We arrived in Vinales by bus, a long one. Immediately after stepping off the bus we were swamped by dozens of people offering to take us to their lodgings or offer us their services as a taxi driver, thankfully we required neither as we had a home-stay booked within walking distance of the town centre where we had just been dropped off. We extricated ourselves from the swarm and wandered off to our Air B&B.
The map Harri had printed out wasn’t quite as truthful as we would have liked, after asking three people and walking up the correct road three times we were finally directed to the correct Casa, which thankfully had neither a name or number which made us feel slightly better about our finding abilities.
We were welcomed by Yosvani who was extremely welcoming and really meant it when he said “nothing was too much trouble”. He also had great wifi which was welcome after terrible service in Havana. Our first afternoon was spent trying out a couple of restaurants and enjoying a couple of Mojitos for the pricey sum of $1.50… Vinales town centre had a really nice vibe to it, a number of more ‘touristy’ bars and restaurants were clustered around the central district, most of them had music playing and the availability of wifi in most places meant it was a very easy and enjoyable place to spend a few hours, especially as we also tried some delicious croquettes (hot, breaded, cylinder of potato and cheese with a spicy dip). We did some more planning; for the rest of our trip and on how to get home and then headed up to Hotel Jardine which stands on a hill on the outskirts of the town and has amazing views of the surrounding countryside. One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen.
The following day we started it with a mammoth breakfast in the sun on the roof terrace before trying something which we have never before done together and which I have never done at all. We went horse riding. Our faithful steads (Caramelo and Chocolate) took us through the mountainous region around the town, which is also a World Heritage Site and one of the prime coffee and tobacco growing regions of the country. We stopped off and had lessons about to production of both of them as well as honey and run which are side industries. Very interesting and a definite highlight, especially as we hadn’t been aware that it was part of the horse riding when we booked it. Once back in the town both of us conceded that we used different muscles to ones we normally do and had sore bums but we also agreed that it was an excellent morning and something we would do again.
The afternoon was spent in some different bars and restaurants, catching up with people and news in the UK about the ever-changing global situation regarding coronavirus.