If you’ve ever wondered where the world’s finest cigars start out, it’s in the lovingly cultivated tobacco plantations of Cuba’s westernmost province, Pinar del Río. But those plantations are only part of the area’s magic. With its unusual mogotes (rounded limestone mountains) strung along flat plains, Pinar del Río’s spectacular scenery rivals any in the world. These plains, where Cuban cowboys roam and dreamy villages doze, are ringed by mountain ranges crowned by vast stretches of tropical forests.
Take a factory tour to see how the world’s finest cigars are made, or stop by the brandy plant to discover how the locals make Guayabita del Pinar, a tasty guava liqueur that’s a regional specialty here. Book an ecotour from Las Terrazas, a scenic, sustainable resort community ideally situated in the midst of mountain hiking trails leading to waterfalls, mineral springs and historic coffee plantations. Be sure to visit Soroa, home to 750 orchid species and the spectacular El Salto waterfall. Venture out to the wonderfully secluded beaches situated on Pinar del Río’s keys where coral gardens, caves and crystalline waters attract diving enthusiasts.
With one World Heritage Site – the Valle de Viñales – and two biosphere reserves – the Sierra del Rosario and Península de Guanahacabibes – Pinar del Río has more UNESCO-protected land than any other province in Cuba.
Watch workers expertly hand-roll fine cigars at the Francisco Donatién cigar factory. A local specialty is Guayabita del Pinar, an exquisite guava liqueur unique to this area.