by adeline talbot

 Today we post on Vinales, Cuba, and then we're going to take a bit of a break. We will resume weekly posts on Tuesday, July 5th, when we return from an unusually busy period of  travel but for now and without further ado...VINALES

This magic valley two and half hours north of Havana seems to have it all.  Tremendous natural beauty with a robust local economy centered on traditional--and very sustainable--agriculture. Part of the charm--and it has very great charm--of a visit to this area is a chance to visit a tobacco farm in the morning and then have a farm to table meal at a farm down the road all the while the views of the surrounding karst (limestone) formations explain this area's status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

I am not alone in in being captivated.  

The town of Vinales has a population of 28,000 and over eight hundred bed and breakfasts.  Seemingly every household posts the Cuban symbol for 'b & b' and there is a booming trade in not only agro-tourism but eco-tourism.  Click here for an post on touring by bicycle; click here for an article on biking and horseback riding and click here for an piece on hiking and caving.  Get the picture?  Lots and lots to do and unlike much of Cuba which is seemingly in stun mode these days, overwhelmed by an unprecedented flood of tourists, the folks in Vinales are well-prepared and able to act as gracious and enthusiastic hosts and guides.  

Yet another place not to be missed in this wide and often wonderful world...