Cuba // Artemisa and Pinar del Río //

Viñales village

Considering the number of tourists who pass through it, the conveniently located village of VIÑALES is surprisingly undeveloped for tourism, with only one official state restaurant, no hotels in the village itself (though several close by) and very few amenities in general. Nestled on the valley floor, simple tiled-roof bungalows with sunburnt paintwork and unkempt gardens huddle around the pine-lined streets, with only the occasional car or tour bus disturbing the laidback atmosphere as it plies its way up and down the main street of Salvador Cisnero, which slopes gently down either side of a small square where you’ll find all but one of the town’s noteworthy buildings. Despite the village’s diminutive size, there’s no shortage of people offering you a place to stay or a taxi, though this doesn’t constitute any kind of hassle. There’s a genuine charm to the village, though there’s actually little here to hold your attention for very long.

The village’s main square is home to the Casa de la Cultura, which dates from 1832 and houses a small, sporadically active theatre on the second floor. You’re free to take a quick peek upstairs, where there’s still some old colonial-style furniture.

Next door to the Casa de la Cultura, the diminutive Galería de Arte displays small collections of paintings by local artists. Most are somewhat mawkish acrylic landscapes of the Viñales valley, though there’s a handful of more original abstracts thrown in for good measure.

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