This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Cuba (EN)

vimeo chapterA click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Cuba. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.


01:01 • Cueva de las Portales

02:30 • Che Gevara's hideout during the missile crisis

03:24 • tobacco and cigars

05:40 • a walk in Vinales

07:08 • Santeria: statuettes at the foot of the trees

08:06 • Hutia, endemic mammal of Cuba


Pinar del Rio, before the arrival of the conquistadors

The first inhabitants of the region were the Guanahatabey Indians, a peaceful nomadic people and troglodyte which lived mainly on the resources of the sea. The Guanahatabey had disappeared before the arrival of conquistadors, which ironically sheltered them from many inconveniences. ..

The conquistadors didn't really care about this region ... they were warriors, not farmers. All the more so since they could not enslave the local populations since they had disappeared.

The first settlers to take an interest in the region came from the Canaries, towards the end of the 15th century. They developed tobacco cultivation and developed large ranches for raising cattle.

And when the demand for tobacco grew in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, means of communication such as the railroad developed in the region. The city was then nicknamed "the Mecca of tobacco".

Che Guevara cave

The Pinar del Rio region has lush nature and deep caves. It is one of those caves that Che Guevara chose to establish his headquarters, and also to hide, during the missile crisis.

the countryside

A walk in the countryside in the region of Pinar del Rio, in Vinales for example, allows you to see how the local farmers live and especially to visit tobacco plantations between the mogotes (small rounded mountains, typical in this region).


African slaves, forcibly Christianized, kept their customs by venerating their ancestors, but through Christian statues. Thus they could easily make the slavers believe that they had embraced their religion ... It is not rare to find statuettes of saints at the foot of trees, proof that the santeria is not dead.

about the place, Pinar del Rio:

Pinar del Rio which was originally called, in 1867, Nueva Filipinas due to the large number of Filipino workers who worked in the tobacco plantations. Pinar del Rio is a vast agricultural region in western Cuba.

Pinar del Rio owes its name to the presence of pine forests along the Rio Guama.


Spoken comments in the film: 

The province of Pinar del Rio in Cuba is an agricultural region in the west of the island. The region is called the Tobacco Mecca. It offers magnificent landscapes, alternating green valleys and limestone hills covered with dense vegetation.


This is the entrance to the cave that housed Ernesto Che Guevara during the missile crisis in 1962. But it is above all a set of remarkable caves that housed the Guanahatabay Indians long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.


The region of Pinar del Rio is famous for its tobacco plantations, one of the most famous products of the island of Cuba.


Under the domination of very Catholic Spain, the cane fields have multiplied in Cuba. And with them, the number of slaves imported from Africa to work in these fields. In addition to stealing their freedom and moving them to uncharted territory, the Spanish masters attempted to steal their religion from slaves mostly of Yoruba origin. The slaves therefore reinvented their beliefs by associating the Catholic saints venerated in the churches with their pantheon of deities. Thus they worshiped their own gods while making the masters believe that they had converted to Catholicism. This practice (one could say this religion) is called "santeria" in Cuba. 

Statuettes of Catholic saints, inhabited by Yoruba deities, are often seen at the foot of trees in the Cuban countryside.

What's the weather like in Pinar del Rio?



 - YouTube video library - Constancy Part 1 - The Descent, (© Constancy Part 1 - The Descent by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 - YouTube video library - Constancy Part 2 - The Descent, (© Constancy Part 2 - The Descent by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 - YouTube video library - Constancy Part 3 - The Descent, (© Constancy Part 3 - The Descent by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 -  - Sunshine Samba


• Disclaimer: As traditional music is often subject to copyright (claimed by major music distribution groups), the musical illustration of this film "Pinar del Rio. Vinales and surroundings • Cuba (EN)" does not use typical music of Cuba but is borrowed from a collection of royalty-free music. Despite the painstaking care given to the musical choices in this film, some people may regret this choice, but it is the price to pay for not incurring unnecessary lawsuits. This decision was difficult to take, but it's the only viable solution, unfortunately. •

Pinar del Rio • Cuba
Cueva de los Portales (Che Guevara cave), Pinar del Rio • Cuba
Cueva de los Portales (Che Guevara cave)
objects of the santeria in the countryside , Pinar del Rio • Cuba
objects of the santeria in the countryside
an ox cart in Vinales, Pinar del Rio • Cuba
an ox cart in Vinales
Mural de la Prehistoria, Vinales, Pinar del Rio • Cuba
Mural de la Prehistoria, Vinales

Pinar del Rio