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Cuba: Viñales and a Visit to Las Terrazas

Published: 16.9.2017
On the following day in the morning, we set off to Viñales karst valley. The name comes from the town of Viñales situated in the very valley. It is about 29 kilometers from Pinar del Río. The Cordillera de Guaniguanico is a relatively low mountain range situated in the area. It consists of woody hills of Sierra del Rosario and Sierra de los Órganos.

Viñales   Viñales

Mogotas are the main reason to visit this place. These are lime structures up to 400 meters high and about 160 million years old. In 1999, Viñales was declared a Cuban national park and made it to UNESCO's world herritage list. Weather changes here quite often. Short sunny weather could be followed by downpour. You better pack raincoats with you. A road goes by mogotas so you can reach them easily by walk, by bike or by car. Often tourist buses ride through here. Los Jazmines is the best scenic view over mogotas. However, this is a real tourist point of interest so you can buy here some souvenirs as well. Those who fall for the panorama too much can stay at Horizontes Los Jazmines, a beautiful hotel near the view. Our Cuban tour guide was absolutely astonished by the hotel. He was very surprised to find out that we did not intend to even look inside.

Los Jazmines

Instead we went on into the national park to see colorful Mural de la Prehistoria, the Dos Hermanas mogota, depicting the story of evolution. It was painted by Leovigildo Gonzáles Morillo. Another 17 workers assited him for 4 years to complete do work. The mural is 120 meters long and it was finished in 1961.

Mural de la Prehistoria

Our guide took us then to Cueva de San Miguel, a cave which features a bar where you can get some snacks. Moreover, discoes take place here on Sundays. In the colonial times, African slaves would find refuge here from their lords. And as for us this cave sheltered us from one heavy downpour.

Two 2 kilometers down the road there is the most famous of the caves – Cueva del Indio. Once you finish touring the cave you a ride a rowing boat down the River San Vicente. This karst cave is 4 kilometers long. There are many stalctites hang down from up to 136 meters above the ground. And beautiful stalagmites rise up from the ground. There are many stalls selling affordable souvenirs and also you may find here a restaurant.

Cueva de San Miguel

Cueva de San Miguel   Cueva de San Miguel

On the third day morning, we planned to return back to Habana. However, e intended to make a detour to Sierra del Rosario landsacpe area. There is the Las Terrazas coop and a village specialising on ecotourism. It costs 10 CUC (ca. 220 CZK) to enter the compound. You can rappel down from the forest across water resrvoir. There is a romantic lake not far from here where you may take a swim. When the water level on the lake rises, several smaller waterfalls runs into the lake. When droughs hit the lake, the experience there is far from stellar. Nature around, however, was much more impressive especiall the hills covered in palm trees. This place is characteristic for its luxurious yet naturally fitting hotel Hotel Moka. There we had to go because our guide insisted.

jezero v Las Terrazas   jezero v Las Terrazas

It was difficult to end our pleasant stay in Pinar del Río and come back to Habana.  nám do Havany vracelo velmi těžko. Nicméně tentokrát jsme hlavní město měli v plánu využít jen jako malou přestávku před cestou na místo ležící ve slavné Zátoce sviní – Playa Larga.

GPS: 22°37'06.3"N 83°42'23.9"W

 

Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová



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