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Field of Dreams: Pinar del Rio

A Visit to the Pinar Del Río region Highlights the Island's Most Famous Export
James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
The Cuba Issue, May/Jun 99

(continued from page 1)

If you decide to stay overnight, avoid the Hotel Pinar del Río, which is a drab industrial complex on the outskirts of the city. A layover in the quaint and friendly rural village of Vinales, about half an hour away by car from Pinar, is preferable. Vinales is what you'd expect from a sleepy tobacco town. It has a tiny main street lined with old, well-kept wooden houses with porches. Stay at Hotel Los Jazmines or Hotel La Ermita. Both have excellent views of the gorgeous green valley, although Los Jazmines offers superior service, rooms and food. Light up a cigar, order a mojito at the pool bar and watch the sun go down over the valley, which encompasses a number of hills, called mogotes by the locals. The contrasts of the lush green knolls and rich red soil against a clear blue sky are spectacular. It's a shame that the tobacco from Vinales is considered second-rate to San Luis or San Juan y Martinez. But hey, you can't have everything.

(Outside of Cuba, telephone numbers require the 53-8 prefix.)

Fabrica de Tabaco "Francisco Donatien"
Casa de Tabaco "El Estanco"
Maceo No. 157
Phone: 2 34 24

Palacio de la Artesanía
Casa 1890
Esquina Sol y Coloma
Pinar del Río
Phone: 7 82 63

Hotel Los Jazmines
Carretera de Vinales, Km 25
Phone: 9 32 05

Hotel La Ermita
Carretera de la Ermita, Km 2
Phone: 9 32 04

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