Pinar del Rio, Cuba
Pinar del Río is the capital of the province of the same name and is located 162 km from Havana. The city, founded in 1774 by a captain of the Spanish army, was one of the last settlements in Cuba founded by the Spaniards. In 1896, Captain Antonio Maceo brought the Second War of Independence to Pinar del Río in an attempt to divide the island into two parts, as a result of which the city received an impetus for development. After the revolution of 1959, the economic condition of Pinar del Rio improved, helped by the construction of a national highway from Havana and the flourishing of the tourism industry in the 1980s. Today, Pinar del Rio is located in the main tobacco growing area and is the center of the cigar industry. For Cuba climate and geography, please check TopPharmacySchools.
How to get to Pinar del Rio
From Pinar del Río train station there are daily trains to Havana (7 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos), 30 min, departure at 8:45) and Guana (2 CUC, 2 h, departure at 7:18 and at 18:30) with a stop in Sabalo.
Buses operated by Víazul run daily routes from Pinar del Río to Viñales (cost 6 CUC, departure times 11:30 and 16:30) and to Havana (11 CUC, 8:50 and 14:50). Buses stop in Pinar del Río at 7:30 a.m. for María la Gorda and return at 6:30 p.m. Buses to Havana via Soroa stop at Pinar del Rio at 8:30.
On the boat
To get to Cayo Levisa, take the bus to Bahía Honda via Viñales. You must get off at Mirian, 4 km from Palma Rubia, from where boats leave for the island, but you will have to spend the night at the station.
Rent-a-car offices Micar, Transtur and Havanautos are located in several hotels in Pinar del Rio and offer a decent selection of cars. And in Transtur you can also rent a moped for 24 CUC per day.
Bicycle taxi around the city will cost 5 CUC.
Paladar El Mesón Restaurant at Martí Este No 205 specializes in Caribbean cuisine. Seafood is served at Paladar Nuestra Casa on Colón Sur No 161, which serves “filete Canciller”, fish stuffed with ham and cheese. And in the city center, on Martí Este No 52, there is another restaurant specializing in seafood – El Marino.
Attractions and attractions in Pinar del Rio
In Pinar del Río, it is worth visiting Francisco Donatien’s tobacco factory (Fábrica de Tabacos Francisco Donatien), whose building served as a prison until 1961, or go on a tour of the Fábrica de Bebidas Casa Garay factory, where guava brandy is made according to a secret recipe. The factory is located on Isabel Rubio Sur No 189, the entrance ticket will cost 5 CUC, the work schedule is from 9:00 to 15:30 on weekdays and from 9:00 to 12:30 on Saturdays.
A stone’s throw from the tobacco factory in Plaza de la Independencia is the best art gallery in Pinar del Rio with a collection of works by local artists. The gallery is open from 8:00 to 21:00 from Monday to Saturday.
The Museo de Ciencias Naturales Sandalio de Noda is housed in a Moorish mansion built in neo-Gothic style by local physician and traveler Francisco Guasch. In the museum you can see everything – from a tyrannosaurus rex to a stuffed baby giraffe. Entrance fee will be 1 CUC, the museum is open from 9:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Saturday and from 9:00 to 13:00 on Sundays.
And in the historical museum Museo Provincial de Historia, collections of objects from pre-Columbian times to the present day are collected.
Neighborhood Pinar del Rio
30 km north of the city in the Sierra de los Organos mountains is the Viñales Valley (Valle de Viñales), notable for the so-called “mogote” – sheer hills with flat tops reaching 400 m, which are already more than 160 million years old. There are many caves in the surrounding mountains – the Cave of the Indian (Cueva del Indio), Jose Miguel (Cueva de José Miguel) and Santo Tomas (Cueva de Santo Tomas), which is considered one of the largest in Latin America. In the valley there is a runaway slave camp of Palenque de los Cimarrones, the botanical garden of Casa de Caridad (Casa de Caridad), and not far from Valle de Viñales is a giant “Prehistoric fresco” (Mural de la Prehistoria) by artist Leovihildo Gonzalez with people and animals depicted on a cliff 120 m high.
From Pinar del Río, you can make an excursion to the city of Soroa, whose natural landscape is conducive to mountain biking and mountain climbing. The Manantiales River flows in the city and there are unique baths, the so-called “pools of love” – Poza del Amor. This region is the natural habitat of the smallest frogs in the world. About 80 species of birds live here, many of which are endemic, especially the tocororo, which is considered the national bird of Cuba. In Soroa there is an orchid garden Orquideario de Soroa, where more than a hundred varieties of these flowers grow. The orchid garden is located in the Sierra del Rosario mountains and is a biosphere reserve. On a high hill in Soroa is the “Cloud Palace” Castillo Las Nubes, built in 1867 by Andalusian Don Pedro. Since 1967, the palace has housed a restaurant.
A stone’s throw from the tobacco factory in Plaza de la Independencia is the best art gallery in Pinar del Rio with a collection of works by local artists.
And in the community of Las Terrazas, declared by UNESCO the first ecological reserve in Cuba, the ruins of a French coffee plantation of the 19th century have been preserved.
Diving in Pinar del Rio
Cayo Levisa, part of the Los Colorados archipelago, is located on the northwest coast of Cuba and is considered a popular diving destination. The island is surrounded by huge coral formations, where jellyfish, parrot fish, algae live, as well as sea wolves, Cuban carp and some crustaceans. One of the best dive sites here is La Corona de San Carlos.
At the westernmost point of Cuba, Maria la Gorda, on the Guanahacabibes peninsula, there is an international diving center. Since this place is historically associated with pirates, ancient anchors and ship cannons are ubiquitous in this area. Black corals grow here, barracudas, sea lawyers come across among the inhabitants.
Baseball games are held at the Estadio Capitán San Luis from April to October, and the Pinar del Rio team is considered the best in the country.