Two of Cuba’s most popular destinations, most visitors to the island will at some point find themselves stuck in a taxi between Havana and Viñales. For a little extra cost most drivers will make your trip a little more enjoyable and take you to some of Cuba’s coolest road trip stops along the way if you ask. Specifically in Las Terrazas, an eco-village created by a reforestation project in the 1960’s, there are historic sites and stunning views you won’t find by focusing your travels only in the city. Here are a few of the must-see stops that our friendly non-English speaking taxi driver took us during our mini road trip.
Our first stop was at Cafetal Buenavista. Genuinely the most beautiful jungle views of my entire trip. Miles and miles of green from an old coffee plantation. Surrounded by wildlife are the now partially restored plantation and ruins of slave’s quarters who produced the coffee years ago. The location also includes a restaurant, though since it was just our first stop we decided to skip it.
The beautiful Hotel Moka. If you aren’t already staying there it is a must-see just for the views and the garden. Built with Spanish colonial architecture, the hotel has an atrium lobby and is designed sustainably for supporting eco-tourism. There is also a popular cute little cafe just down the hill from the hotel to get your caffeine fix.
Lago Del San Juan
Just down the hill form Hotel Moka is the Lago Del San Juan. Not only are the views looking up the hill incredible, but there is also a little monkey who hangs out on an island in the lake. Though I don’t actually know his food/living condition so I can’t fully say how much I recommend seeing this as I did feel bad for the monkey since he looked like he could be trapped on the island (Leave a comment below if you have any info on this!). If you are staying in the area longer there are also nearby horseback riding trips as well as canopy tours.
Orchidarium in Soroa
For just a few CUC we went into the beautiful botanical gardens. Set just outside of Viñales, the garden dates back to the 1940’s and will make you feel fully at peace. We wandered the grounds and took in all the breathtaking flowers and jungle views before continuing on to the Viñales Valley.
Hotel Los Jazmines
The last stop on our Cuban road trip was at Hotel Los Jazmines. This is a popular stop as the views look out over the Viñales Valley.
Pro tip: For a few CUC you can supposedly use the hotel’s pool for a few hours, which boasts incredible views of the valley. Though this should be done during your stay in Viñales as the taxi driver will likely not want to wait on you.
Watch the vlog from this road trip HERE!