Woke up after a late night and had a big spread for breakfast. Went to the beach first thing to have a look, the beach is much better than the one in Trinidad! All the locals in Trinidad said the beach in Varadero isn’t very good - obviously they just wanted us to stay in Trinidad longer.
We then went for a walk, found a kind of shopping mall which had an actual food shop! These are hard to find in Cuba as the government gives local people rations of food.
We then settled on the beach, a little bit of bother from locals but they went away after a while.
Went out for our last meal with Patrick. Then spent the evening listening to live music in a bar called The Beatles.
2 December 2018
We had a slow wake up this morning. Glad we said we didn’t want breakfast to our host as we didn’t get out of bed until 11. When we went outside it was so hot, really struggled to walk around so found somewhere with a fan and had lunch with a nice cold drink.
Next off to the beach. Met our new friends at the beach. The Caribbean Sea was a nice temperature but still a little cold. Then we fell asleep on our sun loungers. Woke up just as it was starting to be a sunset. Had a nice coffee whilst watching the sky changing colour.
When we were ready to leave the beach there were no taxis. Lucky Laura managed to speak to the man in Spanish who managed to get us one.
Got back and then met Patrick and Deborah for a meal in a very popular restaurant- the queue was an hour! The food was delicious! We met an Austrian couple who were very funny. They showed us some incredible pictures of the ski slopes in Austria.
1 December 2018
Today we woke to breakfast on our beautiful terrace. We then went to the square to see if we could do a tour of the waterfalls. We found a guide offering a horse riding tour..
We sat in the guys house and waited.. a few moments later a horse walked through the house!!
We started our journey with our horses. Chloe had a beautiful horse called Rubio. Laura's was nice but a little naughty, he was called Palomo. The journey was a little rough around the edges. Palomo wanted to march ahead of some other horses and cut Laura's leg.. she was covered in bruises by the end of the trip. And Chloe cut her finger - a bit of a rough day!
We had several stops during the trip.. We went to see how sugar canes were made. We then had a yummy rum sugarcane and lemon drink. And a coffee plantation where we tried some really good coffee.
During the tour, we bumped into a son and mother that we met in Viñales and spent most of the horse ride with them. And we arranged to meet them later.
30 November 2018
After getting in at 6am and our host Papito had been worried and waited up all night even though he had work the next day!
We had a breakfast and quickly packed. Our collectivo picked us up and we had a couple from Germany in the car.
It was a 6 hour journey to Trindad. We stopped off for lunch half way. Arrived at our Casa and we have a really nice terrace. Had a walk around the town and had some food before an early night.
29 November 2018
After a very long relaxing sleep we woke up to have breakfast in our casa. We then went to the nearby hotel to relax by the pool for a few hours in the sunshine.
Later, as we walked towards Viñales waiting for a bus to come along, some tourists asked us where the cave was. We didn't know but decided to follow them. We then went inside the cave on a boat to look inside. It had huge stalagtites.
After, we went to Viñales on a local bus. This was quite terrifying experience and we nearly fell over several times.
Once we arrived we looked around, ate lunch and had a few drinks. Later we went to the vegetarian restaurant Dania's son runs. It was nice to have something a bit different.
Later on we went to the salsa bar and watched a show and had a few dances.
28 November 2018
After a nice, long sleep. We woke up to another good breakfast and then went horse riding.
Chloe had a very hungry horse called Caremello and Laura had a very slow horse (who unfortunately was the leader). We stopped at a local tobacco farm where we tried a cigar and some rum. We dipped the cigar in honey which gave it a sweeter taste.
Next we went to a bar with a beautiful view, the drink we had was called coco loco. It was coconut milk, rum and honey. Back on the horses slightly more tipsy and went to a lake.
On our way back our horses kept wanting to do a bit of trotting which wasn’t the most comfortable with the stirrups we had.
We then treated ourselves to a mud bath in the local hotel - it was more of a I’m a celebrity get me out of here challenge as the water was freezing and we had to stay in it for 20 minutes. On the positive our skin feels great now!
