Havana – Vinales – Trinidad – Varadero and back to Havana.
For the duration of my stay, I lived in casa particulares. They are essentially like airbnb’s, but you can’t necessarily book via internet. When you arrive at any bus stop, there will be a herd of people show casing their house to you. On one occasion I just walked around on the street and saw the sign for casa particulares and walked in. It was absolutely fine. I stayed at Casa Yara in Havana initially, I can’t recommend it enough. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I found it initially on Hostels.com
I went from beginning of June for about 10 days. Unfortunately, this is monsoon season in Cuba. The first few days were extremely rainy and therefore kind of annoying. Dry season is between November – April. August – October is hurricane season, so be aware!
Unfortunately, halal food is very unlikely in Cuba. In fact, I was probably the first Muslim a lot of people had ever met. I often got stopped in the street and asked whether I worshipped ‘That Allah’. There is some sea food but not a huge amount of vegetarian food unless you go to more touristy places. Most menu’s are in Spanish, so if you don’t speak it, downloading some form of an app is a must. I speak a bit of Spanish myself and that made things a whole lot easier.
- VINALES VINALES VINALES! Please go and spend some time there. I loved the greenery.
- Viazul – the bus system in Cuba. It was actually very convenient and reliable. I met other travellers on the bus and had good conversations whilst on the road.
- The beach of Varadero
- Horseback riding in Trinidad
- THE MALECON! Infamous beach promenade
- No WiFi – it was lovely just being able to completely disconnect and enjoy the world around me
- The atmosphere – people are constantly asking for activities to do in Cuba but being there in itself is a completely different experience. Everything around you is crumbling and Cubans live on unaffordable wage but they are resourceful and resilient.
- Although I felt safe at all times, you are constantly cat-called in Cuba if you are a woman by yourself. This can at times be very uncomfortable.
- NO WIFI. There are only certain places you can get wifi which you pay for by the hour. Which is good and bad in itself.
- Addresses in Cuba! They have a system similar to America and New york. None of that ever made sense to me.
- Because most people aren’t connected to the world wide Web, it can be difficult to find places to stay and sometimes you can be unlucky. I had booked in via my first host at another casa, as I arrived another lady told me she was the owner of that particular room but that it was now taken and that she would take me to another place similar to it. The place was not very clean, the breakfast was crap and I later found out that she had lied and that the actual casa owner had been waiting for me. Where there are tourists, there are scams.
- Got scammed in Trinidad for my horseback riding. I gave them too much change in the morning and was told that the guides taking us by horse would give me my change. At the end of the day, he told me that I was suppose to go back to the square. Of course the guy wasn’t at the square and I was leaving the next day so it really pissed me off.
- Treatment of horses – I booked on to this tour and when I saw the horses and how they treated them, I instantly felt bad. Get it through a reputable company and say no if the horses don’t look well looked after.
More details about each destination will follow x