Feeding stray dogs and killing time in Viñales Cuba

By November 25, 2013Fujifilm X-Pro1, RTW, Travel
feeding stray dogs in vinales cuba

Tranquilo in Viñales

Cuba is more than just Havana, in our journey to explore more of the country in our month there, our first stop outside the famous capital city was Viñales.

A small town in the province of Pinar del Rio, Viñales is surrounded by the low mountain ranges of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico. UNESCO listed rocky outcrops called mogotes dot the lush valley.

The province of Pinar del Rio is supposedly home to the best tobacco plantations in Cuba, supplying the distinct leathery brown leaves to brands such as Cohiba, Montechristo, Romeo y Julieta and Partagas. Being a non smoker, I’m unable to confirm or deny the legendary status of these cigars.

Quite happy to be out of the tourist madness that can sometimes define Havana, we found Viñales really sleepy and quite tranquilo. A main road runs through the town, and single storey houses, painted in pastel colours, line both sides of the street. Small, mostly state-run restaurants and casa particulares dot the stretch. Apart from the occasional bored taxi driver doing burnouts down the main strip, and the tourist Viazul buses that ply the stretch, traffic was limited to the odd tractor and man on horse.

Starving dogs

A number of very emaciated and scruffy stray dogs roam the main streets, sniffing around the feet of uncomfortable patrons at the restaurants looking for scraps. Their fur clumpy and in patches, rib cages painfully visible, I reckoned the pickings must be slim, as some of these dogs could not be more than a few days away from death. The stronger ones were able to snatch the few scraps of food thrown out by sympathetic tourists, the weaker ones walked away hungry. We made it a point to put aside some food for the weakest ones although deep down, I knew it was akin to trying to stem the flow of the river with a pebble, that starvation would just be prolonged for another day at most.
The rest of the time, we just spent visiting the surrounding countryside, soaking in the sunshine and still a little unbelieving of the fact that we were in Cuba, a place I had long dreamed of visiting.

little girl with tricycle in vinales cuba driving into vinales cuba Tractor traffic in vinales cuba man repairing vintage car vinales cuba Man fixing vintage car vinales cuba landscape around vinales bunch of bananas vinales cuba

I left my job as an advertising Creative Director in August 2012 to travel Africa and South America for a year with my wife, documenting these beautiful places with my Fuji X-Pro1. View the rest of my RTW adventures on Handcarry Only and follow me on my journey by subscribing/following/bookmarking.