Hotels - La Ermita

About  La Ermita

You know you're in for a visual treat as you snake uphill to this three-star hotel perched on the precipice of a mogote (limestone hillock) with dramatic vistas across the Valle de Viñales. 

Designed in neo-colonial fashion, La Ermita hotel is laid out in a kind of half-moon around spacious lawns studded with an attractive Olympic-size swimming pool. The Las Terrazas restaurant, decorated country style and serving a motley menu of continental and traditional criolla fare, overhangs the valley – a superb setting. The mood is enhanced by live troubadors. Make the most of breakfast here, but you're better off dining in the village by night.

Hotel La Ermita accommodations are in four two-story blocks with shaded porches or balconies with Adirondack chairs. Choose your room carefully, as some of the blocks are angled at ninety-degrees to the valley. A few older rooms are further back and don't have quite the same enthralling views. 

Rooms are kept spic-and-spac, although at last visit they showed visible signs of aging. Ceiling fans help keep things cool, and there's air-conditioning for those who prefer. Furnishings are utlitarian – nothing fancy here – and things could be improved with better quality mattresses. But overall, rooms are comfy enough and, let's face it, unless it's raining you're going to be out exploring.

It's a 30-minute downhill hike into town, but taxis are usually on hand outside the hotel. Must-see attractions include Prehistoric Mural, Palmarito and Ancon valleys, etc.

Calle Salvador Cisneros, Viñales, Pinar del Río

Municipal Museum Adela Azcuy

This museum has an eclectic collection of odd objects and photographs that focus on local history, including antique farm tools. You'll see some stirrups, weapons, weights, locks and keys, and branding irons from Spanish colonial times, as well as personal objects that belonged to Captain Adela Azcuy, a top-ranked woman warrior who fought for Cuba's independence in the 19th century.

Valle de Viñales, Pinar del Río

Vinales National Park

Viñales National Park declared Cultural Landscape and World Heritage by UNESCO because of the way its natural features have been integrated with the activities that the valley’s farmers have engaged in over the centuries. Their impressive mogotes (tall, rounded, flat-topped heights with vertical sides) stand in sharp contrast to the red-soil plains at their bases. This area contains the oldest rocks in the country, and many fossils of marine reptiles, mollusks and fish from the Jurassic Period have been found here.

Km 32 en la autopista. 241, hacia San Vicente, Valle de Viñales, Pinar del Río

Palenque de los Cimarrones

The dimly lighted, rough 140-meter (462-foot) tunnel piercing this mogote opens onto an eerily quiet open space ringed by high limestone rocks. There's a rather shabby replica of a Cimarron campsite with life-size figures of escaped slaves. Afro Cuban Thematic restaurant, which is a series of interconnected ranchos, each decorated and representing a different orishá, or Afro-Cuban deity. It has a huge brick oven to roast chicken and pork. The restaurant is only open for lunch, but the bar and snack bar located in the cave at the joint's entrance are open 24 hours. This spot also serves as a popular disco on most nights.

Camino a San Vicente, Valle de Viñales, Pinar del Río

Cueva del Indio (Cave of the Indian)

Cave of the Indian is crossed by the San Juan River (navigable). Visitors enter the cave through a narrow opening and follow a well-beaten, dimly lighted stone trail for 255 meters (842 feet), narrowing and widening until you reach a high-ceilinged grotto and an underground river. You board a boat here for a short cruise (300 meters [990 feet]) past illuminated stalagmites. The boat takes you out of the cave through a narrow, vine-draped opening in the rock. 

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