Carpeted in lush terrain, it’s no wonder Pinar Del Río province is referred to as the Garden of Cuba. Emerald and rust-red land teems with tobacco, taro and banana plantations, which are still cultivated by local farmers using traditional methods like the oxen and plough. Then there’s the coastline, less visited than other popular Cuban beaches. Cayo Levisa is a tiny island off the northern coast, while María La Gorda is on the westernmost tip of the country and draws in avid scuba divers the world over with its scintillating coral reef.
Viñales valley feels like a world away from anything else. Staggering landscapes of flat pastures are contrasted with the unusual, steeply-sloped knolls or ‘mogotes’ peppered across the valley, evoking a feeling of utter tranquillity and making it seem as though you are in a land lost in time. Situated at the heart of Pinar Del Río, this is one of the most beautiful spots in Cuba, and though it lures in a steady stream of visitors it remains delightfully authentic and follows its own pace of life: slow, laidback, and traditional.
This curious eco-village is set within 25,000 hectares of the Sierra del Rosario, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve awash with tropical flora, fragrant pine forests and towering royal palms. Las Terrazas – named for its pretty, terracotta-roofed bungalows – was an innovative regeneration project back in the 1960s, and today the community continues to uphold its reputation for eco-tourism, and is also a hotspot for grass-roots art and pottery. The area is delightful for hiking and bird-watching, and Las Terrazas is also home to some of Cuba’s oldest coffee plantations.