Elevation: 471 ft
GPS: 22.613, -83.713 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 67,646 total · 618/month
Shared By: Armando Menocal on May 25, 2010
Admins: Eric Leclerc
Access Issue: Climbing in Cuba is Alive and Well Details


Climbing in Cuba isn’t like climbing in any other place. The climbing is superlative, cracking jugs and pockets in chiseled karst limestone on improbable lines through stunning overhangs of stalactites and tufa columns.

Its multi-pitch classic climbs define big wall sport climbing with their remote locations and mandatory techniques like tag ropes and back clipping on rappel.

Climbing in Cuba is as much about Cuba as it is about climbing.

Few visitors to Cuba come away equivocal. Most become passionate about Cuba. The first Americans climbers went again and again, obsessed to keep returning, despite U.S. law threatening $250,000 in fines and 10-years imprisonment. The visiting climbers donated gear, clothes, even drills and bolts, and as a result, perhaps unlike any other climbing destination, the vast majority of first ascents have been done by locals.

Its lighting fast development and passionate popularity indicate that Cuba is quickly becoming one of the finest sport climbing destinations of the world.

It has seen an influx of leading climbers, such as Lynn Hill, Neil Gresham, Timmy O’Neil, and Jim Donini, and the development of a strong contingent of Cuban climbers, who are eager to climb with visitors.

Travel, digs, food, and climbing partners are no sweat. The beta on Cuba is at hand in guidebooks, websites, even Facebook.

American climbers need to realize that Cuba is not isolated from the world; it is Americans that are isolated from Cuba.

Perfect climbing days, mild weather, and everything from isolated beaches to caving and cockfights on rest days make for a one-of-a-kind adventure. Add an exciting, sensuous nightlife, the gregarious, vivacious Cuban people and the country may already be the best outdoor experience anywhere.

The Crags: Valle de Viñales

The focus of rock climbing activity in Cuba is the Valle de Viñales in the western, mountainous province of Pinar del Río. The Valle de Viñales is a national park and a World Heritage Site.

The mountains around Viñales have over 250 routes (300 pitches of climbing) with potential for hundreds more. The majority of routes lie within three main areas in the Valley: Mogote del Valle, El Palenque, and La Costanera.

More than 80 percent of the routes in Valle de Viñales are on the walls of Mogote del Valle. The closest routes are about one kilometer from town, and the golden walls and caverns of Mogote del Valle can easily be seen from the town of Viñales.

El Palenque lies four kilometers north of town and is easy to reach on foot, cab or bike. El Palenque was the hub of the first routes put up in Cuba. It may be the cushiest, most indulgent advance base camp in climbing. El Palenque is a bar by day and disco at night, under an immense hemisphere of limestone stalactites, pockets, and knobs, offering gymnastic bouldering on its walls and ceilings, and apre-climbing super-chilled beer or lush, frosty mojitos. You can return for the evening extravaganza and spectacularly clad mulata dancers. El Palenque provided the first American and Cuban climbers with rest and refreshments after a strenuous day of route-building, and new climbs were named for the disco songs that wafted out over the fields. Those days have passed, but El Palenque still offers uncommon diversions and high quality climbing.

La Costanera is a spectacular cathedral chamber of limestone. Its north facing walls are the best place to climb when it is hot. Usually, the north coast and ocean can be seen from the upper belays of La Costanera routes. Its 120m walls have yielded the greatest number of long routes of 4 to 5 pitches.

Getting Settled in Viñales

Twelve years ago, I wrote on Mountain Project, “The town of Viñales has remained a cozy, rural village of just a dozen streets or so. After a couple of days in town, you will feel at home and at ease finding your way around.”

That Viñales is gone, gobbled up by its popularity with tourists and an explosion of casa particulares and paladares, the Cuban versions of rooms and restaurants in private homes. Today, Viñales, along with Trinidad, are probably the most prosperous, dynamic, and entrepreneurial town in Cuba. The casa particular-paladar entrepreneurs have reshaped this small town in the middle of a national park and World Heritage Site.

Reserving rooms in casa particulares is becoming easy and routine. Most proprietors have email and cell phones. When calling a casa particular, it is best to have someone who speaks Spanish or a translated script with your information. You are calling a home, and you don’t know which family member might answer. Once in Cuba, speaking Spanish is less important.

To call Cuba, use prefix to call international, 011 from USA, country code for Cuba 53, and then number, such as those listed below. Cell phones usually start with 5.

It is advisable to have accommodations arranged for Havana in advanced. You don’t want to spend your first day looking for a room in a big city with limited transportation choices. For Viñales, a reservation in advance isn’t required, except during the end of year holidays.

Our recommendations are a mix of price levels and neighborhoods in Viñales. We recommend these casas because we trust the families to take good care of any guest.

1. Our favorite off-the-beaten-track choices are in the little village of El Palmar, only a few hundred meters west of Viñales and a 1km walk from the bus station. El Palmar is actually closer to the most popular climbs on Mogote del Valle than most of Viñales. Villa Las Vegas is a top pick in El Palmar. The prominent, nearby view is the wall of Gaujiro Ecologico. Villa Las Vegas is a completely independent house with one room, 2 beds, and space to spread out gear. Raquel Nodarse, husband Manuel García, and daughter Yomara live in the adjacent house. Casa 48796429. Cells 54508799 and 52671011. yomara.garcia@nauta.cu.

