roads and when we weren’t doing that my butt hole of a horse was running to be first in line. Rubbage galore!
But all is good when spike fruit and this hunk are involved. Pit stopped at “the coffee house” and got a little run down of how they manufacture the coffee.
My horse was named Paloma, Sara’s was Coco Loco and the boys never really knew theirs but Blake called his Johnathon. Mine and Sara’s were the wanna be leaders of the group and were always trying to get in front of one another. Was silly fun until they tried doing this while we were going down a super scary hill smushing our legs between the two of them and forcing me to pull some stunt maneuvers not to take Sara out with me. Ended up being ok, minus some scratches and curse words loud enough for the entire town to hear!
Grand finale of the horse tour was the cigar rolling demonstration! This fella didn’t speak a lick of English but lucky for us a fellow tourist did the translating for the group. He told us he’d been smoking something like 8 cigars a day for the last 10 years! As for rolling them, we can’t quite recall how many he did in a day but we remember him saying he could do somewhere around 20-30 in an hour-dude was fast!
Vinales is so cute. A definite pit stop when exploring Cuba. Would give it two days if you’re going to pack in tours like us, hikes and other local attractions scattered around.
Incredible 24 hours!