After crashing hard last night and sleeping pretty much through the whole night, I woke up refreshed and ready to go at 5am.

Of course, my plans didn’t start until 8am but, no problem, as I had to pop together yesterday’s blog.

Yesterday, my horseback ride took me through the eastern side of the Vinales valley, so today the plan was to explore the parts I still had marked on my map.

Turns out, there’s actually a hop on, hop off bus here in Vinales that would help me do just that.


The first bus didn’t leave til 9am so I headed out around 8am to grab some breakfast first.

The streets weren’t as quiet as they were yesterday.   Today they were full of people walking about and then I remembered that today was Monday and people were on their way to work.

I got to the restaurant and actually ordered the exact same breakfast I had yesterday – bacon and eggs with a side of potatoes.

Funny thing is, although I ordered the exact same thing, my two dishes were presented totally differently.

My potatoes had some sort of aioli on them and while the bacon was chopped up and mixed with my eggs yesterday, it was in full pieces today.

Honestly, I kind of liked today’s version a bit better.

Hop on, hop off

At just before 9:00, I walked over to stop #1 where the first bus would be departing from.

By the way, the hop on, hop off bus is not very well publicized at all.   In fact, I only randomly came across it while I was trying to figure out how I was going to get around Vinales.

There is no official website with timetables or routes and the only information I gleaned was from a blog written a few years back.

Honestly, it wasn’t until I showed an image of the bus to my casa host and she verified it was still running that I actually knew it was a thing.

It costs just $5 and has 19 stops.   Of the 19, there were 4 that ticked off things on my map so this worked out perfectly.

At 9am, the bus opened its doors.   I went to pay my $5 only to find that it was credit card only which, for Cuba, is an extreme rarity.

Anyway, luckily I still had my card with me, so I paid and sat down.

I was the only person on the bus.

See, I told you it wasn’t very well advertised!

Flying through the air

We drove for about 20 minutes over and extremely potholed street and arrived at Canopi Zip Lines around 9:30.

Yup, this boy was gonna go flying through the sky again.

I am deathly afraid of heights but when I saw that there was ziplining here in Vinales I couldn’t sign up quick enough.

The one and only other time I’ve gone ziplining was when I was visiting Chiang Mai in Thailand a few years ago.

I loved my adventure then so I was ready for another one now.

The bus runs every hour which was perfect because the zip lining takes about 45 minutes.

There was a group of about a dozen college students from New York who were already getting their gear on so I joined their group.

The course here has 4 zip lines, each getting longer than the other.

After 40 minutes of zipping through the valley, we were back at our starting point and, 15 minutes later, the bus arrived to pick me up.

I was still the only one on board.

The next stop was the Mural de la Prehistoria which is a 120m long painted mural on the side of a huge boulder.   It took 20 farmers four years to complete it.

Most people come here, pay the $3 entrance fee, take some photos, and leave.

Because I was on the bus, I bypassed the entrance fee and got to take my photo for free.

Is it the most amazing piece of art you’ve ever seen?

Ah, no, not really.

It is worth it to hop off the bus real quick and take a pic of it?

Yes, yes it is.


By 10:45 the bus was back in town, now heading the opposite direction to continue it’s loop to the northeast where the caves are.

I decided to really take the “hop off” part of the bus seriously spending the next few hours back in town before continuing onwards on the bus later in the afternoon.

I went back to my casa, relaxed for a bit, and then headed out for lunch around noon.

I went back to 3J’s restaurant where I had breakfast this morning.

I noticed they had tapas on the menu and I was hankering for some light nibbles for lunch.

Thankfully the server spoke great English and I was able to communicate my gluten allergy to him giving him the opportunity to suggest some tapas that would be good for me.

I ordered serrano ham and mushrooms as well as a shrimp cocktail.

Oh, and a piña colada, cause, ya know, it’s always #piñaoclock time.