2. Across the way from Villa Las Vegas is Villa Las Palmeras of Xiomara and Tito. One room and a view from the large deck of El Mogote del Valle. Casa 48796035. cell 55450770. leidylauralopez@nauta.cu. Las Vegas and Las Palmeras are the first houses on the road entering El Palmar and closest to Viñales. Continuing up dirt road into El Palmar, the next few houses also rent good rooms.

3. Since 1998 the climbers’ base camp in Viñales has been the home of Oscar Jaime and Leyda Robaina. Its dirt-bag days when the first American and Cuban climbers shared floor space in a couple of room are long gone. It’s 3 or 4-stars now, with multiple rooms and private baths and terraces. There is a photo mural tracing the history of climbing in the valley. Adela Azcuy #43. Casa 48695516. Leyda cell, 52486770. Oscar cell 54055605. leyda.robaina@nauta.cu.

4. Next door is the spacious home of León León Hernández. León was one of first to rent rooms in Viñales, and he has hosted many climbers. Adela Azcuy No. 45-A. leonleonhdez@yahoo.es. 48796380.

5. To sample one of Viñales’ contemporary, built-to-rent casas, go to Leon’s daughter’s El Balcón de Mignelys y Juanito. Calle Rafael Trejo No, 48-A. elbalcon2005@gmail.com. casa 48696725. cell 52714699.

6. La Escalada is another modern house built-to-rent. Your hosts are one of Viñales’ best climbers, Jorge (“Tito”), and his beautiful wife Heidi. Jorge is available as a climbing guide. Camilo Cienfuegos #43. jorgepimente2011@yahoo.es / jorgeescladaencuba@nauta.cu. casa 48695476. cell 53097610.

7. María Elena Urra has a single room. It’s on Adela Azcuy and 50 feet from Calle Salvador Cisneros, as close to the heart of Viñales as you can stay. Adela Azcuy # 5-A. casa 79313. cell 52714698

8. Almost at the bottom of the hill on the north side of Adela Azcuy is Casa Tatica y el Chino. El Chino rents two rooms. Adela Azcuy Norte Final no. 61-C. casa 48695021. cells 53030649 / 52453116.

9 Up the hill from El Chino is Villa Loly El Habano. Another longtime renter. Four rooms. Loly and El Chino are among the casas closest to the crags. and popular with climbers on longer stays. Adela Azcuy Norte No. 55-A. casa 48695047. cells 53364592 / 54055608. villalolyelhabano@nauta.cu.

10 Casa Vladimir y Gladys is one of the excellent choices at the top, where Adela Azcuy meets Calle Salvador Cisneros. The family compound includes three casas. Vladimir y Gladys, Adela Azcuy No 10-A, casa 48696587. cell 53373911, gladys.sosa@nauta.cu. Casa Milagros y Yamile, No. 10, casa 48095678. cell 53311915.

11. Heading west on Calle Salvador Cisneros at the intersection with Calle Sergio Dopico (the entrance to the town from Pinar de Río) is the home of Dalia and Millo. They rent two rooms. Sergio Dopico #3A. casa 48696994. cell 53642614. has_millo@hotmail.com. tropiccollage.com

12. Villa Cristina is a top-tier casa on the western end of Calle Salvador Cisneros. Cristina Gómez and Juanito have a beautiful house with an enclosed compound of rooms, dining, living area, and parking. Cisneros No. 206. Casa 48793396. Cell 53311737.

13. Villa Gena is across the road from Villa Cristina and another excellent house on western end of town. Two rooms, private baths and terraces. Hosts are Eugenia and Sosa. Salvador Cisneros No 209. Casa 48793320. Cell 52483961. sosa80@nauta.cu

14. Down the street is Villa La Rueda of Catalina and Orestes. Catalina is a great cook. Two rooms; one is a large independent, rustic cabin. Salvador Cisneros No. 214. Casa 48695207. Cells 52446620 Roly (who speaks English). Osnan 52486662.

AirAndB, Trip Advisor, and the numerous guidebooks have more lists of recommended casas. If you can’t get a room in a someone’s recommended casa, relax. There are a profusion of excellent casa particulares in Viñales from which to choose. See an example here.

Getting There

There are flights to Cuba from the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada, and Europe. Canada has the cheapest charters, although almost always to isolated beach resorts. Usually the cheapest flights are on Cuban Airlines, the state-run carrier that occasionally still flies ancient and scary Soviet-era planes.

Cuba welcomes tourists. Travel to and within Cuba is not restricted. A valid passport, which does not expire within six months of traveling there, is required for entry. Visas are not necessary. Instead your travel agent or airline will sell you a tourist card ("tarjeta de turista"). Cuban immigration stamps the tourist card rather than your passport. The latest info on flights, currency, ATMs and credit cards, and security are spelled out in the Cuba Travel page at cubaclimbing.com.

