Our guide at El Paraiso, an organic finca, spoke excellent English, gave us an educational tour around the gardens and kept us highly amused.
That very trendy makeup comes from a shrub known as Achiote (Bixa orellana). As you can imagine, it also goes under the name of lipstick tree. It gives us annatto, a natural orange-red condiment (also called “achiote” and “bijol”) which comes from the coating on its seeds. In addition, the ground seeds are widely used in traditional dishes such as cochinita pibil and caldo de olla.
This farm should be a mandatory stopping point when you are in the Viñales area. There is a pleasant viewing hut out in the grounds that is the perfect point to enjoy golden hour, and the main building houses a charming restaurant that features great food in immense quantities. Be sure to try their anti-stress drink – better than a pina colada, with loads of herbs and the rum is optional (though not allowed when I was there, due to the strict enforcement of the mourning period for Castro)
Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso, Carretera Al Cementerio KM 1 1/2, Viñales
Hex colour reference: #FF7538
A colourful note: orange, an original 1903 Crayola crayon, is named after the fruit, and represents amusement, energy, activity, danger, joy, fire and warmth.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 13 January 2017
Part of Color Your World