Havana is a breathtaking, dizzying, confounding and endlessly fascinating city—rightly the first stop on almost any Cuban traveler's itinerary. But while it's easy to lose a week or more in the plazas of Habana Vieja, or along the seaside avenue Malecón, the Caribbean nation rewards exploration. For adventurous travelers and food lovers alike, it's well worth renting a car and taking a road trip to some of the less visited destinations outside the city.
Several hours west of Havana lies Viñales, a center of tobacco farming, whose dramatic karst peaks recall Southeast Asia in their grandeur. Follow a winding road uphill from the town's charming pastel houses to Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso—one of the most impressive off-the-grid restaurants in the country. (The name translates approximately to "Paradise Ecological-Agriculture Farm Estate," although let's go with "Paradise Farm.”)
Part organic farm, part privately owned family restaurant, El Paraiso hosts diners on a blue wraparound porch that looks straight into the valley and mountains beyond, in a verdant panorama that would be, in itself, worth the trip west. Closer in, hummingbirds and butterflies flit between fragrant flowers for a scene that's almost comical in just how paradisiacal it is.