Getting to Viñales is about the easiest transport in Cuba. There are two bus lines, and lots of private taxis waiting outside the two bus terminal in Havan. Renting a car is expensive and is not necessary. Within the town of Viñales everything can be reached on foot. All the climbing areas are within walking distance or a short cab ride.

Season and Weather

Cuba can be hot, but it is not the sweltering, muggy sweat-box of Southeast Asia. Nowhere in Cuba is far from the moderating, gentle tradewinds. December through March are perfect. October and November, the tail end of the hurricane season, and April have proved pleasant for climbing. Summer is a rainy season, but with overhanging routes and north facing walls, climbing is available all year.

What to Bring

You can climb in Viñales for a week with just a dozen quickdraws and a 60-meter rope. You'll be finished packing if you throw in a couple of T-shirts, some shorts, insect repellent and sun-screen. Not much else is necessary, as any casa particular will wash your clothes as soon as they hit the floor. Also, it’s warm enough to make rain gear pretty much dispensable. A few nights in January and February might get cool enough to warrant bringing a sweater or expedition-weight fleece.

Sport climbing in the tropics does not require much, which is a real bonus in this era of disappearing baggage weight allowance. Take advantage, and bring gear for the Cuban climbers.

Gear Donations

To sustain the local climbers, please pack extra climbing gear and leave it all behind. The Cubans need climbing equipment, as it's impossible to get it locally. The majority of visitors now follow the tradition initiated by the first visiting climbers, who left their rack, ropes, shoes and harnesses in Cuba. Try it—. You will feel very gratified. Please don't take or leave gear you would not trust to climb. No castoffs from gyms lost-and-found and old rental shoes. Can't be resoled in Cuba.

Many companies in the climbing industry, donate gear, shoes, and clothes for the Cuban climbers. CubaClimbing,com relies on traveling climbers to carry these donations to Cuba. Contact the website to volunteer.

Planning Your Trip


Perhaps the only thing Cuba lacked to make it a “must see” climber’s destination was a world class guidebook. Now, the first guidebook to Cuba has been published. Cuba Climbing (Quickdraw Publications, 2009); however, is much more than merely descriptions of routes and approaches. As one would expect following the initial decade of climbing in Cuba, the guide reflects Cuba’s history of commitment and devotion. Its authors, Aníbal Fernández and Armando Menocal, are the first Cuban climber and one of the first foreigners, albeit a Cuban-American, to “discover” Cuba’s climbing potential. This guidebook is unique, intended to be a keepsake, a souvenir of a visitor's Cuban experience. Every photo, map, and topo is full color.

The guidebook authors also maintain an up-to-date website, cubaclimbing.com, with last minute climbing news and featured routes. A highlight is a page with every article ever written about climbing in Cuba - over 30 articles in all! The young Cuban climbers in Viñales have also created a useful website, escaladaencuba.com. On Facebook, you will also find pages for cubaclimbing.com, Escalada en cuba, and Cuba Bouldering. Cuba is a major tourist destination, and there are many good travel guidebooks available including Bradt, Eyewitness, Fodors, Footprint, Insight, Lonely Planet and Rough. Our recommendation is the Cuba Moon Handbook.


The first question for Americans, Is it legal? The answer is ever-changing, and may be wrong as soon as set in print or even on a website. For the latest status for American climbers, check cubaclimbing.com

The option that is always available is to fly to Cuba from a third country. Mexico, Canada, Nassau, Jamaica. The crux of this route is to keep your mouth shut when you return to the U.S. But if outed, say NOTHING. Don't try to explain or justify. You will only make the matter worst. Politely refuse to say anything. Almost no one is caught, and if you don’'t say anything or lie, nothing more will probably happen.

Cuba says, please come, and we will not even stamp your passport. Cuban immigration doesn't care whether you are coming legally or not.

Recommended Climbs on Mogote del Valle

4s and 5s

El Asegurador Cuenta, 4+/5.8
En la Sombrita, 4+/5.8
El Repaso, 5/5.9
Ojos Carmelitas, 5+/5.10a
Torre Blanco, 5+/5.10a
Psicologia Infantil, 5+/5.10a
Mi Cusi, 5+/5.10a


Pitú, 6a/5.10b
Chipojo, 6a/5.10b
Fantasta de la Ópera, 6a/5.10b
Guao, Guano y Espina, 6a/5.10b
La Cuchillita, 6a/5.10b
Calentando Baterías, 6a/5.10b
Tarentola, 6a+/5.10c
Filo de Cuchilla, 6a+/5.10c
Más Tarde, 6b+/5.11a
Aserejé, 6a+/5.10c
La Mulatisima, 6a+/5.10c
RM, 6a+/5.10c
Puro Cubano, 6b+ /5.11a (1st pitch)
Fernando's Hideaway, 6c/5.11b
Ana Banana, 6c/5.11c
Psicosis, 6c, 3 pitches/5.11c
Huevos Verdes con Jamón, 6c+/5.11c


