The Viñales Valley is a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site and home to some of the most pristine tobacco fields in Cuba. The village of Viñales consists of two main roads where most of the buildings are one-story wooden colonial houses. This region of Cuba is one of the last places in the world where traditional methods of tobacco growing have survived. Agriculture and tourism- related jobs are the main forms of income for Cubans in Viñales.
The area’s natural beauty has attracted many tourists in the last decade. But many locals feel that a tourism explosion is on the horizon as relations between the United States and Cuba improve. In the eyes of some Viñales residents, this may be detrimental to the well-preserved landscape and traditional forms of agriculture. UNESCO also worries that with increased tourism, greater precautions will have to be taken in order to conserve the integrity of the area.
Photojournalist Adam Glanzman looks at the real Cuban “Cowboys” of Viñales as they are now. It is not hard to find a tobacco, coffee or pineapple farmer by simply walking through the village. Farmers and ranchers are more than happy to take you around their “fincas,” many expecting nothing in return. In five years it will likely be a very different scene: It is not hard to predict that tourism will overtake agriculture as the main source of income for many Cubans living here. The real Cuban cowboy of Viñales may disappear.