Blogs from Cuba, Central America Caribbean - page 60

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Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana April 6th 2007

Our room at the Inglaterra is lovely - light and airy with stained glass windows, a fridge/mini-bar and the wonderfully sunny balcony. Our first evening, after our walk through real Habana, complete with children playing baseball in the streets and people sitting around outside their houses, we went to the bar outside the hotel to and I tried a real Cuban mojito - amazing. and alcohol here is cheaper than anything. We then went into the restaurant (very early, at 7pm, because we were tired from the flight)! The prices were so reasonable. I had a cheese and onion tortilla and frijoles negros (black beans). It was really yummy. We forced ourselves to stay up till after 9 to adjust to the time change, then we fell fast asleep. Breakfast the next morning was amazing! I ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana April 6th 2007

Unlike many of the world's capital cities, the tourist centre of Havana is also home to a large proportion of the city's residents, with some of the poorest crammed into apartment buildings right next door to museums, hotels, restaurants & bars. It's hard to see how everyone is equal under communism when the standard of living varies wildly. Havana is incredibly charming, even though it is literally crumbling around you. Staircases wobble precariously and a la Kingston, there are holes in every pavement. Having said that, it was totally safe to walk around, even at night, and there were around 2 policemen to every street. The one thing you notice is that there are no ads, at all. It's hard even to pick out shops and banks because everything looks the same. The city is caught ... read more
View through window in Museo de la Revolucion
Going coco-nuts
Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales April 2nd 2007

After an amazing week at Maria la Gorda, Laurence and I made our way to the small town of Viñales. We were excited for a change in scenery and some time away from the beach and eagerly awaited some hiking and biking in the countryside. Viñales is a burgeoning tourist town with loads of places to stay and things to do. It is situated amongst impressive limestone formations called Mogotes which are supposedly some of the best rock climbing in the western hemisphere. We were dropped of at Casa Benito by our van driver who sugested this small and friendly place. There we met a lovely couple from Toronto, Ian and Elizabeth who we shared many evening conversations with. The atmosphere was relaxed to say the least and the pastoral setting of the town was ... read more
Tabacco drying
Great Signage
Good looking bull

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste March 28th 2007

Well the first entry on our travel blog. This one is being written in retrospect from Mexico City as the internet connections in Cuba were very bad, very expensive and very censored (whitepages.co.nz will be pleased to know that it is an anti revolutionary site). It is hard to write this from Mexico as it feels like we have arrived back from a period of time in an alternative reality. Cuba has to be the strangest place I have ever been to. It is difficult to summarise and describe at all as it was a totally unique experience (I suspect if the Cuban Ministry of the Interior read this blog it will be a once in a lifetime experience). We spent about 5 days in Havana when we arrived, staying initially in the Hotel Inglaterra, ... read more
Havana rooftops
Capitolio Building, Havana
The grandest post office in the world?

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Maria la Gorda March 25th 2007

hhhhhmmmmmmm, now this is the Cuba we have been looking for. After taking a taxi from Trinidad to Piñar del Rio with a British couple, we spent the night in this small provincial capital waiting to transfer to Maria la Gorda the next morning. This town, Piñar del Rio seemed to be as close to reality in Cuba as we could get. Buildings were in varrying states of disrepair while 1950 chevy´s plied the streets alongside throngs of bicycles. People carried live chickens from coop to dinner table and lines formed for all sorts of regular civic activities. Hearing about the wonderful ice cream available at the state run ice cream parlour, Coppelia we decided to join the line of people and wait our turn for 10 cents a scoop ice cream. Waiting nearly an ... read more
Our Bungalow
Amazing, palm fringed beach
I know, life is tough

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Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Trinidad March 22nd 2007

After Veredero, we headed to Cuba´s best preserved coonial town, Trinidad. I should have known not to expect much since I have now seen dozens of well preserved colonial towns but we decided to go nevertheless. travelling by bus in Cuba i soemthing else. There are two systems, one for locals and the other for tourists. Once upon a time the tourists buses provided extra luxury and air conditioning, however since the introduction of new chinese busus to the locals only system, there seems to be little difference between the two other than the price. This is just one example of the systems in place seperating tourists from everyday Cubans. At the Trinidad bus station we were met by a sour looking women holding a sign bearing our names. In Havana, the owner of our ... read more
Playa Ancon and a beautiful girl
Incredible beach and water
Cake´s ready

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Varadero March 20th 2007

Arriving in Veredero was a lot like being transported to a sunny Quebec town. The streets were filled with Quebecers covering there burned red winter bodies after spending their first days under the strong cuban sun. Arriving at our resort, Villa Tortuga was like entering another mini-world within Cuba where beer flowed from everywhere, the food was over abundant and mojitos were easier to find than water,not to mention the thousands of European and Canadian tourists soaking up the sun. Bizarre to say the least but needed after 7 weeks spent in the Andean highlands in wool toques and fleece. Our skin milk skin quickly perked up with the added sun and cold mojitos. The food was nothing to write home about but the sun and booze and excellent room all made for a great ... read more
hhmm those ´free´ mojitos taste good
Isn´t she good looking!
The beach

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana March 13th 2007

Holy Smokes! Trying to re-cap a month in Cuba is like trying to describe a painting to someone over the phone, difficult at best but I´ll try. Couple of words must first be put out there that I thought about aften when thinking in Cuba, they are.... Incredible, amazing, wonderful, spectacular, frustrating, annoying, overwhelming, complicated, lower middle class, equal, unfair and expensive. These are just some words that provide a sense of the diversity of expereinces happening in Cuba and the richness of this country. While it was by no means an easy trip, although days at the beach with Mojitos did ease my pain, Cuba was an incredible experience that I would highly recommend to anyone even slightly considering a trip here. That said, here is some of our story over the last month. ... read more
Lots of billboards
Lots of billboards
Mural from the Museum of the Revolution

Central America Caribbean » Cuba March 13th 2007

VIÑALES This rural part of Cuba was a true pleasure for the eyes! The small village was surrounded by limestone " mountains" and lush agricultural fields. Palm trees and fruit trees were filled with delicious pineapples, mangoes, oranges, grapefruits.... The coffee cultivated by the farmers had a delicious taste and wonderful smell! I have rarely tasted such coffee! The tobacco fields were abundant and you could see the numerous "wooden warehouses" were the tobacco was dried. We had fresh fruits and freshly grounded coffee everyday. We were relatively quiet during our stay in Viñales as we were both trying to recover from a bad cold that we caught at Maria La Gorda. We were walking throughout the fields, eating fruits with the farmers, enjoying the tranquility of the valley while discussing with the people. Farmers ... read more
Viñales
Viñales
Viñales

Central America Caribbean » Cuba March 13th 2007

Cuba March 13 to April 12, 2007 Cuba is a fascinating country and travelling one month on this island has been a tremendous experience. We were glad to have made the decision to travel to Cuba while Castro was still alive... Because of the high travelling costs and the challenge to use public transportation, we decided to restrict our exploration to the Western area of the island. Our one-month itinerary was as follow: La Havana-Varadero-Trinidad-Piñar del Rio-Maria La Gorda-Veñales-La Havana. I will first start my Cuba story telling with Varadero and tell about La Havana in my last blog. VARADERO Since we never experienced a full-inclusive resort, we decided to spend four days at "Villa La Tortuga", a medium-range hotel offering all-you-can-eat breakfast,lunch and dinner in addition to 24 hour open bar...not a profitable business ... read more
Varadero
Trinidad
Trinidad-La Plaza Mayor




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