Summertime, 7a/5.11d
Calzo de Guagua, 7a/5.11d
Cuando los Angeles Lloran, 7a/5.11d
La Vida es Bella, 7a/5.11d
Catamarán, 7a+/5.12a
Brutus, 7a+/5.12a
Malanga Hasta la Muerta, 7b+/5.12c
Wasp Factory, 7b+/12c
Romeo y Regleta, 7b+/12c
Pichulina San, 7b+/12c
Medio Bandidos, 7b+/12c
Cuando el Mal es el Cagar, 7b+/12c
Amigos en el Tope, 7c/5.12d


Hay Papito, 8a/5.13b
Esplendidos, 8a/5.13b
The Colony, 8a+/5.13c
One-Inch Punch, 8b+/5.14a

203 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Cuba

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Ojos Carmelitas
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
El Fantasma de la Ópera
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Unknown 5
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Mucho Pumpito
Sport 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Chivato y Maricon
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Tetas de Mediterraneas
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Sport 3 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Cuando los Angeles Lloran
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Moscow Mule
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Wasp Factory
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Malanga Hasta La Muerte
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ojos Carmelitas Vinales > … > K- Ensenada de… > Punta Repaso
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Chipojo Vinales > … > B- Cueva Larga > Right Wall
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Chipojito Vinales > … > B- Cueva Larga > Right Wall
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
El Fantasma de la Ópera Vinales > Mogote del Valle > D- Guajiro Ecologico
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
RM Vinales > Mogote del Valle > N- Cueva Cabeza de Vaca
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Unknown 5 Vinales > El Palenque > Cueva de San Miguel
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Mucho Pumpito Vinales > La Costanera
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport 2 pitches
Chivato y Maricon Vinales > El Palenque > Cueva de San Miguel
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Tetas de Mediterraneas Vinales > … > B- Cueva Larga > Right Wall
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Psicosis Vinales > Mogote del Valle > D- Guajiro Ecologico
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport 3 pitches
Cuando los Angeles Lloran Vinales > Mogote del Valle > O- Paredon De Josue
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Moscow Mule Vinales > El Palenque > Cuba Libre Wall
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Wasp Factory Vinales > Mogote del Valle > N- Cueva Cabeza de Vaca
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Malanga Hasta La Muerte Vinales > Mogote del Valle > N- Cueva Cabeza de Vaca
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Espléndidos Vinales > Mogote del Valle > N- Cueva Cabeza de Vaca
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Cuba »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


Charles I.
Boulder, CO
Charles I.   Boulder, CO
Awesome page. I am planning a trip now and this has been super informative. Thank you.

Charles Aug 10, 2010
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
From the Associated Press: "The Obama administration, in a test of Castro regime's appetite for reform, is considering easing travel restrictions to Cuba, U.S. and congressional officials said Tuesday. ... Some in Congress have voiced oppositions to a further easing in the restrictions, which Obama loosened last year to allow Cuban-Americans to visit and send money to relatives on the island. The new changes would extend some of those provisions to a broader group of Americans and could expand direct flights to Cuba...." Aug 18, 2010
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
In case you might have missed it, there is a new article on Cuba in Rock & Ice. Jan 6, 2011
The article is called "Cuba Again Open to U.S. Climbers." And it shows that the U.S. government has abandoned enforcement of the travel ban to Cuba, and climbing in Cuba is now totally risk-free for American climbers. Obama's policy is non-enforcement - instead of changing the rules. Just no one has said so publicly - until now, as reported in latest article posted on cubaclimbing.com and rockandice.com.
Jan 7, 2011
Canada Mofuga
hanshan   Canada Mofuga
Two other casas which are highly recommended are Casa Campo (Calle Orlando Nodarse No.2) and Villa Las Bicarias (Salvador Cisnero #6 D). Both are incredibly welcoming, treat you like family, and serve great food. Casa Campo is a small family and Andres, the father, makes the best pina coladas ever tasted. Villa Las Bicarias is a fantasic 70 yr old couple and pure cubano. These two casas are two of the best in town. Jan 18, 2011
Jean Spencer
Squamish, CA
Jean Spencer   Squamish, CA
Does anyone know what the current situation is w climbing in Cuba? I understand some police/guards are cracking down on both foreign and local climbers? Is climbing still allowed and in which areas? Any beta would be greatly appreciated. Headed to Cuba in two days. Feb 21, 2012
Just climbed in Vinales for a week. No problems with police. Saw multiple parties of local and foreign climbers. Absolutely no problems. Except, next time will go in the winter, as in the summer it is proper hot. Jul 27, 2012
SonjaB Nelson
Pueblo, CO
SonjaB Nelson   Pueblo, CO
Anyone planning a trip to Cuba in the near future, say end of December-beginning of January? I am dying to go but need travel/climbing partners! Dec 3, 2012
does anyone know if it is still status quo with climbing in Cuba right now after its been declared illegal, climbing around guards, climbing after 2pm and climbing in certain areas to avoid guards? Ive heard mixed reviews from a few folks but mostly it seems like its ok to climb, just a little more challenging for americanos.... Dec 16, 2012
2013 to be Quiet, Happy and Prosperous Year for Climbing in Cuba. The winter climbing season has commenced with less talk about the closure imposed by the government last year. The result is that this year the Viñales Valley is quiet, but as active as ever. The closure technically remains in place. Everyone is still climbing, having a great time, and developing new routes. No one has been cited or detained, merely asked to stop climbing, usually with an apology. Even this minimal enforcement is easily avoided. For a full report, see cubaclimbing.com Dec 19, 2012
The 2014-15 climbing season in Cuba is upon us and conditions are good for a killer year. More routes, in more areas. The Cuban climbing ban and U.S. travel embargo are following the same script: existing in name only and comatose.

