Blogs from Cuba, Central America Caribbean - page 5

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Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Cayo Guillermo November 28th 2013

We have just returned from 2 weeks at an all-inclusive resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba, a great way to escape the miserable November weather at Sauble Beach. After the hardships of the last crossing to Cuba in Gust O'Wind last March, this was a piece of cake! A 3 hour champagne flight from Toronto took us from -5c weather to the 30+ temperatures we would enjoy for the next 2 weeks. The weather was great, the resort very comfortable, well maintained and low rise and the staff were attentive and friendly (since they make more in tips in a couple of days than a doctor makes in a month, they should be happy!) I tried to show our location on a map but found that you may need to zoom out to see where the resort ... read more
Our beach
Day trippers
Near Moron

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste November 17th 2013

24.4. - 28.4.2013 Vacations were coming up and we could hardly wait for us to board that plane again! This time we had a little less than 3 weeks and we chose the well hailed Republic of Cuba. The fact that we are coming form an ex-socialistic(ish) country but never really lived in that period, we were very anxious to see the so-called real thing. Cuba is the largest Caribbean island, however way too small for the biggest nation in the world to be making such a fuss about it. I got the Lonely Planet over 2 months before our departure so I had plenty of time to figure out our routeJ Mostly we decided to really throw ourselves into Cuban stile and take it easy, so we were set to explore only half of the ... read more
Havana
Vinales
Venice Airport

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana November 13th 2013

The final stop on the Latin American leg of my travels was Cuba, and to help me finish this chapter and start the next my sister was able to fly out and meet me for a 2 and a half week holiday! How fantastic! A personal recommendation had allowed me to book a “Casa Particular” in advance. This huge network of Cuban families who rent out extra rooms in their houses is certainly the cheapest and most atmospheric way to travel through the country, and looking back on the trip I can certainly say that the casas were fantastic – each one being of a very high standard and always having their own quirks – both positive and negative!! Our introduction to Cuba was the capital Havana, resplendent in a kind of faded glory, where some ... read more
Havana Bay looking out towards the lighthouse on the headland
Che Guevara - his image is on the side of the Ministry of the Interior
A Coco Taxi

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales September 6th 2013

With only 10 days in Cuba, we could only choose one other place to visit outside of Havana. A mate from back home mentioned Vinales, and it was a good recommendation. It is a small sleepy little town in the Pinar del Rio province, about 3 hours west of Havana, and its rich red soil makes it the perfect place to grow tobacco in the shade of the karstic Cordillera de Guaniguanic range. Adriana had arranged accommodation for us in a Casa Particular there, and boy were we glad that she did. As the bus pulled into town, 10's of frantic women surrounded the bus shouting and furiously waving flyers for their Casa's in our faces. At the back of the crowd was a tiny women with a cheeky grin with my name written on it. ... read more
View over Vinales farming area
Celestino, Mojo and Estrella
View over Vinales farming area

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana September 2nd 2013

Walking around the streets of Old Havana, it feels like the city has not changed in a long time. The majority of the wonderfully architectured buildings have not seen a coat of paint, let alone any maintenance in decades, whilst the potholed streets have piles of rubble and debris that has fallen from above, and the sound of salsa bands and old men playing domino's echoes from within the hollow buildings. If the street is large enough, then an American Yank Tank from the 50's will roar past full of big Cuban men with their arms firmly planted on the open windows, trying to let in any cool air from the oppressive heat. If it is a small street then expect to see a motorbike with sidecar splutter past, or a bicycle tuk tuk painted in ... read more
Street Art - Havana Centro
Lane way in Old Havana
View over Havana

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Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Cienfuegos August 31st 2013

HAVANA PANORAMAS ABOVE: 1. WAITING FOR A BUS 2. TAXIS LINE-UP WOW! I just noticed a three-prong plug in the wall outlet and thought, "Hey, that's great because I forgot my adaptor for plugs without a ground. WHAT A SHOCK! Literally. I've never experienced a 110 volt shock off of a computer before. My hand is still tingling. Electrical standards/quality are somewhat lacking in Cuba. But this begins on leaving the University of Toronto summer residence and heading for Cuba. The last day for summer occupancy meant everyone is trying to get rid of the extra weight to pack for home. Ostensibly myself included. But my pack rat mentallity couldn't resist a bottle of rye. A bottle of rye! Imagine, someone throwing out a bottle of rye! I would leave a pair of shoes behind to ... read more
Hotel Santa Clara Libre
Casa Particular in Santa Clara
Tipical Street

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Trinidad August 5th 2013

After a night in Cienfuegos, I arrived in Trinidad (an hour and a half away -- take a taxi or Transtur, not Viazul, to make it even shorter) hoping expecting to find a town that warrants its effusive descriptions in travel books. While I had heard some negative things from other travelers about how touristy the town is, I'd also heard that it's a can't-miss colonial town frozen in time. Sadly, in the end, I have to go with the former of the opinions: I was disappointed. THE TOWN I immediately found the perfectly polished city center to be disingenuous. Everything is perfectly manicured and restored, even more than inplaces like Granada, Nicaragua and Antigua, Guatemala. What bothered me the most about the main square is that unlike in Granada and Antigua, there are really no ... read more
Caburni Falls
Topes de Collantes
Pine forest

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Cienfuegos August 4th 2013

One taxi driver I met said that Cienfuegos is, in his opinion, the most livable city in Cuba. That I believe, as it connects easily to other areas of the country, is close to mountains, beaches, and La Habana, and is quite clean and wealthy. However, unless you have a lot of time or a specific interest there, Cienfuegos is only worth stopping for a night. There are a fair number of interesting and creative art galleries in the main square and Teatro Terry is definitely worth a visit. Still, it's its livability that makes it ordinary. The main roads are filled with department stores and while the locals use the public spaces more than in its touristy neighbor, Trinidad, there are a fair number of touters. The malecon and port are more functional than atttractive, ... read more
Propaganda
Corner in Square
Theater

Central America Caribbean » Cuba July 31st 2013

Havana-Cienfuegos-Playa Ancon-Camaguey-Santiago-Banes-Cayo Coco-Cayo Santa María-Santa Clara-Varadero-Havana Rental Cars in Cuba: Last time we went to Cuba we also rented a car (I believe with Cubacar) and didn't have a single problem. We had a new although tiny car and it worked. This time we chose the cheapest company VIA Car and did not have the same luck. On the first day we had to wait 1,5h for the car. Then after 2 days the gas started to leak. We filled at the gas station and it came out again on the bottom...although Via Cars should have two offices in Camaguey where it happened both were closed. Luckily we found a mechanic on the side of the street who drove a VIA truck and basically forced him (he told us he was busy and the town office ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales July 30th 2013

Vinales is a four-hour bus ride from Havana. Many schedules show that it is a much longer trip, but it's untrue. If you're spending six or seven hours to get there, you're torturing yourself for no reason. The highway between is in pretty good shape, and there is practically no one on it. Only when you get close to Vinales does it start to get winding. A taxi (which, if you have two people or more, is somehow the same price as a bus) can get you there even faster. There is a plethora of casas particulares in Vinales. It's a small town, so everywhere is within walking distance. There are a few tourist agencies in town, but the owners of the casas really push to organize hikes, horseback riding, taxis to the beach, and other ... read more
Cayo Jutias
Cayo Jutias 2
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