Pinar del Río could not be described as a tranquil city, thanks to the increasingly aggressive nature and disproportionately large number of jineteros who thrive here away from the attentions of the state, which generally focuses on Havana and the more popular tourist locations. As a result, levels of pestering and prostitution are surprisingly high. Foreign visitors, particularly those in rental cars or on Víazul buses, are often surrounded by touts within minutes of arrival and are likely to attract what can become a tiring level of persistent attention throughout their time in the city.

The problem is particularly tiresome when you’re looking for accommodation. Some jineteros have adopted particularly aggressive techniques, going as far as following you to the door of a house and claiming that no one lives there or that it’s full, just as the owner approaches to let you in. With this in mind, be careful if asking directions, particularly from young men who offer to take you to the address. Many house owners have complained of touts demanding commission even when the guests have actually arrived independently. If you got there on your own, make it clear to the house owner that you did not get their address from a tout; it can also help to let the tout know you will be doing this.

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