Dramatic physical formations await in the Valle de Vinales, which lies within three hours of the capital city via the Autopista. The valley (actually a series of valleys) comprises great gorges surrounded by soaring limestone formations called mogotes.

Cuba's finest tobacco is grown in the valley, which retains a quaint charm, with ox-drawn plows tilling the rust-red fields. The village of Vinales has an innocent, picture-book quality, with magic sunrises and sunsets. If you overnight (recommended), there is a wide selection of casas particulares in town (many rent out bicycles and arrange excursions on horseback), and two adequate state-run hotels offer tremendous views from atop the mogotes south of town.

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