Blogs from Cuba, Central America Caribbean - page 5

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Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Santa Clara April 14th 2015

Santa Clara doesn't offer an awful lot to the travelling soul, but what little it has is of immense importance to fans of Che Guevara. Before we arrived at our hotel we were taken straight to the one place which simply cannot be missed - Che's mausoleum. Che was killed in Bolivia in 1967 in a failed attempt to cause an uprising. Fidel Castro had his remains transported to Cuba, and those of 29 other revolutionaries killed in the same campaign, where they now lie in an enormous mausoleum. No photos are allowed inside, nor are they allowed in the informative museum alongside the tombs. There are other restrictions too, such as no hats or sunglasses inside, and no bags to go in with you either. Standing in front of Che's tomb was a moment for ... read more
Che's mausoleum
In front of the mausoleum
We hope we can be like Che - Fidel

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana April 13th 2015

When our daughter and her family came back from Cuba with glowing reports of life in an all-inclusive resort, Dianne decided we should go too. It took a bit of scheduling but we finally managed it during our recent Spring Break. I was a bit apprehensive about spending a week on a beach but, in her wisdom, Dianne decided we should split the week between Old Havana (Habana Vieja) and the all-inclusive at Veradero. We booked our flights and hotels through Transat. Old Havana Our travel agent mentioned a hotel outside of Old Havana, with a shuttle bus service into the centre. Dianne asked if there wasn't something right in the centre of the old city as we love to walk and explore older parts and, of course, there was! The Parque Central Hotel was right ... read more
Near by street
Church
Police station

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Trinidad April 13th 2015

The bus bounced along Trinidad's cobbled streets and deposited us at the station. From there we jumped onto four bicitaxis and were pedalled in various levels of discomfort to our hotel, the Trinidad 500, named to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city in 2014. Our drivers raced each other through the streets which at times was exhilarating, but often felt rather dangerous! The hotel is in an old colonial house, beautifully restored, on the edge of the city. After unpacking and relaxing a little, the plan had been to eat at the hotel then go out to experience the nightlife, but torrential rain put paid to that idea. Instead we ate and drank at the hotel then had an early night! The next day was glorious. Our group split up so everyone ... read more
The historic centre
Trinidad's streets
Music in the streets

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Matanzas April 12th 2015

My Favorite Martian (blog by Stan) Despite the amazing breadth of diversity that exists in Cuba, despite the very different cultures of east and west, country and city, Christianity and African religions, revolutionary and dissenting politics, there also exists a unity, something essentially Cuban that runs the course of the whole island. One of the uniting factors binding all these cultures together is the universal adoration for a historical figure affectionately known as “The Apostle,” José Martí. His presence permeates everything; you’ll see his bust in front of every school and full statues in most public squares, such as Matanzas’ Parque de la Libertad. You’ll hear quotes and citations in every imaginable public setting, in political speeches, eulogies, festivals, sporting events, sermons (where I sometimes get ... read more
Rut Vivian
Lisy
José Cheo

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Cienfuegos April 11th 2015

Cienfuegos was a four hour bus journey from Havana, but our hearts skipped a beat when it turned out that we should all have confirmed our bookings before travelling to the bus station! A collective sigh of relief was breathed by our party of ten travellers, followed by confusion as we were all put on the same bus despite having tickets for two different ones. Strange how it was possible that we would be denied travel because we hadn't confirmed and then we were all able to get on the same bus. Welcome to Cuba! On arrival at the bus station in Cienfuegos there seemed to be a dearth of taxis. Eventually we sorted ourselves out and were soon checking in at the Hotel Jagua on a peninsula just to the South of the town. After ... read more
Tropical vistas
The view from our room
Smoking in the background

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana April 8th 2015

***WARNING! There are lots of photos associated with this blog!!*** Cuba! Rum, salsa, baseball, Castro, Che! It's all just a nine hour flight away from Madrid. Air Europa may be cheap and cheerful but they certainly represented the best value for us to get there. On arrival, even immigration seemed straight forward but we have been repeatedly told how lucky we were. We arrived a day ahead of our friends, mostly members of the South Wales Travelbugs which we were active members of before our travels began. A taxi had been organised and the driver was there to meet us. We were also lucky to have to a queue for only ten minutes or so to change some money. Come with Euros if you can as there is a 10% surcharge for changing US Dollars. It ... read more
Havana Club Rum
El Capitolio
Cars, cars, cars

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Cienfuegos April 7th 2015

Trinidad and Cienfuegos sit southwest of Havana about 1.5 hours apart, but in very different situations. Cienfuegos is on a bay and was French at the time most of Cuba was Spanish, so the look and feel of the small town is very different than Trinidad or elsewhere in Cuba. It is the sugar cane center and, as a result, the heart of rum country. Trinidad sits inland about a 20 minute drive from the coast. It was the former sugar cane center of Cuba making many Spaniards in Trinidad extremely wealthy at the turn of the 20th century and the small town still reflects that former wealth. Cienfuegos is flat; Trinidad is on a hill. The streets of Cienfuegos are wide and modern; in Trinidad, they're narrow and cobble-stoned. While sugar cane fed the wealth ... read more
Waiting for Cell Phone, Cienfuegos
Waiting for Cell Phone, Cienfuegos
Main Square, Cienfuegos

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana April 7th 2015

I've been to Cuba several times over the past (14) years and living in Cayman certainly makes it easier when the plane ride is only (45) minutes. Each and every trip to Cuba, and in particular Havana, never seems to amaze me and leaves me wanting more. Whether its a trip to Trinidad, Vinales or just hanging our in Havana there is never a dull moment. During my past visits I've always stayed at one of the big hotels, and well they are nice and provide the comforts of home there is nothing like living in a real Cuban neighborhood for a few days and enjoying the daily rides in a local taxi (1957 chevy for example). This last trip was fantastic. I stayed at a Casa Particular called Casa Blanca Guest House - located in ... read more
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Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales April 5th 2015

Vinales is small town on the edge of a fertile valley west of Havana. The valley, Valle de Silencio, is a key Cuban tobacco growing area, but the fincas also grow a range of crops. About 2 hours from Havana, it is a wonderful escape from the city. The town of Vinales has grown considerably in recent years as foreign tourists have discovered it. Now, tobacco and tourism are the primary crops of the area.... read more
Vinales
Garlic Sales, Vinales
Traffic Jam, Vinales

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana April 1st 2015

I didn't mention this in my emails regarding my time in Cuba, but the general lack of internet and cell service (both available on a limited basis and only after a long wait in line) was both a blessing and a curse. In returning home, I realize how great it was to be disconnected from technology for 10 days. On the other hand, I couldn't get online to publish my travel blog, resorting instead to the long emails. Now that I'm back home, this seems the best place to circulate photos which, even in combination, do a poor job of capturing Cuba.... read more
From Rooftop of Casa Particular, Havana Vieja
Colonial Casa Particular, Havana Vieja
From Rooftop of Casa Particular, Havana Vieja




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