Cuba: Horseback riding in Viñales

A bumpy journey from Havana and about 3 hours later, I arrived in Viñales and worried where I would stay for the coming  nights. Sweat was falling off my back and forehead, I walked towards the accommodation that my host in Havana had contacted. Luck just came to me from one place to another, and I got a stay. It was about lunch time and everything around here was quiet and empty. The still numbed me a bit until the sound of some horses galloping from distance broke the silence. I wondered where those had come from.

Just to wander around Viñales, there was nothing much interesting to do and things were staying as quiet as it could be. But I was hunting for the ride on a horse because it looked quite tempting to me. I probably had been on a horse before but years years ago. All I remembered was a picture of me and my mother horseback riding on a beach somewhere in Vietnam. So that trip would do me good to remind me what it had felt like to be on a horse. I booked a three-hour horse ride that late afternoon.


Mojjito was the name of my horse in that afternoon. He was a charming guy with a soul of a leader but nonetheless calm and friendly. We bonded with each other after a few touches. Sitting on a horse was not something to be expected to be comfortable but riding a horse was a wonderful feeling in which you feel you rule the wild and the freedom. It was not looking any alike in the movie that you ride horses through the meadow with the win zigzagging through your hair but the reality was looking even better than that. Around me was a spectacular view in which the picture was all painted green and it told the story of a shepherd and his tobacco farm. He lives in a hut locating just few minutes walk from the valley and his main transportation is his dear horse. His tobacco farm has been passed on through many generations and the quality of each cigar he rolls each day is unbeatable. We got to try one cigar which was freshly rolled while listening to the story of the farm and some great info about cigar that we had never learnt before. I first sip of cigar was not that interesting but the flavour remained and got me excited. That sweetness of honey used to glue the cigar was a new exploration to me which did not make me hate tobacco anymore.


It was a late afternoon so that there were not many activities going on for us. On the other hand, we caught the beautiful sunset charmingly shining on the whole valley. The picture I got in mind now had changed to a dreamy painting which the main colour was golden orange on top of that clear blue sky. Some cotton candy looking clouds were sitting on that painting to give a bit of contrast to the blue background. There was a certain energy getting to me and lifted my soul. If a beautiful sunset could make you feel that way, I reckon everyone deserves to witness it once in a while to make your world more positive.

It was not a long ride but it numbed my inner thighs for few hours already. In the end, I didn’t care what I was seeing but I gotta see and do what I had wanted to. Viñales might not have much to do but that side of Cuba is lovely without doubt. That’s the place you call peace.