On a full day guided tour, travel west by road to Pinar del Rio through the Sierra del Rosario. The province of Pinar is a fertile region where the combination of sun and soil is conducive to the successful cultivation of tobacco; as well as cattle rearing. Both these economic activities were launched by settlers from the Canary Islands, who started to arrive in the 16th century. Visit a cigar factory in the town of the same name and learn about the production process.
Continue by road to Viñales, a small, rural town tucked away in the Sierra de los Órganos. The shady high street is lined with trees, wooden colonnades and one-storey, red-roofed houses. Horse and carts clatter along the main road and local children play baseball with sticks and stones outside the dilapidated whitewashed church in the main square. There is a splendid old chemist's shop and a few other bare-shelved stores, as well as a couple of salsa bars.
Here you'll explore the town, view a prehistoric mural and take a boat ride along an underground river. The valley has a distinctive landscape, with dramatic limestone mountains, known as mogotes, which jut into the sky from a lush, fertile plain. Using oxen and carts, local farmers cultivate the red soil of the valley floor for fruit, vegetables and tobacco, and the countryside is peppered with thatched curing barns for drying the tobacco leaves.