These strangely shaped mounds are the result of a slow erosion process after the collapse of several underground caves carved out by water. Made of limestone, the mogotes are a geographical phenomenon and form a major part of one of most verdant landscapes in Cuba
due to the lush vegetation which covers these hills, which are between 460 and 1,312 feet tall. While in Cuba
, the mogotes are unique to the Vinales valley, they can also be found across some areas of China
. In the past, certain mogotes, which sometimes shelter caves carved out by underground erosion, have served as refuges to threatened populations. Several of these caves are now open to the public but do not hold any particular interest for explorers (the cave of the Indian is particularly disappointing: despite the expensive admission cost, the visit only lasts for about five minutes, making it nothing more than a trap for the unsuspecting tourist). On the other hand, caving enthusiasts will not want to miss the Cueva de Santo Tomas
, which boasts the largest cave network in the region with some 28 miles of galleries across its seven levels.