Finca Vista Hermosa – a wholly organic, rural experience a stone's throw from Havana's bustling city centre
October 30, 2020
Going for a rural experience during your Cuba holiday; doesn't need to imply taking long journeys outside Havana to immerse in a remote countryside setting. Finca Vista Hermosa is a beautiful farm in the Cuban capital. Found a few kilometres east of the city's main cultural and historical attractions. And offering authentic green experiences that are also 100% organic; from free-roaming animals to ethically-grown crops and eco-friendly meals served in the open-air. Finca Vista Hermosa offers an idyllic natural oasis just minutes from the bustling city centre.
East of Havana you'll find an organic farm whose reputation is beginning to attract more and more; weary travelers in search of countryside charm. Due to sustainable cattle-rearing and crop-harvesting practices together with delicious, freshly prepared, locally-grown food cooked and served by warm, candid "guajiros" (the term for Cuban countrymen) . This green oasis we've just described is called Finca Vista Hermosa and it's actually less than a 40-minute drive from Old Havana's historic city centre. How to get there, what to look forward to and what kind of traveller do we recommend it for? We're here to spill the beans on this increasingly popular rural haven and answer these and many more questions.
The beautiful views
As its name indicates ("vista hermosa" translates as "beautiful view"). One of the things that make this Havana farm stand out from others; (beyond growing organic food and offering the opportunity for you to sample it) are the amazing views all around. Which you can appreciate all the better by taking a guided tour, either on foot or on horseback. But if you book the whole experience as part of a guided excursion, you'll get to do both.
From farm to table
A concept that's rarely applied elsewhere in Havana, the farm-to-table approach is not just a gimmick seeking to lure tourists; at Finca Vista Hermosa it's a way of life. What they produce here, both, crops and cattle raised for meat and dairy; is exclusively served at the farm's onsite restaurant and at one other lucky venue: the Mediterraneo-Havana restaurant in Vedado. The only one in the Cuban capital to serve farm-to-table food that's utterly delicious; and wholesome (and locally-sourced only 10 miles away!).
100% organic and eco-friendly
Finca Vista Hermosa's approach to farming is all about sustainability. Both for the end consumers; but most importantly, for the benefit of the environment and the health and wellbeing of animals. No chemicals or artificial fertilisers are ever used here. Not on the fields and the crops and certainly not on the animals raised for meat and dairy. Everything you see and taste here is organic to the core.
The animals at Finca Vista Hermosa are one of the happiest and best-fed in Cuba. From peacocks to chicken, pigs and cows, they all graze and feed on naturally nutrient-rich soil. King grass and mulberry bushes abounds and the pigs love munching on "palmiche". Every day you can witness their feeding routine as they search for their favourite fruit under the tall palm trees. A Finca Vista Hermosa, animals have a lot of space to roam around, and as the biggest producer of goat's milk in the province, there's no shortage of goats to spot here!
So, what's on the menu?
You'll not only be shown the farm's stock of cheeses and cold meats, during your meal at Vista Hermosa you'll also get to taste a selection of these homemade cheeses and salami produced at the farm, accompanied by homemade bread. For mains you'll have roasted pork, rice and black beans with a side of fresh vegetables grown here and followed by a traditional homecooked desert.
Ready for Finca Vista Hermosa?
Finca Vista Hermosa is in Bacuranao, part of the Guanabacoa municipality East of Havana. Getting there is easy and straightforward, typically taking around half an hour. You can make the journey there by hiring a private classic car or hailing a government taxi. You can also cycle your way to Finca Vista Hermosa (there are a handful of places where you can rent bicycles in Havana) or rent a car or motorbike and drive there yourself.
Bear in mind, however, that as this place is off the beaten path and way off the tourist radar, it'll be easier to get a knowledgeable local to drive you there (either a taxi, private or state-owned), or, even better, book a full day excursion that includes transport there and back, a walking tour, a fruity welcome, an exhibition of the variety of cheeses and cold meats produced there, a scenic horse-riding journey along the lush plains surrounding the farm and a full organic lunch or dinner at the onsite restaurant – Rancho Vista Hermosa.
A green oasis just minutes from Havana's landmarks
Beyond tucking into a delicious sustainable and organic meal, Finca Vista Hermosa offers other leisure pursuits so that you can get to know not just the farm itself, but the surrounding area and the slow way of life in Havana's rural outskirts. This is slow living at its purest and most refreshing, with horse riding tours that take you to a panoramic lookout point with amazing views over land and sea. The experience is wholesome and authentic in more ways than one.
Ideal for U.S. travellers
Now that Trump has reinforced restrictions on travel to Cuba for American citizens, adding a visit to Finca Vista Hermosa to a Cuba trip itinerary helps U.S. travellers comply with the people-to-people aspect required for travelling to the island. A visit here enables you to tick the "Support for the Cuban people" category of allowed Cuba travel as it involves meaningful interactions with Cubans (the kind farmers that will guide you through their lands) and financial transactions that directly benefit ordinary Cuban people and entrepreneurs (as opposed to government institutions).