The Pinar del Río province is the most western province of Cuba and stands out by the beauty of its landscapes and for being a tobacco-growing region which produces some of the world’s best tobacco.
Pinar del Río is Cuba’s only province with two biosphere reserves: the Sierra del Rosario mountain range and the Guanahacabibes peninsula. It is considered by many, as the most beautiful province in the country due to the exoticism and splendor of its nature.
Among its major attractions are Viñales Valley, the Guanahacabibes peninsula, Cayo Levisa and Cayo Jutía, among others.
Pinar del Río*
Pinar del Río City founded in 1774 is the capital of the province located 164 km west of Havana.
As other cities of inner Cuba, Pinar del Río has an eclectic architecture, though the neoclassicism of the last decades of the XIX century is remarkable in it. The city offers enough attractions to justify an overnight stay to tour around and visit some attractions as the Cigar Factory that produces some of the finest cigars in the country and Guayabita del Pinar Factory.
Since 1892, the Casa Garay has produced Guayabita del Pinar, a famous liquor unique to Pinar del Río. Guayabita del Pinar is a brandy made from the guayabita (little guava), a fruit which only grows in the surrounding forests.
The Viñales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most Cuba famous landscapes. The 706-km2 valley at the westernmost side of the country is considered by many to be the most spectacular landscape of Cuba. Peculiar geo-morphological formations that make it unique in the country characterize the province. The main attractions are its hummocks (mogotes), small rounded mountains with plenty of tropical vegetation. You can also find there tobacco plantations, a Prehistoric Mural (paintings drawn at the side of a hummock), and amusing caves, some of which can be travelled by boat on underground waters.
The small Viñales town, on the edge of the valley, with its vernacular and colonial style constructions, is a combination of natural beauty and rural hospitality. The slow pace, friendly locals and the variety of outdoor activities and excursions to other attractions of the province, make it an all-time favorite destination.
The Guanahacabibes Peninsula is on the southwest point of the province. There is a natural reserve in this off-the-beaten track area, two International Diving Centers, one marina and two 3 stars cozy hotels.
María la Gorda (Fat Maria) is among the top ten dive locations in Latin America due to its abundant marine life, extraordinarily beautiful corals and clear crystal waters. The María la Gorda International Dive Center is the only hotel in the area and caters mainly to divers of all levels. Non-divers may enjoy snorkeling or fishing. Boat rides are also available and the beach here is divine. María la Gorda is the site of the annual underwater photography competition, ImaSub.
Cabo de San Antonio that marks the Cuba’s westernmost point has another International Diving Centre at Villa Cabo San Antonio and 3 km away the marina that makes and excellent opportunity for great fishing. Overlooking Yucatan Strait is Roncali Lighthouse.
Besides diving and fishing, the main attraction in this area is nature, peace, quite, the gorgeous almost virgin white sand beaches, complemented by comfortable hotels and cottages.
Another dive and beach destination in Pinar del Rio province is Cayo Levisa. It is a key with natural splendor and only reachable by boat.
The boat leaves for Cayo Levisa three times a day from the small quay at Palma Rubia, about 146 km from Havana. The 35-minute trip provides beautiful views of sea and land of the idyllic islet, lined with lush mangroves.
The 3 star Hotel Cayo Levisa is the only building here, built directly on the dazzling beach on the islet’s north side. The hotel guests can enjoy more than 3 km of fine sand and the spectacular coral reef. Diving (there are 21 offshore sites) and snorkeling are possible from the hotel.
A comfortable, remote getaway in a spectacular beach setting.