Cave tour

The bus was scheduled to stop at 2:10pm but I had noticed that throughout the morning that it was 15 minutes ahead of time so I got to the stop plenty early.

That’s the thing with a hop on, hop off bus, if it’s early, it kind of sucks cause then you’re waiting another hour for the next one.

Of course, by now, the bus was running on schedule and arriving early wasn’t needed.   Oh well, I had a nice 20 minutes just sitting on the curb watching Vinales in full display.

To my utter shock, there were 2 other people on the bus.

We all took the 20 minute drive up to the caves and arrived around 2:30.

There are actually two stops for two different caves here, the Palenque de los cimarrones and the Cueva del Indio.

I had read the the first cave was pretty small and since I didn’t want to wait another whole hour for a tiny cave, I decided to pass it up and go to the more famous and bigger one.

Again, I joined a group of people who were entering the cave just before me.

Now, I know yesterday I talked about how I’d been to so many caves over my travels that they’re just kind of “meh” to me now.

Well, this cave did have a boat ride through it which was kind of cool and, of course, I love taking a bunch of photos inside cause of all the unique shapes and sizes of the cave walls.

Oh, and the cost?   Yeah, $1.   One whole dollar.

An hour later my bus came back for me.   All was set right in the universe again as, once again, I was the only passenger on board.

By 3:30pm, I was back at my casa.


I spent the next few hours just relaxing again at the casa.   This time I was trying to figure out what I’d be doing in Cienfuegos over the next couple of days.

At 6:30, I was hungry and it was time for dinner.

Walking outside I was surprised to see the darkness as the sun had just set.

It just feels like summer so much here that you expect the sun to be shining until 10 at night.   Of course, you have to remind yourself that it’s actually winter time and an early setting sun in January is normal.

For dinner, I tried a place I hadn’t gone to before, El Meridiano.

While I waiting for the bus earlier, I decided to look at the menu at the entrance.   Of course, as always happens, one of the workers approached me.

This one though spoke perfect English and just seemed friendly and not pushy like most are when you look at their menus.

I told him about my gluten allergy and he suggested a few things.

Honestly, I saw the burger on the menu and knew that that’s what I would be getting later.

What can I tell ya, I had a craving for a burger.

And this one had ham, cheese, and egg on top of it.

Anyway, long story short, I told him I’d be back and, sure enough, here I was.

He was happy to see me and sat me down at a table on the patio right away.

I started my meal with Tostones Rellenos de Queso, which are fried plantain stuffed with cheese.   Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from them but I was happy to be able to have this as it was gluten free.

It was like little plantain fritters with cheese on top.   It was alright but the real deal was coming next.

Ah, hamburger!

Oh, how I missed you!

Naturally, I did it bunless, but it was a nice knife and forker with the ham, cheese, and egg on top of the burger patty.

Oh yeah, I had another piña colada, of course, cause, ya know, it’s always #piñaoclock, right?


I chatted with a couple from Denmark who were sitting at the table next to me about our different travels here in Cuba.   As they just arrived in Vinales, I was able to give them my experiences and even promote the hop on, hop off bus.

You’re welcome Vinales tourism board!

Before leaving, I did order another burger for takeaway as I’ll be leaving at 8am tomorrow morning and needed something to eat for breakfast.

The total cost of the meal which was two burger, an appetizer, and two drink?

2849 pesos rounded up to 3200 for an extra tip.

That’s just $13.

God, I love Cuba!

Anyway, it was an early evening for me as I got back to my casa and typed up this blog before settling for some downloaded videos and a nice night’s sleep.

Tomorrow is a big travel day.   I leave at 8am for Havana arriving around noon and then at 3:30, I have a bus taking me 5 1/2 hours south to Cienfuegos arriving around 9pm at night.

So yeah, a long day ahead of me tomorrow but I’m excited to see another city here in Cuba.

Until tomorrow…

Cuba Trip 2024, Trip Journal, Vinales, Cuba
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