Carretera central: Napa Valley

I drove 2,761 miles from Miami to Los Angeles – to date my crowning achievement as an avid road tripper. Although I love any sort of mode of travel – planes, trains, ships, ferries, guaguas, bici-taxis – there’s nothing like getting behind the wheel and capitaneando your own vacation. Lucky for me, L.A. is a pretty great starting point for many more unforgettable road trips. In today’s blog, we head north to Napa.

You know you’re in Napa Valley when all that comes out of your mouth is, Ay pero que cute and que cosa más linda. Everything here is excruciatingly charming and completely adorable. From the tiny donuts at the Boon Fly Cafe to the super nice Bostonian transplant from the Napa Valley Visitor’s Center to the thought-provoking (and for some touch-provoking) art at the di Rosa gallery this place is a perfectly manicured piece of paradise. The draw, of course, is the wine with endless vineyards, lush rolling hills and tours, trolleys and trains that let you sample to your heart’s content.

I was in Napa to attend BottleRock, which other than being a major music festival, brings all of the major wineries together to one location. So, I had plenty of vinitos without having to drive the Carneros Highway. I did do a few of the traditional Napa things like shop at the Oxbow Public Market and have breakfast at the General Store and walk into a frozen yogurt shop have un cafesito cubano. Say WHAT?

Jungle Yogurt

Thirty minutes outside of central Napa is the town of Vacaville. En serio, vaca-ville. And a few blocks from its charming downtown, is Jungle Yogurt at the corner of the strip mall. You can’t miss it because it has three orange flags that say CUBAN, BREAKFAST and LUNCH.Dale.

This is the best example of Cuban ingenuity I’ve seen on the West Coast so far. ¿Quién se va a meter un yogur a las 8 de la mañana? Nadie. ¿Quién se va a meter un café con leche y pan con huevo? Everybody.

I met Geisy, una Guantanamera, one-half of the husband-and-wife team that run this establishment, and in very typical Cuban fashion, we spent the next hour talking (very loudly) about Cuba, Vacaville, Los Angeles, Miami and coffee.


If you go: The drive from L.A. to Napa is approximately a little more than 6 hours. There are three routes you can take: The scenic route (Pacific Coast Highway 1); The quickest route (I-5) and The half-and-half route (I-5 to Highway 99).

Pro tip: With so much to do and see, this destination is definitely worth a three-night stay. Save a little money on accommodations by staying in the outskirts of Napa Valley, like Vacaville or Healdsburg.

Cuba Cafe at Jungle Yogurt: They bake their own bread and it’s (dare I say it?) better than Porto’s. They only serve Cuban breakfast and lunch between 7am and 2pm. Despues de eso, es puro yogur. Jungle Yogurt is at 126 S. Orchard Ave.


Carretera central is a series of suggested road trips from Los Angeles.  

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