Quick chat to Mum to ask her to book our next air bnbs as we found out you can’t book them when you are in Cuba!!
27 November 2018
Woke up and got a collectivo from Sylvia’s house to our new Casa in Vinales. We were in the car with a couple from Germany. The trip was 2 and a half hours. No real dramas.
Arrived at the new Casa and welcomed by Dania and Papito. Dania was very welcoming, brought us fresh orange juice and advised us what activities we could do. She then made us both a sandwich. Walked along the road. Viñales is farm land so it isn’t very busy, normal mode of transport is with horses. We went to a nearby hotel which is the only place to get WiFi. After this spoke with Dania for a bit and I introduced them to English breakfast tea. then we went out for a meal to the local restaurant - our best food yet! a local dog then walked us home, he was very protective as we walked down a road which was pitch black!
Totally different climate here, it rained very hard for about an hour.
Early night tonight for a nice treat. Finally starting to get over the jet lag.
26 November 2018
Sylvia did a great breakfast for us again.
We were going to head to the beach but Sylvia said it wasn’t worth it. We decided to go the the revolution museum, very interesting and sad to hear some of the things cuba has gone through in recent years!
We then found a very cheap place to have lunch. Shared a pizza for £3! Walked around and then had an ice cream to try and cool down. The weather is very hot and humid today.
Then we went to Havana club museum. Fun tour and we got a shot of rum at the end of it.
In the night we went to a “Back to Cuba in the 1950’s” music and dance show. The singers were entertaining.
Followed this by trying to find a bachata club for Laura but it does not seem to be popular. Only salsa.
Tried walking to a club but some locals guys came over and asked if we would like a drink with them. We then spent hours talking with them about how different life was in Cuba. Sweet guys who walked us home and of course Sylvia was waiting for us to get home safe!
25 November 2018
Attempted to go to one of the best clubs in Havana. It was a club with different rooms which had different styles of dance, also it was an art exhibition!
Unfortunately it was closed due to the country in mourning over Fidel Castro - he is so loved by the people for the fighting he did for his country.
Instead of the club we went to the restaurant, very nice food. After dinner we asked a taxi driver to take us somewhere we could dance salsa. Went to this nice place where we danced outside for hours. Chloe had to have a few lessons but then was off!
Back to our Casa to wake up the lovely Sylvia who was waiting up for us.
After the car tour we did a walk around Havana. The music and dance is everywhere. We went to the famous writer Hemmingway’s favourite bar and had a daiquiri. This was a very welcome drink after walking around in the heat.
Went for lunch in a nice restaurant but got totally ripped off. Lesson learnt!
For my birthday Laura bought me a morning in an old car to drive around Havana and then a walking tour of the city.
Some snaps from our car tour. The car was made in 1949 and was a Plymouth. Felt like I was in the Barbie video. Visited a big Jesus that the locals say is holding a cigar in one hand and a mojito in the other. Love all the old cars.
Breakfast by Sylvia
24 November 2018
In Cuba people usually stay in places called Casa’s. They are local people renting a room out. We arrived late and were very tired. An older lady called Sylvia was our host. She was very kind. Offered to cook us breakfast in the morning which we accepted. Had a great sleep.
After a great thanksgiving dinner hosted by our friend Tessa. We left her London flat early hours and headed to Heathrow airport.
We got to the check in desk where the man kindly asked to see our visa for Cuba - dread set in! We hadn’t checked if we needed a visa! Luckily they said we could buy one from virgin holiday from a different terminal. We had an hour to get there and back otherwise check in would close!!
Never ran so fast with a suitcase before. We were also planning what we would do if we couldn’t make it to Cuba. With a suitcase only packed for warm weather we were planning on Thailand! This annual leave wasn’t going to waste.
Anyway we managed to get the visa and check in! Flew to Rome where we have a stop over - obviously had lasagna for lunch! Next a 13 hour flight and relief when we finally got to Cuba.