21
May-2012

Immersed in Mother Nature – Horseback riding in Vinales

We took the recommendation of our host, El Maestro, and decided to do a tour around the spectacular nature of Vinales in the back of a horse. Poor Joao, it was his first time to trust his bones to a furry creature. Maestro called a friend specialised in this type of touristic roundabouts and by 2pm we were heading to the outside of the village in a taxi exclusively for us, all for a price, of course (25 CUC each for the horseback riding and 3 CUC for the taxi). Finally, we met our means of transportation, two skinny, hungry and totally obedient horses, and our guide, a young Cuban that, has we found out later, was also a very gifted singer.

Our means of transportation and our guide (in the front).

The geography of this valley is very unique, due to the limestone formations, the mogotes, and because of it’s nature the rock is shaped very easily by the falling rain, creating natural sculptures in the rock and natural caves, like the one we visited the day before. The silence is only cut by our guide asking us all sort of personal questions (if we are married,  do we intend to be, why are we together if we’re not…), the breeze is cool and scented with all the greenery that surrounds us, some farms in the valley beneath, languish cows graze and chickens run along the trail. Dark and heavy clouds hang above our heads and Kabum! it starts to rain cats and dogs! We run to a shelter where fresh coconut water is awaiting us. The little chicks run for cover, they find a cozy and warm place to hide underneath the mother’s feathers. The hole earth is being washed up.

Landscape with the “mogotes” in the background.

Fresh coconut water with a dash of local Rum!

Mother chicken!

The earth being washed up.

We decide to continue our ride, that’s what we paid for, so like amazons we venture underneath the falling rain and get wet till the bones. The trail disappears in a matter of minutes and rivers show up where once there was a road; the horses’ hoofs slide in the rocks and we tighten up our seats. We stop in the entrance of a cavern where water flows noisily and dozens of birds fly over our heads inside and out, busy feeding their offspring.

River crossing.

 

What happened to the road?

River inside a cavern.

Time to go back, I’m freezing and the rain is going to continue to fall for some more hours, but our guide still has some time to sing us some guajiro songs, the cowboys from Vinales. This was the best outdoor experience ever! And our equipment was tested to top levels of humidity, in the end we lost our walkie-talkies but the iPhones survived the massacre and Hurrai! for the waterproof camera and notebook!

Our umbrellas made with palm tree leafs!

Walking our way home.

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