The so-called climbing closure has become a predictable, choreographed dance: the local officials pretend climbing is prohibited, and climbers pretend to obey. Everyone is happy. No one has ever been cited or had any type of punitive action. Those inadvertently caught climbing are asked politely to stop and move on.

The so-called U.S embargo is also no more than symbolic. Everyone is going; no one is fined or penalized, even if caught or if you fess up when confronting U.S. immigration. All your confession gets you is, “Next in line.”

As usual, CubaClimbing has gear to send to the Cuban climbers. Climbers who will be going to Cuba are asked to help take gear that has been donated by Climb X, Madrock, Marmot, Petzl, PrAna, and many individuals.

The website CubaClimbing is temporarily down for updating. If going to Cuba and want to help or need info, write to armando@cubaclimbing.com

Ignore the Climbing Season graph on this page: June through September is Cuba’s rainy season. October through May is the best time to climb.
Sep 13, 2014
Just got back from Cuba. What a fun adventure. A few things that would be useful to know before going.
1. You cannot get the Cuba Climbing guidebook in Cuba; buy it before you go. It is a great resource.
2. When we were there there was absolutely no evidence of a climbing ban. Unless things change, it's open. Don't sweat it.
3. American can now go to Cuba legally under a "general license" that does not require prior approval but travel must meet certain criteria. While a sport climbing vacation wouldn't meet these criteria, there might be some ways to do some service projects (or "people to people" or "promoting democratic ideas") and such while there that could allow you to go legally (see treasury.gov/resource-cente…). Of course many Americans still go illegally as well, and although it does seem to be more common for folks to get their passports stamped now it also seems that enforcement is slim to none.
4. Bring some gear down to leave for the Cuban climbers. Don't bring them old junk. Seems like the thing they mostly need is glue-in bolts (titanium are best, but the Petzl Collinox are probably ok as well). If you speak any spanish you'll meet folks at the crags around Vinales for sure. Cubans are a very friendly bunch.
5. Do watch out for rusted bolts. There's plenty of good bolts and climbing that you can do without worry, but there are a lot of bolts that need replacing. If I were planning to go and stay for more than a week or two, I'd definitely bring gear to retrobolt and plan some time for that. There is a thriving Cuban climbing scene and definitely talk with the locals before pulling the drill out, but my impression is that there's lots of awesome routes there and there's lots more potential, and while the temptation would be to make your mark by putting up a sweet new route, I think that getting all the routes at the easily accessible crags close to town reequipped with good glue-ins before people start pulling them and decking is really what's needed.
6. Partially due to technology and partially due to not wanting to leave an obvious trail, it's difficult to get more money once in Cuba so most folks travel there with the money you plan to spend. That's a bit challenging, but overall our experience was that Cuba felt very safe.
7. Some of the coolest steep limestone tufa climbs anywhere. Very fun. Apr 1, 2015
Carol Kotchek
Louisville, Colorado
Carol Kotchek   Louisville, Colorado
Just returned from Cuba on Feb 17th. Got over to Vinales. Unfortunately, due to being sick, I got in only one really good day of climbing. Here’s what I experienced.
1) I had not booked a casa particular to stay in. The town of Vinales was packed with Tourists. I was able to find a place to stay but I had to change my casa every night due to availability issues. I would recommend booking a casa in advance. I believe there are various web sites you can do this on plus I have info on a casa below.
2) When I got there I walked around the crags and ran into two Germans who had rented all their equipment including a rope from Raul (of Raul’s farm) for about 10 CUC (equivalent approximately $10) per day. I checked out the gear and it seems in fine shape including the rope. They told me Raul had a room packed with shoes, harnesses, ropes, helmets, and draws. Probably the by product of foreign climbers leaving their gear behind. So if you show up with absolutely no gear you can still climb.
3) I didn’t have a partner and I hardly saw anyone climbing. The crags were empty. Fortunately, I was able to communicate to Maria, the owner of the casa I was staying in, that I was there to climb. She promptly brought forth her neighbor, Luis, who was a climber. So I made plans to climb with Luis and his brother Jorge.
4) I went climbing for a day with Jorge and Luis. They were both plenty strong, competent and, of course, they know all the crags. Jorge was participating in the big Cuban climbing comp later that week which included such stars as Sasha Degulian.
5) Both Jorge and Luis are climbing guides in Vinales. They charge 20 CUC per day per person. (It’s straight up 20 CUC, no half days) So if you go alone you can climb with those guys, or if you want someone to show you around the crags for a couple of days they have all the beta. Jorge is an excellent English speaker so there’s no language barrier. Plus, Luis has a casa in the middle of town you can stay in if you book in advance.
6) Contact Jorge if you are looking for guides, Contact Luis if you’re looking for a place to stay.

