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Published: January 19th 2014
May 2nd - May 7th 2013
We basically fell in love in Trinidad. It is the most fascinating, colorful, interesting, cultural and fun town, mostly because there are tons of things to do. Trinidad is one-of-a-kind, a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement where the clocks stopped ticking in 1850. Built on huge sugar fortunes during the early 19th century, the riches of the town's pre–War of Independence peak are still very much in evidence; colonial-style mansions, Italian frescoes, Wedgewood china, Spanish furniture and French chandeliers. We couldn’t get enough of exploring the paved streets, soaking in the most beautiful light in early evenings, having great dinners at our favorite restaurant Taberna Ochun i Yemaya and dance the nights away in the company of live salsa and mojitos. All our travels were normally very active however since we got to Cuba we were mostly enjoying beaches, drinking mojitos and having good fun. That was all fine all right, but our buts were getting restless and we were anxious to do some trekking/biking or just any movement in generalJ
First we had a biking day to Playa Ancon. This circle ride takes about 1 hour one way and passes a small
fishing town La Boca and numerous snorkeling spots. We met with our Shappa friends we made in Vinales and chilled with them under the straw beach umbrellas. The way back is a bit shorter passing the wetland where you can observe many species of birds.
The night with Shappa friends meant a huge hangover the next morning, however since we can’t keep it too easy we went for a 3-4h “stroll” to the nearest Natural Park El Cubano. It is a great trail that you can take it yourself and by foot (as all are suggesting to take a taxi to the entrance). Even though we got a bit lost it was so much fun and the scenery was simply amazing! We prepared a map that everyone can now use it (pictures). And even better, since the trail takes you directly inside the park we didn’t have to pay for the entrance (9CUC per person!).
The third day we were up for some more hiking so we hired a taxi to take us to Topes de Collantes which is a nature reserve park in Escambray Mountains, protecting and showcasing caves, rivers, waterfalls and canyons. We asked the driver
to drop us off at the restaurant Mi Retiro and wait for us at the entrance for Salto de el Caburni. At Mi Retiro they pointed us in direction of waterfall Vegas Grande. It was a lovely trek and the sight so peaceful, beautiful and above all refreshing (go in the morning)! Instead of returning the same way up and then descending for another waterfall, there was a very poorly marked narrow trail that took us directly to Salto de el Caburni. By this time we learned that Cuba is extra expensive for tourists – for example they charge you for every waterfall individually (9CUC!) – so trying to avoid it is a pain in the ass but every once in a while you reach a success. This was the case for the second waterfall, by taking this shortcut. Anyway, the Caburni was lovely but more crowded – I think the trail itself was more spectacular. We headed back up the hill where our driver was already impatiently waiting for us (another fact about Cubans that they don’t really like to work, however like getting paidJ).
Looking at our diary and plan, we sadly realized that we have to
move forward and leave this incredible town of Trinidad. Next stop was Camaguey, the new city built with a confusing lay-out of alleys that made it easier to defend it from any raiders. It is perfect for a day with amazingly well signed walking tours. We found a brilliant restaurant for dinner (El Carmen) which was actually the first restaurant packed with locals (it was very fancy, delicious food and affordable for local upper class). Afterwards we went to a club where local teenagers party – and saw with our own eyes how the girls react when an old Russian guy puts a bottle of rum on the tableJ We had a long discussion about “prostitution that it is not” with a family we stayed at the next day in Moron.
The last venture before our all-inclusive paradise island was how to actually get there without spending a fortune. Since local buses are off limit to tourists you basically have 2 options to get from Sancti Spiritus to Moron – succeed in bribing the driver to “smuggle” you on the local bus (1,5CUC) or paying 40CUC for a taxi. It’s another 35CUC for a taxi from Moron to Cayo
Coco (however here you don’t have an option B besides the taxi). By this time we couldn’t care less because we were “going loco down at Cayo Coco”!!!J
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