Pictorial Cuba trip report

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Oct 13th, 2018, 09:16 AM
  #1
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Pictorial Cuba trip report

We took a family trip to Cuba in March, 2018. It was me, my two grown sons and my daughter in law. I really loved this trip. It was the perfect mixture of relaxing, touring, seeing new things and experiencing a new culture. My kids all speak Spanish, which was a huge help, and allowed them to talk to the casa hosts and taxi drivers about life in Cuba, which was very interesting.

Mar 3-5 - Varadero

We stayed at Casa Betty Mar which we we booked through "BBinnVinales". We liked the casa very much. Betty was very hospitable, her breakfasts were great, and the rooms were nice. We paid 40 Cuc/night. It is on the western edge of town where it is less busy and touristy.

We mainly relaxed and went to the beach. One afternoon we took the hop on/off bus out the cave, which was pretty cool, and we got to see the hotel zone. We decided we were happy that we had chosen our casa. It was a much more authentic experience. The resorts are good for some people, just not our style.









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Oct 13th, 2018, 09:43 AM
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Mar 6 & 7 - Havana
We stayed at Casa Diamante (Air BnB). We took the Viazul bus from Veradero to Havana for 10 Cuc each. Our casa in Havana was in Centro district. It was nice, but I found the area a little too busy and noisy, but we certainly did get an authentic experience. If I had a do-over I would stay in Vieja.

We didn't spend much time in Havana as my kids had been there before. In the morning we took a taxi to the Viazul station to try to get tickets to Vinales for the following day, but they were already sold out. We hired a driver in the afternoon and he toured us around to some of the sites, and he was very interesting to talk to. He spoke excellent English. One of the places he took us to was Hemingway's house, which was really nice.







We asked the driver to drop us off at La Cocina de Lilliam (Miramar) for dinner. At first the restaurant wasn't going to let us in because some of us were wearing shorts. We were sitting in the park, deciding what to do, and here comes one of the staff and he said he talked to the owner, and they decided to let us in. That was weird, but we were happy. The food was good, and the atmosphere was very relaxing.



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Oct 13th, 2018, 10:36 AM
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March 8-10. Vinales
Casa la Siesta, booked on "BBinnVinales". We ended up getting a taxi to take us to Vinales. I think we paid 125 CUC, which split four ways wasn't bad. The ride there was gorgeous, and when we got to town the driver took us to a restaurant on the far edge of town, where he obviously knew the owners, but the food was good so we didn't mind.



Piggies wandering around at the outdoor restaurant.

Then he took us to a tobacco farm where they explained the process and demonstrated rolling cigars.





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Oct 13th, 2018, 10:43 AM
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After that he drove us to our casa in El Palmar, which is a little sub-division about a 10 minute walk from Vinales. We loved this place. It is brand new, having been rebuilt from the ground up after the 2008 hurricane. It is purpose built for tourists, and the owner does not actually live there. The price is 25 CUC/night. When we arrived, Babi, one of the girls who works there, invited us to take a seat on the terrace and she served us a fruit smoothie. It was so peaceful and relaxing sitting in those rocking chairs and enjoying the view, especially after the hustle and bustle of Havana.

The country side around Vinales is absolutely beautiful. We took a taxi to los Jasmines to get sunset pics the first night. Just stunning.







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Oct 13th, 2018, 10:49 AM
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A few photos from around our neighbourhood.









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Oct 13th, 2018, 10:55 AM
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The next morning my kids took a sunrise tour up into the mountains to take sunrise photos at a coffee farm (we are a family of photo buffs). They were picked up at 5:30 a.m. in a horse drawn buggy. They said it was spectacular. Unfortunately, my old knees were not up for walking up a mountain trail in the dark, so I got to sleep in a bit and relax.

We hired a driver one day to tour us around, spent some time in town at the internet park, eating in restaurants, and just looking around. I was amazed at how many people still get around by horse drawn buggies, ox carts, and horseback. Also two people on a bike is common.

One day we went out to Cayo Jutia for a beach day. OMG! The road to get there is the worst! The potholes have potholes. But once you arrive, the beach is spectacular. We paid the driver 20 CUC each, plus a generous tip. The beach is free, and there is a restaurant, bar and washrooms. We spent a very nice few hours there soaking up the sun and relaxing.










Collectivo taxi.

Last edited by pgtraveler; Oct 13th, 2018 at 10:58 AM.
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Oct 13th, 2018, 12:26 PM
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What memories your photos bring back, pgteaveller. DH and I went to Cuba in Jan '16 and had a wonderful time. Like you we stayed in casas where our smattering of Spanish definitely helped, especially outside Havana. We used a combination of taxis and buses to get about as well, and some collectivo taxis though ours never looked like this one!!

If you go again, I can thoroughly recommend Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Remedios as good places to stay with plenty to do and see.
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Oct 15th, 2018, 07:16 AM
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Wonderful shots. Thanks for sharing.
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Oct 17th, 2018, 05:19 AM
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Thanks for sharing. Great photos. I love the "collectivo"!
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