Cuba – I love you! 😍
First of all – Cuba has really conquered my heart! It was a wonderful time, which I wouldn’t exchange for anything in the world! Many thanks to all the great people who made this trip to something very special! In no other country, I have felt so quickly like being at home!
Cuba Tip 1: In Cuba, traveling is very easy! You don’t have to worry about how to get to your destination or where to spend the night 😉 I strongly recommend that you book a Casa Particular for your first nights. Your host will be happy to organize a transfer to your next destination and will recommend you a place to stay if necessary 🙂 I have already looked up a few Casas for our different locations in advance. The experiences in all Casas were incredibly good!
We arrived at Havana and did a round trip in the north of Cuba. I also thought about renting a car before… but on Cuba, it is definitely much easier and also highly recommended to use the local transport 🙂 Very many Cubans offer a transfer in their small car 😉
Cuba Tip 2: We have been traveling exclusively with the so-called Taxi Colectivos. The transfer may seem a bit expensive (compared to the other prices in Cuba), but a big advantage is that the taxis are much faster than the tourist buses and also pick you up directly from your accommodation and drop you off in front of your new accommodation. This way you save valuable vacation time! For me, the time was much more important than the few dollars saved 😛
Cuba Tip 3: If you are lucky, your Taxi Colectivo is even equipped with air conditioning 😀 If you catch one, you can exchange contact details with the driver and maybe even book him for your next transfer 🙂
Let’s go on a new adventure! 🙂
Where to stay and what to eat in Cuba?
I know I’m repeating myself… 😀 But there are really so many great people and families in Cuba, so be sure to stay in one of the Casas! Many Cubans know each other and will be happy to help you make your stay as you want it to be 🙂
Cuba Tip 4: Some Cubans can even arrange private tours with friends that are really special and not an average touristic-tour! We have done such a tour in Vinales. Many thanks again to Pedro! If you also want to go to Vinales, I can highly recommend Pedro’s Casa! But all the others were superb too! 🙂
Many Casas offer breakfast as well. We enjoyed the wonderful breakfast several times! Unfortunately, the fruits at home don’t taste that good at all 🙁
And here are 2 more pictures of 2 families that we especially loved 💕 On the left is Pedro 🙂 and on the other picture are Consuelo and Ezequiel, with whom we spent a few days in Varadero. Here we had our own bartender 😀 These were really the best cocktails we had in Cuba! 😍🍸
At this point, I would like to address all the people who say that food in Cuba tastes so bad… What do you eat all day? 😀 Well, I really liked the food very, very much!
Cuba Tip 5: If you have problems with your stomach, you should avoid meat. If you can’t do without it, you can also ask your host where you can eat meat best 🙂 Otherwise, we have eaten mostly fish (which is also super tasty and cheap in Cuba!) and only had meat twice. We had no problems during or after our stay in Cuba 🙂
And here some impressions of delicious food in Cuba (I’m getting hungry again :D)
And of course, there were some tasty drinks in between 🍻 😛
Cuba Tip 6: In Vinales you definitely have to visit the 3J Tapas bar! You can order a great Pina Colada here… you choose from which rum you would like to have with it…. and you get the whole bottle put on the table and can refill as often as you like 😀 Even though rum is cheap in Cuba, you should not overdo it 😛
As you can see, you will hopefully neither starve nor die of thirst in Cuba 😀 I am already looking forward to my next trip to Cuba! 🙂
Havana, ooh na-na 😛 💃
We finally made it to Havana! 🙂 And to be honest, the first impression was not as great as it always looks on the pictures. The city is huge! And the air is incredibly dirty! We arrived at night and got some tips from our host for the next day. Therefore we started quite early in the morning 🙂
Cuba Tip 7: Near the Capitol, there are a lot of classic cars, which are not only a great photo motive, but can also be used for a short city tour 🙂 We made a tour right away to get an overview of the city (and of course we wanted to drive in such a beautiful classic car 😀 ). With the price, you should definitely do something. But don’t negotiate too much… the driver has to make stops at certain places and even has to pay some money for that… We tipped our driver afterwards because he was really very friendly and attentive 🙂
Cuba Tip 8: Oh, before I forget, you can buy an internet-card at different places in the city (often in bigger hotels 😉 ). With one card you can dial in for 1 hour (you don’t have to use the hour all at once) and so you can call home in between 😉 All in all you don’t have to worry about missing internet in Cuba 😉 There is actually everywhere the possibility to go online for a short time. Besides, you should switch off and enjoy the time during your vacation! 🙂
Most of the sights are located in the old town… you will notice that relatively quickly by the prices 😀
Cuba Tip 9: I would still recommend you to book accommodation nearby because you can reach everything very quickly by walking. We stayed 2 nights at the beginning of our trip and another 1 night at the end in Havana. The last night we booked a little bit off the beaten track and thus got to know another side of Havana 🙂
Of course, Havana does not only have the Capitol and the Classic Cars 😉 Just let yourself drift and turn into some smaller alleys 😉 You’ll find all kinds of surprises here, from umbrellas in bright sunshine to dogs keeping neighborhood watch from the balcony 😀
Needless to say, there are also delicious cocktails in Havana! Typical for Cuba is the Mojito – we even found the perfect variation for me as a German beer lover 😀
Cuba Tip 10: You have to try the great mojito with beer at La Vitrola! 😀
Music is also characteristic of Cuba! Just sit outside and enjoy the music and the atmosphere! Here you will forget about the time very fast 🙂
Cuba Tip 11: If you need a short cooldown, you can go to the IBEROSTAR Parque Central. Here you can enjoy an incredible view from the infinity pool 🙂 We also had a few cocktails there and took a short break.
