Destinations

Escape to Cuba’s heartland

Follow photographer Daniel Allen as he takes it slow through the rural and retro countryside of this island nation.

[↑] In a country where spare parts are easier to come by than sophisticated machinery, transport options have a long shelf life.

[↑] Guajiro Roberto López Fernández. Guajiros are the backbone of Cuban agriculture and today the Viñales Valley remains their spiritual heartland.

[↑] The main street in the small town of Viñales is regularly patrolled by vintage American and Russian cars.

[↑] Cuba is renowned, amongst other things, for its cigars. Viñales is the centre of the island’s tobacco growing industry due to its fertile land and temperate climate.

[↑] With its tangerine soil, emerald-green vegetation, and distinctive limestone mogotes (hills), Viñales is the so-called “garden of Cuba.”

[↑] Cuba has a long tradition of using horses for both riding and for urban and rural transport, and Viñales is now home to a thriving horseback tourism industry.

[↑] Cubans have long faced the challenge of expensive vehicles and fuel, which means horses remain a highly popular mode of transport. Cuba’s traditional vaqueros (cowboys) ride across landscapes that have changed little in centuries.

Psst: You can reach Viñales by car from Havana.

Based in London and Asia, award-winning writer and photographer Daniel Allen has journeyed widely across the globe.

Text and photos Daniel Allen

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