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klip Cubanacan - A travel report by Jean
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Cubanacan,  Cuba - flag Cuba -  Pinar del Río
2382 readers

klip's travel reports

Cuba in 25 days on scooters

  17 votes
For our annual Travel holiday my wife, Velma and I decided to visit Cuba - Fidel was'nt going to be around for ever and we figured we might as well... 5 days later without any planning we flew. We have been married for 6 years and we both love to travel.


On the road...
On the road...
We found Cuba to be a difficult travel experience and we had to work hard to crack the Cuban coconut. But as soon as we sorted our transportation challenge half the war was won. We landed in Havanna and spent 2 days at Hotel Inglaterra to wait for luggage to appear that had got bumped - very usual thing... Our break came when we found a place that rented scooters. As it turned out our two cabin sized bags fitted nice and tight between the steering column and the seat in the cavity where you normally would have your feet. We did 2200km on those 2 scooters covering the western and central parts of the country. Food in Cuba was a problem outside of cities. Another problem was finding a place to sleep every night. The far off places see little tourism and hotels are scarse. We kept to Casa's - a legallized registered guest house mostly with food. Rather expensive we thought but some good experiences and some not so good. The country is beautiful though, and we saw alot of it. The transport looks to come out of the 50's and before that. We found that charming. The highways sported anything from hikers, ox sleds, donkey carts, bycycles, horse carts, motorcycles with side carts, and without, old cars, old trucks, and very few new cars. It was a pleasure to drive as the speed was relaxed. No hurry. The idea was to experience Cuba as well as we could. And staying with the locals and talking with them daily was fun and insightful. Also the scooters were only 12US$ a day each and they ran a long way on 4 litres of gas. This was our freedom. We could access beaches where no-one ever went to and change our plans at a whim. We mixed our time between the cities and the country side and in the end (and by unanemous decision) we felt we had a wonderful time and we were grateful for the privelage to experience it.

Favourite spots:
Vinales
Vinales
We were in most of the big cities and obviously the countryside inbetween. La Habana was certainly the best for me even though I felt to be on constant guard not to be ripped off. Trinidad (on the other side - South coastline) was great too with cobblestone streets from centuries ago, built by slaves. There are some great beaches. Not easily accessible but rewarding when you get there. Snorkeling equipment can be rented although it is advisible you bring at least your own snorkel and mask. There were tons of good snorkel.

Apart from the it's usual and obvious splendour - The entire Pinar del Rio countryside is filled with an assortment of pairs of oxen that took my fascination. Like two Amigo's ever side by side. They are usually in pristine condition and so obediant. The driver has but to talk to them for them to react. I had a ball photograping so many of them. It was almost like collecting stamps I would imagine.

What's really great:
Tobacco Picking is more difficult than it seems
Tobacco Picking is more difficult than it seems
Pinar del Rio was a favourite. we ended up spending 7 days here. Even more laid back than the rest of the Country. We explored this wonerful green province with its assortment of natural caves and rivers and the strangest looking mountains. Our hosts were great also. Here we spent a day picking tobacco leaves with some farm workers. Man my back was broke after that. It looks much easier than it is. But afterwords they took us into a shed (their home) where the entire family lived. They had nothing really. But they had so much to give. We laughed and ate and had so much fun together. That evening I slept like a log.

(Another thing I found rather special was a bottled drink they called Loco. Me and Loco were freinds for a day or so on a deserted beach between our Matanzas - Trinidad leg. But my wife did not approve - she said I acted strange)

Accommodations:
There are few camping fascillities as far as we could find. So camping is not big.
Accommodation is probably cheapest and best at a guesthouse. Hotels are often very expensive and poorly maintained.
Rural areas offer much difficulty to find lodging in.

Restaurants:
The food isn't great to start with and till this day we could not figure how the bread system works. We saw people walking with it but never found the nest....

Published on Wednesday July 12th, 2006


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Fri, Jul 14 2006 - 07:22 AM rating by marianne

Jean,
A very personal account. Will you be adding some pictures? I would love to see what the country looks like.

Thu, Jul 13 2006 - 04:51 PM rating by st.vincent

Great adventure and well writen, a joy to read

Thu, Jul 13 2006 - 12:35 PM rating by christianj.

Hi Jean,

indeed, that's a very good first report. Some more details, maybe helpful websites and, of course, some pictures could improve it furthermore. Welcome to GLOBOsapiens!!

Christian

Wed, Jul 12 2006 - 08:46 PM rating by downundergal

Bravo - good effort. It bought back memories, I agree Pinar del Rio is beautiful. We too experienced the same problems with accomm, food shortages and the electricity, don't even go there. I think your report would gain quite a bit if you could load up some pictures and move the accom & food info into the relevant headings and add more info on your other experiences. I agree Cuba is a harder destination to travel in than most places. Please don't take my comments the wrong way it is just a bit of advice. Cheers, Kerrie

Wed, Jul 12 2006 - 01:10 PM rating by isaacmolina

Information is very good for travelllers. I take note in case I go to holidays to Cuba. Thanka

Wed, Jul 12 2006 - 06:35 AM rating by rangutan

Baie mooi! A very different adventure and experience, I love to do sporadic and unplanned exploration too! A very good first report, well done. We hope some pictures may follow too?

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