Visit to Vinales
Vinales Travel Blog› entry 9 of 11 › view all entries
Problems with the Viazul bus booking system meant we travelled from Santa Clara to Havana via Varadero and not directly. Two hours more, but really interesting, through towns and villages and not on the motorway. Varadero was very much Cuba lite with its lawns and tidy streets. One night spent at Candida's in Havana then westwards to Vinales. It's a small but tourist-popular place, famous for its limestone karst scenery (one for the geographers!) There are amazing views over the town and of the surrounding hills and mogotes - limestone mounds. We moved in to another friendly casa - Mirtha's. She arranged a guided walk for us through the local countryside. The September hurricanes here - two in one week - caused much devastation still in evidence. The banana crop was wiped out. But we saw tobacco planted, beans, sweet potatoes, yucca, pineapple, malanga, tomatoes, rice in lush red earth. Small farms with clapboard buildings were dotted around with pigs, hens and goats. Men - the campesinos - ploughed with oxen, cut with sickles and machetes, and threshed by hand. Their houses were linked by sandy tracks, they used horses for transport. The scene was timeless but the work still back-breaking. And this being Cuba, these men were well educated - but not allowed to move to towns.
We clambered down to a cave, cool with a freezing stream, then back through the fields, vultures flying overhead, cows grazing and men working.