Heading southwest from Pinar del Río city on the Carretera Central, the only main road through this part of the region, the tourist centres become less developed and the towns more isolated, snoozy but likeable little places that hold scant reward for even the most enthusiastic explorer – twenty minutes in any one of them should suffice for the whole lot. The one place that demands a longer visit between Pinar del Río city and the Península de Guanahacabibes is the Alejandro Robaina tobacco plantation, just under 25km from the centre of the provincial capital. Of the numerous vegas (tobacco farms) in the area, this is the one best prepared for visitors and the most renowned.
After the small town of Isabel Rubio, 60km from the provincial capital, the landscape becomes increasingly monotonous and doesn’t improve until the dense forest and crystalline waters of the peninsula move into view, well beyond the end of the Carretera Central at the fishing village of La Fe. On Cuba’s virtually untouched western tip, María La Gorda is one of the best scuba-diving locations in the country.