Cuba´s westernmost province, Pinar del Río, would only have needed two of its many attributes to draw the attention of newcomers: the Viñales Valley, designated Humankind´s Natural Landscape by UNESCO, and the world´s best tobacco, cropped in Vueltabajo.
This Cuban region was registered as the New Philippines in the mid 1770s. In 1778 it was given its current name (after its oldest town). It is the only region in Cuba where there are two Biosphere reserves: Sierra del Rosario and the Guanahacabibes Peninsula.
Sierra del Rosario and Sierra de los Organos make up the Guaniguanico Mountain Range, which holds the richest flora and fauna in the region. The highest mountain in western Cuba is Pan de Guajaibón, whose summit is 699 meters above sea level.
The Viñales Valley National Park, which covers 132 square kilometers in Sierra del Rosario, stands out for its peculiar hills called mogotes, which have vertical slopes and rounded tops and are covered by exuberant vegetation. The region also has several caves that are of major importance from the speleological viewpoint.
Cueva del Indio (Indian´s Cave), through which the San Juan River (navigable) runs, and Cueva de San Juan (San Juan´s Cave), which are close to each other, and the Santo Tomás cavern system, which is over 45 kilometers long in the nearby Sierra de Quemados, are sites of undisputable wealth in a natural environment that is perfect for trekking along ecological trails.
One of the most interesting ecological trails is the Aquatic Route, which runs from Sierra del Infierno (where there is a countryside community that pays tribute to water and its curative properties) to the Dos Hermanas Valley, where there is a huge painting on the slope of a mogote that is called the Mural of Prehistory.
In the province´s westernmost tip, tourists can visit the Guanahacabibes Peninsula Biosphere Reserve, which is surrounded by two natural reserves: El Veral and Cabo Corrientes, and by an international diving center, María la Gorda, which offers 40 dive sites and a rich colony of black corals. Diving enthusiasts can visit Cayo Levisa, particularly a site known as La Corona de San Carlos.
The Roncalli Lighthouse, in Cabo de San Antonio, practically at the gate to the Yucatan Peninsula; game and fishing preserves; and a well-known resort of mineral medicinal waters in San Diego de los Baños are other tourist sites in Pinar del Río, where visitors express interest in visiting the fields were the world´s best tobacco is cropped and in tasting a liquor produced using traditional methods: Guayabita del Pinar.