Tobacco plantation land
Still tired upon recently landing in Havana at the start of this trip, but it was either this date or never to come to the west of the country and visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Viñales Valley and the amazing landscapes of the tobacco plantations. Unfortunately the tours from Havana are not daily hence the reason it was for us only feasible on this day. We knew there was not going to be time to plan a tour that includes a day or two in this region, and even if enough time is what I had, I would have never consider in doing so and preferred to booked an organised tour here and visit as much as possible all in the same day. After all, for us spending any further day in that region was not really necessary considering we were going to be visiting the entire country.
Just a few notes for this place, since it’s better described below in what’s included in a tour: This is the region where the best tobacco in the world grows, and from where the most expensive and famed cigar brands take the plant. Halfway into the journey from Havana and the landscape start to change for beautiful tobacco plantations and wooden houses, by the backdrop setting of the mountains, however this is only a small sample of what’s about to come. The truly amazing landscapes are at the Viñales Valley where you will find the famous karst mountains, one of only 3 places on earth having this same formations.
In the subject that relates to tobacco, I need to explain you something very important. Basically you tour guide will strongly emphasise and encourage you to buy cigars in this region, especially at the shops they will bring you in Pinar del Rio claiming that it’s the cheapest shops where to get the good cigars in the whole of Cuba. That’s fine and it’s true, however it’s extremely difficult to 100% know what you are buying is the right deal or not. Of course the most desired cigars are the Cohiba Esplendidos. These are very precious in the Western World (say Europe for example), and might be very tempting to buy in Pinar if you are thinking in selling afterwards. Well be careful and don’t be fooled, from personal experience we got a box of 15 Cohiba, but when we brought them to an expert to take a look hoping for a trade deal, we found out one was having already a bug that could spread to all other cigars, and the use of green leaves which in a Cohiba this is NOT possible. So yeah, there you go, like anywhere else in the world no matter whatever they try to sell you, it’s difficult to trust 100% that you are getting the real thing. The cigars were still valuable don’t take me wrong, however I would recommend you to buy them at a state shop. (more…)