Monday, February 27, 2017

Viñales, a tourist shake out

Vinñales is one of Cuba's touristic hot spots. The reason must be found in the fact that it is situated in a valley between those typical steep and high karst formations. Beautiful scenery indeed, only not visible from anywhere in the village. The village is completely dedicated to tourism, with lots of casas particulares, bars, restaurants, souvenir shops and a real tourist market where you can buy the rubbish that are for sale all over the world. But, it must be said, a nice atmosphere and the restaurants serve good meals for normal prices.
For the tourist though the question is: now we are here, what are we going to do. We chose for a '4-hour private guided walk in the national park, including an excursion to a tabacco farm, a coffee farm and a cave”. Well, the guide hardly spoke at all, let alone English, we were with four, so not private, though the other couple were nice people. The explanation about the tabacco and cigar making was ok, the coffee part was pure fake. There was exactly one coffee bush, some beans drying and we could have a cold cup of coffee for an extra 2 CUCs a cup (thieves!, along the streets you buy better ones for precisely 50 times less) and on top of that, the guide at the coffee place was an arrogant, annoyed and impolite girl, whose English we could not understand and who was totally unfit for the job. Then there was the cave, which was a real cave indeed, and in the end we could hand over 20 CUCs a person. Mind, 80 CUC's for our little group in exchange of something that was bullshit for a great part. Even bigger thieves. (To compare: a good room in a casa particular is average 25 CUCs).

So, if you intend to visit this interesting country and you consider to visit Viñales, think why and what before you go. There are far more beautiful karst mountains elsewhere in the world.  

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