I am a member of a Facebook group called “Unlocking the Mystery of Cuba”. In this group members ask questions, offer tips, organize meetups and provide beautiful photos of their trips to Cuba.
A young lady in the group posted a photo asking if anyone was interested in joining them on a day trip to Vinales, Cuba. I immediately signed up and was confirmed for Saturday Morning. I was really excited as I heard great things about Vinales.
When we arrived at the designated meeting spot, we didn’t see the group organizer or the bus transportation. After checking my Messenger on Facebook, I discovered that the organizer flight was delayed and she had not arrived in Cuba due to bad weather. Furthermore, I didn’t have the contact information of the actual driver that was going to be taking the group to Vinales. After waiting for over an hour and still not seeing signs of transportation we walked back to our Airbnb.
I was determined to go to Vinales despite our initial setback. I called another driver and he promised to provide a driver but he never showed up. Despite my frustration and disappointment, I still wanted to go. I talked to Santiago, my Airbnb host and he arranged for the next door neighbor to drive us to Vinales for $120 CUC’s round trip.
Vinales is approximately 2.5 hours away from Havana and is located in the north-central Pinar del Río Province of Cuba. It is said that this was the home of runaway slaves before the European settlement.
Driving up the mountain, it is very picturesque to see all the greenery. If you enjoy a good photo opportunity, this is a place to take great photos.
Our first stop was the Indian Caves or Cueva del Indio. Upon arrival, two men were dressed in traditional outfits (cloth to protect the private areas and make-make up detail on their face). They chanted the word “Tonga, Tonga”. I have no clue what the words meant but they came out of thatched roof tent with a Tobacco Tree Rat that scared my student half to death. I have a video of that exact moment she was scared and it is hilarious but I didn’t take any photos.
We entered the caves and were transported by a small boat to the other side of the cave.
After leaving the caves we went to see how they make cigars. I don’t smoke but it was interesting to see the seeds, tobacco leaves and how the cigar is rolled for consumption.
I was thankful for the neighbor transporting to Vinales but I wished we would have left in the morning as planned and had an actual tour guide. As a result, we were not able to go horseback riding, see the Mural Le Prehistoria or time to eat lunch. Most people only do day trips but if I return to Cuba, I would go back to Vinales and spend the night as the town seemed great and the natural scenery was stunning.
Traveling teaches you many lessons and can be applied to everyday life. The lesson I learned from Vinales is to be persistent about things that you want. Often times we get discouraged because the first several times we are knocked down by various life circumstances or people. Yet I think about a boxer who continues to stand up until the fight is finished. Remember delay does not mean denial.
***Tell me about a time where being persistent worked out in your favor?***