The Viñales Valley, declared Humankind's Natural Heritage Site, has become a one-of-a-kind offer for tourists in Cuba, as its geography raises the interest of holidaymakers.
Covering an area of 132 square kilometers, the valley is also the most outstanding exponent of the karst relief in Cuba, and is surrounded by peculiar round-top hills called mogotes.
Among the characteristic elements of Viñales is the so-called Mural of Prehistory, which was created in 1959 by the painter Leovigildo González Morillo, a student of the outstanding Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
The mural was painted on the hill of one of the mogotes, and is one of the largest open-air paintings on Earth, measuring 120 meters high by 180 meters wide.
Painted on the rocks is a picture of the Jurassic period. It has a drainage system designed by the author to prevent the accumulation of water between the stones.
The mural represents the evolution of the life of man and animals in this Cuban region, as it shows human figures, gigantic mammals such as big bears, mollusks and marine reptiles from the Mesozoic period.
All these elements make up a set of 12 large colorful pieces in blue, red, green and yellow, as part of a project whose first phase was the total cleaning of the vegetable layer.
The passage of time has been unable to eliminate these attractions, which each year attracts thousands of visitors who come to see the images of plesiosaurs and Megalonus rodens, captured in the place with singular mastery.
In addition, the local flora consists of 17 endemic species that cannot be found anywhere in the planet, including the cork palm, which is considered a living fossil from the Jurassic period.
The Viñales Valley has many cave systems, which include the Indio Cave, through which the San Vicente River runs, and the José Miguel and the Santo Tomás systems, the latter is among the most extensive in Latin America, as it has about 45 kilometers of galleries.
The town of Viñales, located in the heart of the valley, is a traditional farmers' settlement site, with its main street flanked by galleries of houses with columns and red tiles.
The socio-historical development of the region contains elements and sites that are characteristic of the Cuban people's culture, with aboriginal backgrounds, slaves and peasants, all molded in the unique characteristics of that natural landscape.
Included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, the Viñales Valley is at the same time a true Natural Monument in Cuba, and it is open to thousands of vacationers who want to be in direct contact with nature during their stay in the Caribbean island.
Precisely, these conditions place the emblematic region among the sites recommended to be visited in 2018, according to publications specialized in tourism.