Jorge: jorgeescaladaencuba@nauta.cu or Jorgepimentelmorales@gmail.com The first e-mail address it the best one to use but either one works.
If you want to stay at Casa Luis the contact info is luisenrique.pimentel@nauta.cu

If you have any questions just ding me through Mt project.

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Feb 26, 2016
Can anyone recommend international travel medical insurance that will work in Cuba but also covers rock climbing? I have been trying to find insurance, but either they aren't available for residents of New York (which I am), or the fine print excludes coverage for injuries from rock climbing, or the one plan I found that allowed rock climbing was only for people under 50 years old (which I am not). Dec 10, 2016
Christian !
West Hills, CA
Christian !   West Hills, CA
So I just got back from Cuba and climbing in Vinales. It was awesome! The limestone, the views, my surroundings, the routes, and the people. Please message me and I'll give you a run down of what to expect and who to get into contact with when aiming to climb in or around Vinales. Which I highly suggest. Also getting into the country as a US citizen wasn't hard and we had no problems. If you appreciate sending sick routes get on over to Cuba! Feb 12, 2017
Spent the month of March climbing in the Vinales Cuba. World class climbing on limestone ranging from thin to giant mind blowing stalactites.

What to bring:
60 meter rope minimum. 70 meter is best if you have it.
12-24 quick draws.
chalk, harness, and shoes.
Webbing to replace sun baked old stuff.
Buy the guide book prior to trip and bring.
Stuff to give to Cubans. (soaps, shampoo, medical stuff,.... Things are very difficult to get for Cubans)

Take note:
If you are bringing gear to donate, bring bolts and anchors! This will help with the development of more routes. We brought a pack full of gear and rope to donate, but after donating the gear that got put into an overly large pile of already donated gear we decided to donate our new rope to a farmer that generously allowed access through their land.
If you are going to stay in a Vinales casa be advised that Vinales is on the tour bus route and it is very busy, noisy, and touristy. We stayed in 3 different casa's and enjoyed all, but slept well at the ones located on the outskirts of town.
Bring anything you can't live without. This is an anti capitalistic country! Cubans have a hard enough time getting basic supplies, so the few stores that you can buy from have lots of bare shelves.

Hope this helps. Cuba is a safe, friendly, place with amazing climbing! Enjoy!
Apr 24, 2017
Cuba Cats,

Trump's changes in Cuba policy have not gone into effect yet. Like the transgender ban in the military, nothing will happen until the regulatory departments decide how to implement Trump's executive order.

Please apply for the visa through this link and pay $50 to get a "people-to-people" visa. You need your flight number, reservation number, date of travel, and select "people-to-people" from the drop-down list

PLEASE DO THIS TODAY, because the rules will change soon and when they do, the People-to-People category will be eliminated.

I attach the official rules from the US Government, which I got from here:


According to Tripadvisor reports you just check the box (People to People) and no one asks questions.

Print out the confirmation page to show that you paid, because we pick up the visa at check-in. Aug 31, 2017
I really appreciate all the information folks have provided! Does anyone know if Tom Cecil's post from August 31 is still accurate? /Have any climbers from the US traveled to Cuba more recently than Aug/Sept? I've been researching for weeks on travel restrictions and it all seems so ridiculous.
Would love as much beta on this as possible before buying a nonrefundable ticket! Nov 6, 2017
Changed as of yesterday. Think you just missed your window. Haven't read regs yet. but we've been telling folks for months to buy tickets, b/c could then come anytime later. cubaclimbing.com always has most current info. Nov 9, 2017
Has anyone been since trump changed the travel rule? I'm trying to surprise my husband with a climbing trip there in January but am reading all sorts of mixed reviews on how to get into the country now :( Dec 13, 2017
Very interested in going to Cuba. Traveling with someone newish to climbing and wondering how many 5.8, 5.9 and 5.10 climbs exist in these parts. Ready to get the guidebook if there is ample climbing at this grade. Dec 21, 2017
erik rieger
Sheridan, WY
erik rieger   Sheridan, WY
If you bring two things to Cuba: bring good mosquito repellent and titanium glue-in bolts.

There are many corroded bolts in need of replacement at all the crags. Many of these bolts are original, two decades old, and non-stainless. The issue is really prevalent at La Costanera, where only 2-3 routes currently have trustworthy equipment. For example, the final pitches of Have a Cigar look incredible but are protected by rusted and now green-colored plated steel bolts that are actually falling out of the rock. Dec 31, 2017
You do know that there is an ongoing anchor replacement project in Cuba, and that it has provided over $3,000 in gear to upgrade bolts? fundly.com/bolts-for-cuba-c…
There is a way to help. Dec 31, 2017
Hey All, I am leaving for Cuba this Friday to meet my dad. I am not worried about getting into cuba. It is not a climbing focused trip but would like to climb one or two days while we visit vinales. Anyway, what would be the best way to get a few climbs in? I know not taking a rope and wanting to climb might be rude. Although i am taking some shoes, harness and chalk bag that are in good condition to leave there. What would you suggest? Could i pay anyone for an afternoon of climbing? Jan 23, 2018
jonkorta, go to cubaclimbing.com. all your Qs answered there Jan 23, 2018
Be prepared for some sharp rock. Sharpest I've climbed on personally - a large factor being it sees less traffic then other US destinations I imagine.

