the Cuban time mashine
Cuba is the most unique place I’ve ever visited. The life style is totally different to any others in the world.
It feels like the country stopped developing in 1950.
The main attraction of cuba and the wow effect for all the tourist are the beautiful Old Timers all over the street. The Colors bring such dynamic and life to the city. Like all the houses as well.
Also typical Cuban is the life music which got played everywhere, people are dancing and singing, whatever time it is and wherever they are.
What you should be aware of, when you visit cuba tho, are the limitations.
Limitations of being connected, as Internet only is available in specific parts. So don’t go to Cuba with the thought, you could do some business beside.
It also makes it harder to travel, as you can’t just google or use maps to plan the next destination.
The positive aspect of it is that you get to enjoy the time more intense. You’re more aware of the moment and small things without being distracted by messages all the time.
Another limitation is food. If you go to a super market or a restaurant, the chance is pretty big that you won’t find what you’re looking for. The shelves in markets are half empty and local restaurants can’t offer half of the menu.
Also there are two currency used, one for the tourists and one for the locals. What also makes it more complicated to experience the country in a local way. For example using the public transport or shopping in local markets, is difficult as they can’t accept (re-use) the tourist currency.
„Don’t go to Cuba with any plans or expectations – it’s not going to work out“
That’s what everyone warned me off, when we booked our trip to Cuba, the City of the revolution.
With my experience, I can just tell you the same now.
To give you an example.
We spent 19 hours over night on the highway with a taxi driver.
& NO that wasn’t our plan. It all started when we shared a Taxi collectivo from Havana city to Trinidad. Half way our car got a breakdown. We couldn’t tell what the reason was and had to call a mechanic. As we weren.t able to use our phones, our only option was it to trust the taxi driver and wait with him. Every time we asked how much more time it will take, the answer was: the mechanic just left Havana. Well 19 hours, 1000 mosquito bites, a sunset and a sunrise later we finally decided to stop a public bus and pay for another ride.
It definitely was an adventure, beside the sleepless night, we got to enjoy fireflys and a lot of shooting starts.
So much to the system in Cuba. But let me tell you about our route and highlights in Cuba on my travel guide Blog.
Travelguide for Cuba
Cuba offers a lot of different activities. Beautiful beaches to relax, the interesting city havanna and the beautiful nature in vinjales.
We spent our days in the main city Havana, Trinidad a charming little city on the beach, varadera for beach days and some time in the nature in Viñuales.
Where to sleep? Casa particular, the price various in the cities. Trinidad was definitely the cheapest one. But it is a super nice experience. The families who run the casa’s do all to get you satisfied. They help you out wherever possible and for 3-5 $ more you can add a breakfast, which they prepare freshly by them self. We just had great experiences J
What to eat? In the first week we eat mostly ate fish. Because of the import/export which is still developing, a lot of local restaurants, don’t have a lot of spices to use, expect salt and pepper, what makes it taste the same everywhere. Also fresh Vegetables are rarely offered in these restaurants. Another meal what you get offer on every corner is Pizza. I have to mention that the Cuban Pizza is different tho. As the dough taste like a bread and tomatesouce is overrated in cuba. But you can get it for 1$. What’s enough for what you get.
How to move?
We either used Viazul buses or Taxi collectivos to move around. For long distance between main cities I definitely recommend to use the Viazul buses. They are comfortable, offer AC and are totally affordable. For short distances, we used taxi’s or scooters.
Where to book trips?
When we booked any trips or activities, for example renting a bike, or a daytrip to Viñuales, we asked in our casas for recommendations.
Havana is the heart of Cuba. We spend a whole day walking around exploring spots in Havana. I loved to observe the lifestyle of the Cubans. Enjoying a drink or a cigar in a nice restaurant with life music is a must do. My favorite was the Cuban drink called Canchanara, which contains lemon & grapefruit juice with honey and water. Also Mojitos and Cuba Libres are good of Corse and super cheap as well.
Another must do is a citytour with an old timer, which coast around 25$ for one hour. This way you get to see all the nice spots of the city and a little bit of background and history too.
My favourite time was when the sun settled down and the sky got pink. The perfect time to go to the roma bar in old Havana to enjoy a view above the city, watching the clouds changing their colors.
Trinidad was my favourit place. It is a city with a lot of charm, just 20 minutes bycicle ride away from a beautiful beach and also close to nature and waterfalls. The Highlight of Trinidad is the Cave Club. It is litteraly a club inmitten a cave, where latin music got played.
The probably most popular beach in cuba. The water is crystal clear and has a perfect temperature as it s on the atlantic side. Not cold but still refreshing. Lot of people do it as a day trip, as there isn’t much else to do. As we loved the beach we spent 3 days there.
Out of the city and into the jungle. The nature is amazing. The most famous way to explore vinales is on a horse ride. That’s what we did. An amazing experience. For almost 2 hours we got around the forests and fields and got to see a cigarfactory and a plantage. Also nice to see are the cave’s.. which you can explore in a short boattour for 5 $.