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The Vinales Experience, Cuba

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Vinales, Cuba
About The Vinales Experience, Cuba
We're not your average tour operator; we're a family. We run this local business to bring you to the real & authentic Cuba that we know and love, and also to support ourselves and to improve our quality of life here in rural Viñales. We invite you to experience Cuba away from tourism. We invite you to spend time with us on our farm, in our tobacco plantations and our drying barns, meeting our animals and riding our horses, and seeing how we retain a traditional farming method & how we work together with the Cuban government. We invite you to eat al-fresco with us, play dominoes with our cowboys, share a bottle of rum and have a true Viñales Experience.
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The Vinales Experience, Cuba
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kimcanny wrote a review Nov 2019
Savage, Minnesota22 contributions10 helpful votes
Have you ever met someone for the first time and 30 minutes later you feel like you have known them your whole life? That was our experience with the Miranda Family. We did the sunset hike and were met at the bridge by Chenga. His English is limited and our Spanish is minuscule but without saying too much we could tell that Chenga is probably one of the happiest people we've ever met in our life. He is always smiling, even his eyes smile. He led us to the farm where we met most of the Miranda family. The tours usually involve one of the 5 Miranda brothers as the guide. Ladies, be warned, these are some very good looking men:) Various family members explain the process of growing tobacco and show you the "Cuban Tractors" (oxen). Their English is very good so it was easy to understand. While I loved learning about how the tobacco grows and how the cigars are rolled, the very best part of the tour was casually sitting with the family (and other guests), eating the dinner they prepared, smoking cigars, passing around the rum, and eventually dancing the salsa. There is no hurry, no time limit, no cell phone distractions; just great company and conversation. It actually doesn't even feel like you are on a tour. It just feels like you are hanging out with some new friends. The conversation comes so easily and naturally and their English was so good that we could ask them all of the various questions we had about life in Cuba. And boy did we have a lot of questions! By the time the night came to an end there were 3 Cubans and 3 Americans walking in the darkness, linked arm in arm, led only by the light from the stars. There was chatter and laughter and so much joy. We spent a total of 9 days in Cuba. The time at this farm is etched in my memory as something that I never want to forget. It was the highlight of our trip but also one of the greatest travel experiences I have ever had. These are special people...authentic people, and if given the opportunity to drink rum and smoke cigars with them I would do it every single day of the year. I would also like to share some travel advice with you. Before you come to Cuba read the blog on the Vinales Experience website. I found Cassie's perspective to be very helpful, particularly the packing list and "Are you right for Cuba". And make sure to bring bug spray. Thank you, Miranda Family, we love the new Cuban friends we have made.
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Date of experience: October 2019
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GoGiants247 wrote a review Oct 2019
Houston, Texas1 contribution2 helpful votes
A truly unforgettable experience. If you travel to Cuba you are doing yourself a disservice to not experience this phenomenal insight into the daily life of the rural Cuban native. Apart from visiting with people from around the world, we experienced first hand daily activities of the folks that farm the Tobacco plantation and met some who have lived in Viñales their entire lives, and have literally never been out of the valley. An awe inspiring experience that you simply cannot miss. I originally reached out to the team and Cassie reached out with a quick reply. I shared with her my hopes to make our trip special as this trip was going to be on my wife’s birthday. My delay in writing this review is regrettable, but I had to share. Cassie (who’s fiancée is one of the vaqueros) helped us through a private tour with her “soon to be” as our guide. Truly amazing, apart from the private car out and our new friends Roberto and Ronaldo, she catered to my requests and did not miss on making this one of my all time memorable experiences of my lifetime. We had a very tight itinerary that day as we were trying to accomplish many things in a short time while in Cuba. The plan was executed perfectly. Our driver had to have left his house around 3:00am to pick us up and he was exactly downstairs where we were staying and early. Had us back almost on the minute. Even with stopping for some more beverages on the way home. The private lunch prepared by the same family members responsible for feeding the ranch hands of the farm, we were treated to an unbelievable dining experience with panoramic views of the valley and with flowing rum and as many cigars as we could handle along the way. They prepared a Flan as a special treat for my wife and I. Alone this place is worth the visit to see, but if you want to experience the warmth and true nature of the Cuban people (civilians) and an insight to how they actually live and who they are as a culture... this is the side trip you have to make. It’s a shame I can only rate this experience 5 stars. Cassie and her team made the whole thing completely turnkey and we walked away with more friends than we came with. Quick advice: Commit to as much time as necessary. Don’t rush this one. Be ready for a lot of time on horseback. Bring some extra cash on hand to buy Cigars and special Rum you can only get in the Valley. If you book the same private guided tour, I forget which it is, come hungry and thirsty. Special thanks to Cassie, Ronaldo and Roberto, you made our year.
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Date of experience: February 2019
dkallel wrote a review Oct 2019
Pearland, Texas11 contributions1 helpful vote
The Tour was great. Enjoyed the horse back ride through the Vinales country side. Visited a tobacco farm to watch how cigars are made from the tobacco leaves. Visited the Prehistoric Murals on the mountainside. Our tour guide took us to a local restaurant and we had a tasty Cuban lunch.
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Date of experience: March 2019
DJ Warapo wrote a review Sep 2019
1 contribution
I could not express how amazing this experience was! Changa and Omar were amazing in all aspects. The food was the best I have ever had especially the Rice and Beans since everything is cooked via charcoal. We even saw a chicken fight, yessss a chicken fight! I would highly recommend this experience to anyone as it’s as real as it will get. I plan to come back to them when I go back.
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Date of experience: September 2019
PLASWEET wrote a review Sep 2019
Chicago, Illinois12 contributions1 helpful vote
Do not miss Vinales! It's peace and quiet and the views are breath taking. There are not many restaurants in the area, but enough to get what is needed and at many Casa Particulars, the hosts will make you meals. Don't miss a horse back ride and seeing how cigars are made.
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Date of experience: November 2018