Located in the heart of Pinar del Rio, Viñales is an area of outstanding natural beauty, where tobacco is grown for the Cuban cigar industry. The valley itself is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is peppered with strange and unique “mogotes” – a series of tall, rounded hills which seem to pop out of the ground. As well as walking, the area is great for photography, bird-watching, cycling and horse riding. There are plenty of unique activities on offer, including boat-rides through the Cave of the Indian, tours of tobacco plantations, and an immersive experience in the Palenque de los Cimarrones - a former hideout for runaway slaves.
If you’re thinking of finally taking the plunge and booking that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cuba, then you may want to consider penciling Costa Rica into your plans. In recent years, twin-country holidays have been trending amongst globetrotters, as travelers seek to get the most out of the time and money they’ve invested in journeying halfway across the world. Those looking to be seduced by the rich colours and history of revolutionary Cuba will find that Costa Rica’s verdant jungles and volcanic hot springs can offer the perfect contrast, throwing the Caribbean’s largest island into new and exciting contexts. A bio-diverse Central American treasure and a communist Caribbean time-capsule, Costa Rica and Cuba complement each other through their cultural and geographical diversity. And they’re conveniently close too – lying just across the stretch of the glittering Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is only 2h20 mins away from Cuba’s vibrant capital!