PHOTOGRAPHED: Exploring Viñales and the Viñales Valley
About 90 miles and three hours west of Havana is Viñales, a rural outpost of single-story homes — some tidy, some shacks — all with porches where people sit and watch and socialize with their neighbors.
North of the town is the
Viñales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that looks like Jurassic Park.
( Above photo: A farmhand looks like he’s about to draw a gun but he was just in a hurry as he walked past the tobacco field at the farm we visited. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)) How To Roll A Cuban
We visited a tobacco farm in the town of Viñales. There we drank some local rum with a farmer while we watched him roll cigars, which we smoked. The first photos show a little bit about that process.
DRY HOUSE: The farmer gave us a tour of the tobacco farm starting at the air-curing barn. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
PUBLIC RELATIONS BEFORE A SALE: There was no charge for the short tour but it’s expected that you’ll buy something that’s made on the farm and we did not disappoint. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
NATURAL SMOKE: Air-curing is a natural process where tobacco leaves are hung up to dry. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
CIGAR ROLLING 101: Tricia had a mojito and I had a strong coffee with a shot of Guayabita del Pinar rum while we watched the farmer roll. The rum is made with dwarf guava fruit. We purchased a bottle as well as some cigars, honey and coffee beans. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
(Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
(Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
QUICK WRIST ACTION: And with a quick flick of the wrist he finished rolling a cigar. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
SWEET SMOKE: The farmer told us to dip the end of the cigar in honey, explaining that that’s how Che Guevara liked to smoke because the honey was good for his asthma. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
A Look At the Valley
PREHISTORIC VIEW: The Viñales Valley, north of town, has a beautiful prehistoric vibe to it. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
ANCIENT POSE: In the background is the Viñales Mural de la Prehistoria. It depicts world history up until the age of humans and was painted in 1961 by the former Director of Mapping at the Cuban Academy of Sciences, Leovigildo González Morillo. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
GOING UP THE COUNTRY: In Viñales you’ll see many people riding horses. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)
FORBIDDEN HOTEL: U.S. citizens would probably have no trouble checking into this government-run hotel in the Viñales Valley but they’d be breaking U.S. regulations against giving money to the Cuban government. (Photo by Mark Micheli ©)