Los Mogotes de Viñales

These dome-shaped limestone hills, known as Mogotes, are located in the Cuban countryside within the province of Pinar del Rio. In order to find this spot for a photo shoot, you need to either hitchhike, walk, or bike about 3 km outside of the town of Viñales. When you see a sign off the road on the right that says “El Parque de las Dos Hermanas”, do not turn on to it. Instead turn left onto the red, dirt road and walk about 300 meters to a little house on a hill belonging to Don Paco Hernandez and his wife Concha. They have owned this farm for close to 50 years, growing tobacco, maize, and coffee. After apologizing for intruding on their property, ask if it’s ok to continue on toward the top of the hill to take some photos. Be warned, though. They might insist you sit and join them for a cup of fine Cuban coffee made from the beans on their farm. And if you are so inclined, he will light up a freshly rolled cigar from the tobacco leaves hanging in the farmhouse. Be prepared to chat for a bit while you finish off your coffee and cigar. Afterwards, you will walk another 300 meters up the grassy slope, past barbed wire fence, various farm animals, and wild brush to the top of the hill. Then you turn around and get to claim this beautiful view of the Viñales valley as your reward for the trek. I sat and admired the cliffs for a couple of hours as the sun set to my left. When it started getting dark, I gathered my gear and began the descent back down. On to the next adventure.

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