An island full of myths, preconceptions and depression. One of the last countries that can call itself really communistic. Health and education systems are good in the country where Che Guevara is still a national hero, but this country is to suffer a lot. No real jobs, bad food and rundown houses and services...
I did this trip togehter with my couchsurfing friend Nathalie from Germany. We had a trip arranged somehow and lot's of ideas in our minds.
Here are the spots we visited in Cuba:
As you can see we stayed on the North-West of the island, eventhough we planned also to go to Santiago De Cuba. Unfortunatelly flying was very expensive and the other options would have been very painful. Nevertheless we could encounter a lot of different sights on our way.
The places we've visited
See the album of Varadero
We arrived in Varadero when we flew to Cuba. Varadero has amazing beaches and Caribbean sea is simply beautiful. It was simply great. The temperatures were mild. The place was almost empty, because most of the people go to Cuba in February in the summer time to spend their time in one of the All-In hotels.
Varadero is highly tourist oriented and locals are actually only permitted to go to this area, whit a special permission (Sick!).
We spent some time there and relaxed :-)
See the album of Matanzas
We had a kind of adventures way to get to Matanzas. We wanted to use one of the local busses to get there and not one of the bloody tourist busses. So we managed to it. It was pretty adventures as the bus had big holes on the floor, you could see the road. We stranded in Matanzas and it was pretty taff to find the hershey train to Havana, which is the only electric railway in Cuba. The train ride itself was an adventure as well. It took us several hours for only 70 kilometers distance.
See the album of Havana
Havana is the capital city of Cuba. Nathalie and I met several very friendly Couchsurfers from Cuba and other Couchsurfers that were travelling in Cuba. They showed us around in the city with a lot of very artistic and cultural places. In many parts of the city the house went rack and ruin. They kept the facade of buildings and you could imagine how nice this city must have been before the communism took over the control of the state.
See the album of Valle de Vinales
Valle de Vinales is one of the places everyone needs to go if he or she wants to satisfy the need of expierence Cuba from a tabaco farm perspective. The characteristics of this valley is very unique the mountains, the vegetation and the people working on the tabaco farms is something that is definitely something that's worth seeing. Nathalie and I were horse riding in this area and could get in touch with one of the farmers working there. We could explore some caves and had a walk in the town. We stayed there longer than we planed, there were not many activities and most of them were early morning and we missed them. There was almost no public transportation and the motorbikes you could rent were all broken down.
See the album of Cienfuegos
The city of Cienfuegos was beautiful. The both of us like it. We could take some nice shots of the town and we went to one of the night clubs. It was pretty nice and we could learn a bit how to dance as a Cuban.
See the album of Trinidad
Trinidad was a nice city as well. We met an Australian girl on the way and we spent some time together. Besides the city itself we decided to rent a taxi for the day. We saw an old former slave facility with it's impressive watchtower. Later on we went to the beach and bath in the sun.
See the album of Santa Clara
Santa Clara was the last stop before we headed back to Varadero. This city has it's own Che Guevara museum (Taking pictures was not permitted) with the remains of the former "hero". You'll find the train from which Che Guevara started an attack. Besides those monoments there is not too much to do there. The city was pretty much like every Cuban city.
See this country before the communist system breaks down completely. I think it wont last long and the whole country will change very quickley and there will be many people loose everything they have.
The country itself is really nice, the people are friendly but also empty somehow. Besides meeting friends and family, which is of course very important, there is not much left for Cubans to achieve. There are no top jobs, there is almost no way for them to travel. It is sad.
From a tourist point of view, it's a safe country. Nevertheless nights can be pretty frightening, as the cities are very dark at night, only a few lamps are burning, if they are not broken or there's a black out. The food is ghastly, maybe the sea-food is good, but I don't like sea food in general. The fruits are good.
This country has two offical currencies: One for the locals Cuban Pesos (CUP), one for the tourists Cuban convertible pesos (CUC). 1 CUC is 10 CUP. Many prices are ment to be in CUP, but of course you have to pay the price in CUC, which means you have to pay ten times more. It's almost impossible to even get CUP.
Couchsurfing is not allowed by law. The state tries to seperate tourists from locals as much as possible. We stayed in "casa particulares", which means to stay at local in his or her house, which is a bit cheaper to stay in.
- Should you see this country?
Yes, do it as soon as possible before it changes
- Would I go there again?
Most propably not.
- How much was the flight?
500€ from Vienna to go and go back
- Is it expensive?
It is not as cheap as you might expect, but still cheaper than most places in Europe.
- Is Couchsurfing possible?
No, not at all by law. You can only meet locals on gatherings. They are very helpful!
- Where can I get information for individual travelling?