Please make sure to check for ticks. I found a few when I got home. I highly suspect our last night in Havana, but you never know. Feb 3, 2018
enkoopa, Limestone can be sharp, especially the vertical or only slightly overhanging stone. Water flowing down face, slowly builds up edges of holds but they feel like honed edges. Overhanging routes, ironically, tend to have bigger, deeper, smoother edges. I would not call them rounded, but definitely not razor sharp like some moderates. I used to end a day of climbing with bloody shins and knees. No hiding whether I’d been on a moderate or desperate. Cuba is the perfect crag to climb a couple of grades harder than you’re comfort level Feb 6, 2018
Gregory Farlow
Boulder, CO
Gregory Farlow   Boulder, CO
I just got back from Vinales, beautiful climbing and not too hot in late Jan. Lots of huge overhung tufas and well bolted (bring at least 15 quickdraws). Mgote del Valle 20 min NW up the road from the downtown square (great late night music). Cueva Cabeza de Vaca is a must and is an easy climb up kush concrete stairs, plus you are essentially forced to go through a bar at the base. I could stay for months.

I also met a legit local climbing guide named Raul Casas Junco. He has great english if Spanish isn't your thing as is all about supporting the Cuban climbing community and any gear you donate to him will be shared between stoked Cuban climbers. His phone number is (+53) 53989779, email raulcasas@nauta.cu, or insta @rauliextrem.

Let me know if you need any help or have any questions via social media (Gregory Farlow) or email (gsfarlow@gmail.com). Feb 6, 2018
Greg, Good info. Raúl is an experienced guides and trustworthy. No problem leaving gear with Raúl. There is an established network for assuring that gear gets to climbers that need it. The system has been in place for almost 20 years, and moves gear from donors in US to Cuba, and within Cuba to areas visiting climbers rarely reach. Our biggest problem is well-meaning visitors who give gear to someone they meet or, worse, leave it at the house they are staying. That gear is usually sold - and not to climbers. It’s why in Viñales you see motorcyclists with climbing helmets and horses and ox tied with climbing ropes. I suggest you contact CubaClimbing.com to assure that your gear gets to climbers. Feb 8, 2018
Alexander Stathis
Athens, GA
Alexander Stathis   Athens, GA
Just got back from 10 days in Vinales. An amazing place, and surprisingly easy destination, even for Americans. A few things, in no particular order:

1) Speaking spanish is not essential, but helps a lot. A little goes a long way.
2) Bring mosquito repellent. Seriously. Especially if you're going in the summer.
3) Stay the first night in Havana and have your casa host arrange you a taxi collectivo. It'll cost 20 CUC/person. We were going to take the bus, but with taxi rides to the bus station and back, purchasing tickets a day in advance, etc, it was easier and not any more expensive to take the collectivo. Same thing on the way back. They leave twice a day to my knowledge (morning and early afternoon).
4) Stay in Vinales proper somewhere. There has to be at least 1000 nice casas with all the amenities and the walk is not far to the Mogote. Close to Adela Azcuy is nice because you'll have a straight easy walk to the climbing.
5) Johanes at Raul Reyes' farm makes the best mojito in Vinales (at least of the ones I tried).
6) Yarobys Garcia lives in a house on the left side of the road only a short distance before the entrance to Raul Reyes' farm. You'll see a fence with a small gate held closed with some 7mm cord or other climbing gear. He speaks English and is psyched to guide or give beta. Definitely stop by and say hello at the least, he's a super nice guy. All the local climbers stop by for coffee or a chat before heading to the Cueva. He's also the FA of at least half to the climbs you'll try in Vinales. Say hello to his big friendly dog named Sharp for me.
7) Don't mess around with Santanillas. They're the worst. Don't lean on any trees or fences or set your pack down against them. Trust me.
8) We went in June and were the only foreign climbers there (with the exception of two European girls being guided by Yarobys one day). Most days we never saw another person at the walls climbing. I'd recommend going in the winter, as the heat, bugs, humidity, and jungle were brutal. If you do go in the summer, wait until about 4:00pm to walk to the crag and start climbing around 5:00pm. Jun 19, 2018
Some random thoughts with very little climbing beta, after spending 6 days in Vinales and 18 in Cuba in general.

1.Consider bringing some sort of way to make water potable. The tap water is not a good option for travellers, so that leaves you with bottled water. After spending so long in Cuba and drinking 2-3 1.5L bottles a day I felt super bad about the amount of waste I was generating. If the waste aspect doesn't matter to you, also know that itll cost between 0.60 cuc and 2cuc for bottled water and it can take some effort to find for less than 2cuc some times. Some American climbers were using life straws and a SteriPen and they were doing great.

2. Another preachy waste thing, " no paja por favor" is a good phrase if you want to not receive a plastic straw with every drink you receive.

