The second gallery is now uploaded to the site and it covers my trip to Cuba that I did in October 2006, just after university and before I started my first job.
We stayed two weeks in Cuba where we rented a car to cruise around the island. Here is a short story of our trip:
We landed in Varadero, and we didn’t stay more than half an hour in that town! It really should be avoided at all costs, it is full of horrible huge tourist hotels that totally ruin the beautiful place that Varadero must once have been. Unless you enjoy sunbathing on ugly beaches being surrounded by hundreds of other tourists, just avoid this place!
So instead we went straight to Santa Clara, which is an important town in Cuban history as it hosted the last battle of the cuban revolution in 1958. We had a look at Che Guevara’s monument there.
We really wanted to relax on a nice beach as well so we continued east until Cayo Coco, an island linked to the mainland by a 27 kilometers long road! The beaches there were very nice, even though we didn’t fell in love with the island which had a bit of a fake deserted holiday resort feel.
From there we headed back west towards Trinidad. On the way we stopped at the Manaca Iznaga, an old monument in la Valle de los Ingenios. There is an old tower which was used to watch the slaves in the fields. The view from the tower on the valley is really worth it.
We then finally arrived in Trinidad, which is a charming town where the colonial architecture is remarkably preserved. Trinidad was certainly one of the highlights of our trip. It is sometimes being referred to as a real life museum and we agreed with that. Not only the monuments and the architecture are typical, but the whole atmosphere just has a pleasant cuban feel.
We continued driving west stopping on the way to admire the Turkey Vultures or to go for a swim in the famous bay of pigs where the US unsuccessfully tried to invade Cuba in 1961.
The next stop for us was Viñales, where we stayed just next to a tobacco field in a lovely Casa particulares. The town and its surrounding valley have recently been listed as a world heritage cite by UNESCO. We were also lucky to find the world famous Alejandro Robaina tobacco plantations and had a visit of the fields and infrastructure. We even had the pleasure to meet Don Alejandro himself.
We reached the western part of Cuba and decided to rest a little in Maria La Gorda, a gorgeous place with white sand beaches and palm trees. It’s ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving as well.
Finally we concluded our trip by a few days in La Havana. A fascinating city with majestic colonial buildings that are sadly falling apart. It’s still a great experience and it feels as an experience back in time.
Some general tips and information:
- Life is expensive, don’t expect to have a cheap holiday. Tourists have to use a special currency (the CUC, peso convertible) that makes everything much more expensive for them.
- For hostels, I’d recommend Casa Particulares. These are places where the locals arrange some rooms in their houses to serve as a hostel. It’s nice because you really have the chance to meet the locals who are always really friendly.