Thursday, 14 July 2016

Cuba travel - March 2016

We started our tour of Cuba, Rita introduced us to our guide Enrique and driver Relando. As there was just two of us we had a normal sedan to continue our trp.

We were now off to Vinales Valley en-route we visited ‘Patio de Peregrin’ a community project that trains the youth in the arts as well as growing organic produce. It was an extensive organization which helped the local community.

We also stopped on our way to Vinales at the famous mural painted on the side of a cliff, ‘Mural Prehistorica’ which depicts a huge snail, sea monsters, dinosaurs and man symbolizing evolution. The scenery of this area is impressive and similar to Guilin in China.
Scenery near Vinales

Vinales is a small town with many bars and restaurants as many tourists visit. Which explains the extensive souvenir trade which are all the same and unimpressive.

Our B&B Vinales
Our accommodation was a rather minimalist B&B the operators didn’t speak any English, the shower didn’t have hot water. My room had no bedside light and the light in the bathroom didn’t work however we were dished up a very tasty dinner there.

Breakfast next morning was 2 fried eggs, bread, fruit, cheese and quince paste and a very nice coffee. We were then picked up and taken to Caverna Santo Tomas the largest cave on the island- absolutely stunning and a beautiful 25 minute boat ride on the stream which runs through the cave.

This was followed by a visit to a tobacco farm, interesting information about the industry. The tobacco leaves are dried, but the humidity keeps the dry leaves pliable and soft allowing them to be easily rolled into cigars. We then driven to Hotel los Jazmines, mainly for the spectacular view. I think this was a place we were meant to sketch but we didn’t feel like plus we didn’t have our art equipment with us.

We returned to the tobacco farm for lunch, the tastiest meal we’ve had so far. We were then dropped back into town and went to El Jardin de Caridad a sprawling garden that has taken almost a century to establish. When we entered we were given a tour with explanations about the various plants which was very informative. The original owners were a Chinese and an African.

We insisted on a light dinner of soup, bread and fruit that night at our B&B.

Another fried egg breakfast, then the boys picked us up early as we had a long drive to Trinidad and our ‘picnic lunch’ consisted of just a cheese roll and fruit juice. The journey took 5 hours with minimal stops.

We arrived at the Resort Costa Sur (all inclusive) for one night. A short swim in the Caribbean and watching the sunset with our pina colada was a minor highlight. Dinner was buffet style and the dance show we watched was enjoyable.
Sunset over the Caribbean

In the morning we would be driving into Trinidad proper and stay in a home. We get there and when our guide checked the address of our accommodation, it was in Santos Spiritus about 70kms in the opposite direction we would be travelling the following day.

Our guide and driver managed to get us a B&B in the town which was really nice. Unfortunately I was unwell – ‘the trots’ but soldiered on the best I could. Trinidad is a delightful town where no new building has taken place for decades. It was very hot and my appreciation of the place was coloured by feeling awful.

My lunch was steamed rice but the bonus while sitting in the garden courtyard was seeing a humming bird and I managed to catch it in a photo.
The elusive humming bird

I should have refrained from dinner that night as the morning proved really bad for my diarrohea.

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