3. There's a really good restaurant on the way to Cueva Larga called La familia. The food and service there are amazing (not just by Cuba standards). 3cuc will get you a huge plate of rice and beans as well as a 1/4 chicken or ropa vieja (amazing shredded beef in sauce). We found navigating Cuban food challenging as both the prices and quality were very hit or miss.

3. The owner of La familia has a son getting into climbing. He apparently needs climbing gear. We had already donated our gear to Raul and I wish I'd been able to give it to him directly. Although from what I've heard Raul is a solid person to donate to because he will get it to someone who needs it. If you're bringing stuff to donate, consider donating it to the La Familia son!

4. Palenque cave on Saturday night was bonkers. Do it.

5. The anchors in lots of places have hangers that are offset, without chains, and have quick links instead of mallions. We were trying to pack really light so that we'd be left with minimal gear to travel around with after donating our climbing gear. I didnt bring an atc to rap down the routes, and we had to lower off all of them. With the anchors set up the way they were it was hard on the ropes and twisted them quite a bit. I guess this is a long form way of saying you should rap off the routes if you can. Especially since hardware is hard for them to come by.

6. The one thing I'd always heard is that it's good to bring soap, diapers etc etc to give to cubans. I'm not trying to say you shouldnt do this, but one thing I will say is it can be weird to actually do the donating part. We heard from other travellers who found it awkward to give stuff away because you basically are saying "hi I think youre poor so here's some soap." maybe this doesn't concern you but if you do want to donate something else climbing gear is a good option. We left our harnesses, a friend's 70m rope, and shoes. If you don't want to leave your own stuff, they also really need hardware I.e Bolts, hangers, glue, proper anchors etc. The people at Cubaclimbing.Com were very responsive and can tell you more about what they need and where to bring it. Dec 24, 2018
We spent the last two weeks of February (2019) in Vinales. Count me as one of those visitors that have become passionate about Cuba. I think the description needlessly hypes the risk to Norte Americanos visiting Cuba (sorry Armando), even under the Man with Little Hands and Orange Hair; it was easy – check the right box when you make your flight reservation on-line (for Jet Blue), buy your visa from the airline at the departure airport (we flew out of Fort Lauderdale; Jet Blue charged $50—I put it on a U.S. cc), and that’s the end of it. We didn’t even talk to a live person on re-entering the U.S. at JFK; we were just waved through – and Cuba immigration had stamped our passports. Vinales seemed well accustomed to climbers (and foreign tourists) and no one even suggested that climbing was frowned upon. Based on our experience, any concern Americans have at visiting Cuba is unwarranted.

IMO, the rock and climbing are better in Cuba than El Portrero. El Portrero is cooler and less humid than Vinales in the winter, but I think the limestone in Cuba is better (less sharp grey stuff and more caves, tufas, and the like) and the scene is much more comfortable. So, if you’re looking for a January limestone destination in this hemisphere, and it comes down to Portrero and Cuba, I’d pick Cuba just for the rock. Add in the Cuban people and unique amenities (e.g., habanos), and it is not even close.

The biggest (and maybe only real) hassle we had was dealing with taxis. In short, if you don’t speak Spanish and make an effort to figure out what going prices are before you arrange for one, you’ll likely pay more than those that hablan espanol and are in the know. To provide some yard-stick, we paid 25 and 30 CUC between the airport and Old Havana, 120 CUC from Old Havana to Vinales and 85 CUC from Vinales to Old Havana, 12-15 CUC round-trip between Vinales to El Palenque, and 30 CUC was quoted to us for the round-trip between Vinales and La Costanera (which, sadly, we didn’t get to, but I will next time!). Although all these trips were by private yellow taxi, my sense is that we generally paid too much – but you can’t blame these folks given our respective economic situations.

When you first get to Vinales, I’d recommend heading to the plaza (easy to find) just after dusk the first few evenings. You very likely will run into Cuban or foreign climbers who can give you (in English) the most up-to-date beta on everything Cuba. Another place you would be highly likely to get good beta is La Cueva Cabeza de la Vaca; seems at least a small gathering occurs there every afternoon after the cave goes into shade. Folks are very friendly.

PM me if you want more info and/or some recommendations for casas particulares, but do it before my senility wipes the disk clean. Mar 17, 2019
John, Glad to plead guilty to over-stating risk. The risk is in fact trivial. But if I have committed a misdemeanor, the U.S. press is guilty of a major felony. First the media missed that Trump added a wide open new category and didn't reinstitute any application process. But I've not seen in a single article the biggest change Obama made and Trump has left in place: no enforcement. it's on the webpage, but maybe I should make a bigger deal of it. Site says:
"Obama changed most categories to general licenses, which greatly eased all restrictions. That plus never asking anyone for justification pretty much opened travel to Cuba. Switching everything to general license with zero enforcement makes the categories and rules inconsequential. You can say you’re a journalist or that you went to visit your mother who is Cuban.
"So much for the media humbug about removing the individual people-to-people category. The real stories isn’t the rules but that almost a year into the Trump administration, the policy of non-enforcement of the general licenses continue."
Now it's 2 years of non-enforcement. Don't think it will change.
Good info, John, thanks. Mar 18, 2019