Viñales by horseback

Monday, 1 June 2015 Our guide turned up at the agreed time and announced that he had found some other tourists who wanted to join the tour, so we followed him through the streets to collect three young German women. This all took time, but we were in a cheerful mood so we didn’t mind…

Havana to Viñales

Sunday, 31 May 2015 We were leaving Havana for Viñales late Sunday morning and had two hours to kill in the old city, so we wandered down to the Plaza de Armas where Susie purchased a pair of earrings. Books are a bit of a problem for us because we will have to travel with…

Playa Girón to Havana again

Saturday, May 30 2015 For our last day in Playa Girón we decided to return to La Playa los Cocos. Because it was Saturday, the locals were also there relaxing in the sun. There were family groups and a large group of young people who looked like hipsters bussed in from Vedado. There was also…

Snorkelling: Punta Perdiz

Friday, 29 May 2015 Our host, Lidia, kindly organised the bus to collect us from outside the house so we did not have to travel into town to meet it. Our destination was Punta Perdiz, a popular diving location located about 10 km down the road towards Playa Larga. Our German housemates, Dennis and Gwen,…

Snorkelling: Caleta Buena

Thursday, 28 May 2015 Caleta Buena is a small inlet about 8km from Playa Girón. It’s hard to believe that it was envisaged as one of the landing sites for the 1961 invasion of Cuba, but so says Wikipedia. We rode there on the bicycles provided by our hosts. It was an easy, level ride,…

Playa Girón day 2

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 In 1961, Playa Girón—also known as the Bay of Pigs—was the site of an attempted military invasion of Cuba by a counter-revolutionary force that was backed by the CIA. The invaders were rounded up in three days by Cuban forces under the command of Fidel Castro. On our second day in…

Trinidad to Playa Girón

Tuesday, 26 May 2015 The Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of industries) lies between the hills at the back of Trinidad and the Escambray mountain range beyond. It was formerly the location of sugar plantations worked by African slaves, which explains the strong influence of African culture in and around Trinidad today. After breakfast, we…

Trinidad day 5

Monday, 25 May 2015 During our breakfast at the casa, we had the good fortune to spy a hummingbird hovering near a banana tree in the courtyard. It was wearing a deep green suit with a black velvet vest—very fetching. After breakfast, we walked a few blocks to a barber shop that we had seen…

Trinidad day 4

Sunday, 24 May 2015 Playa Ancón is said to be the best beach on the southern coast of Cuba. It’s a long stretch of featureless sand with cabañas for hire, fancy hotels, tepid water, and no waves. We had set aside Sunday to spend a day there, and put to use the snorkelling gear that…

Topes de Collantes

Saturday, 23 May 2015 Topes de Collantes is a nature reserve located high in the Escambray Mountains, in the hinterland behind Trinidad. We had booked a tour of the reserve on the day we arrived. After another vast breakfast in the casa we headed to the Cubatur office on a nearby corner to meet the…

Trinidad day 2

Friday, 22 May 2015 Breakfasts at the casa were served in the courtyard, in the shade of banana trees, at a wrought iron table and chairs painted white. The meal consisted of coffee, mango juice, chopped fruit (usually a mix of pineapple, guava, mango and papaya), banana, fresh bread, egg, butter, a sweet biscuit with…

Trinidad

Thursday, 21 May 2015 Despite the conditions during our overnight bus trip from Santiago, Susie managed to get some sleep so she was in somewhat better condition than I was when we arrived at the bus station in Trinidad. I slept little because my seat was broken and this caused my arse to go numb….