On return from his trip to Cuba earlier this year, our Rickshaw Rambler Bryn was kind enough to send us an account of his trip to the tobacco hills of Vinales, where he tried his hand at cigar rolling, and explored the mountainous scenery…
“We have travelled a fair bit over the years and previously we have always arranged everything ourselves, but this time we booked our trip to Cuba through Rickshaw Travel. We were curious to see the country and we were both impressed not just with all the arrangements but with the people, the atmosphere and the Cuban way of life.
Part of our trip was included a visit to the small town of Vinales, a beautiful part of Cuba known for the growing of tobacco that produces arguably the finest cigars in the world. We arrived midday at our base- a beautifully positioned hotel overlooking the valley that is surrounded by the prehistoric mountains which looked as if they have dropped out of the sky on to the landscape.
We used our afternoon to relax, take in the stunning views, the mood and character of the town before our guided walk the following day. We started off from the centre of town walking through the countryside when it was not long before came across our first tobacco growing farm.
Here we watched the farmer at work cutting the leaves from the plants and lying them out that he would later store in his barn to dry out. We then went into the farm house and the next stage of curing the tobacco leaves was explained, followed by the rolling of a cigar with the sampling of the real thing (although a non-smoker-it just would have been wrong not to). All of this was complimented with a freshly brewed cup of coffee from beans that had also been grown on the farm.
After that we took a short but steep climb up part of the mountains to look at the wonderful caves that were abundant with stalactites. On the way we were shown the variety of crops grown in the area from pineapples to guava and peanuts to plantains plus a number of edible root vegetables.
Finally after about three hours of a not too strenuous walk we returned to the town that was again buzzing with locals going about their daily business for a well-earned nice cold local beer. It was a great experience, and one we will treasure for a very long time.”
Thanks so much for sharing your travels with us, Bryn!