Founded in 1774, Pinar del Río is located 164 kilometers west of Havana and is near some of the world’s best tobacco plantations. Despite being the capital of Pinar del Río province, it is not a major tourist destination.
The city offers enough attractions to justify an overnight stay. One of the architectural highlights is the Museo de Ciencias Naturales Sadalio de Noda (Museum of Natural Sciences), housed in the Palacio de Guasch. This building dates from 1909 and combines several different architectural styles.
Teatro Milanés, named after the poet Jacinto Milanés, is arguably Cuba’s most attractive theatre. The recently restored neo-classical building dates from the first half of the 19th century.
The Museo Provincial de Historia (Provincial History Museum) on Calle Martí, offers a good historical overview of the province and town of Pinar del Rio from the pre-Columbian period until the present.
Due to its proximity to the tobacco growing region, it’s no surprise that Pinar del Río has a cigar factory. The Fábrica de Tabacos Francisco Donatié, once a hospital and jail, now produces some of the finest cigars in the country.
Since 1892, the Casa Garay has produced Guayabita del Pinar, famous liquor unique to Pinar del Río. A brandy made from the guayabita (little guava; a fruit which only grows in the surrounding forests), it comes in sweet (dulce) and dry (seca) versions. Both can be tasted on guided factory tours.
For nighttime entertainment, we recommend the Rumayor cabaret, a simpler version of Havana’s cabarets, with a greater Afro-Cuban focus.