Right behind the Capitol is China-Town. Here you can get very good food 🙂 But due to the heat, we were not really hungry 😀
All in all, Havana really is an impressive city, but you have to find your way around it for a while 😀 You don’t have to feel insecure here at any time 🙂 The people are all very nice and not pushy at all. Now we went on to Vinales 😍 with the Taxi Colectivo.
Viñales – my favorite place in the world! 🌄
As the headline already indicates, Vinales has been my absolute highlight in Cuba! The air is good (especially if you are arriving from Havana :D), the people are incredibly friendly, there is a nice market and many nice bars and restaurants. The whole life takes place in a long street in the center of the village 🙂 There is even a small nightclub 😛 You will find new friends here very quickly 🙂
Cuba Tip 12: Pedro gave us really great tips! Among other things the botanical garden 🙂 Here you get a small guided tour through the beautiful garden for free 🙂 In the end, you can leave a voluntary donation for the owners if you want to 🙂 Very interesting!
Walking through the Botanical Garden, you will notice what makes Vinales so special… the incredible landscape and nature! If you walk a little bit out of the village, it looks simply gorgeous! Pedro has drawn us a small map of the area 🙂
If you want to get out of the village you have 4 options to move around:
- Take the bus (not recommended, because until today I did not understand when and where it runs 😀 ).
- Take a taxi (price to be negotiated in advance 😉 )
- Rent a bike (highly recommended! 🙂 ) – Pedro has put some at our disposal.
- Take a little more time and walk!
Cuba Tip 13: Another tip from Pedro was to watch the sunset from the terrace of Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso 🙂 Really gorgeous and beautiful!
Cuba Tip 14: We made a bicycle tour to the Hotel Los Jazmines! The way there is really exhausting because it is very mountainous 😀 But when you reach the top you will be rewarded with an unbelievable great view and a cool pool (in exchange for a small fee)! 🙂
We relaxed here for a few hours and had a few cocktails in the meantime 😛 In the hotel you can also buy some internet-cards if you want to check in at home in between 🙂
I hope I could already give you some idea why Vinales has fascinated me so much! And the best is yet to come…
BEST TRIP! Night hike and breathtaking sunrise! 😍
Once again a recommendation from Pedro 😀 An old school friend of his picked us up very early in the morning and walked with us into the jungle. On the way there it was very dark and we had no orientation at all 😀 But we had some very interesting and nice conversations 🙂 After about 45-60 minutes we arrived at our destination 🙂 On a small mountain there was only a cabin where you can stay overnight and a horse in the middle of nature. The owner of the cabin made us a super delicious fresh coffee and then we could just enjoy the beauty of the moment!
Thank you very much for the great photo of us! 😍 We have printed the picture on canvas at home 🙂
This place is really magical! Simply breathtakingly beautiful… I can’t find the words to describe it 🙂
I also had my little crystal ball with me again, which caused a lot of attention 😀 If I had known that many Cubans also like to take pictures, I would have taken 2 or 3 balls more and left them there as a little present 🙂
Cuba Tip 15: You can also ask your host in advance if you can bring them a little something 🙂 Among other things we brought a hairdryer 😛 Some items are very expensive and very hard to get there. The Cubans are very grateful for such small things!
The hike back was another highlight! Now we could marvel at the beauty of nature, which was still hidden on the way there. On the way back we also passed a small tobacco farm.
The farmer is a super likeable and really authentic Cuban! A real handsome guy! I would definitely recommend you to listen to his exciting stories and take some time for a little conversation 🙂 You will learn a lot of interesting things! For example that the good man smokes 6-10 cigars a day 😀
After the production was explained to us, we could convince ourselves of the quality 🙂 The cigar was sprinkled a little bit with honey at the bottom. That made the taste really interesting for me! 🙂 You also have the possibility to buy some cigars here and support the local people 🙂 The packaging alone looks cool and is worth it, isn’t it? 😀
In a stylish classic car, we headed back to Vinales.
But not without stopping at the Mural de la Prehistoria 🙂 We tried to find it ourselves the day before and failed miserably 😀 When we told our guide about it he had to laugh and immediately offered to drive by there again 🙂 A wonderful excursion!
The farewell from Vinales and Pedro was really hard for me 🙁 I would have liked to stay here even longer! However, Cuba offers just still so much more to discover! So let’s go on to Trinidad 🙂
Trinidad – colonial atmosphere & Cuban charm 💗
We have heard many good things about Trinidad! And it has really been confirmed! A very, very beautiful city. Much less tourism than in Havana and also the air is much more pleasant 😀
Trinidad is not really big, but you can still get lost quickly 😀 Lured by the colorful houses and other things you turn right, left, right and in the end, you don’t really know where you are anymore. But don’t worry, you will find your way back somehow and in case of need just ask where the Casa de la Musica is 🙂 This is a very central place, from where you can orientate yourself very well!
Here you can find internet spots again, as you can easily see on the right picture 😀
In Trinidad, we ate lobster for the first time (which is extremely cheap in Cuba!) 🙂
Cuba Tip 16: Near the Casa de la Musica is a small restaurant (whose name I forgot – for reasons 😀 ), with a rooftop bar. There is Happy Hour all day long and in the evening there is live music 🙂 We met a Spanish couple with whom we spent a very nice evening here! 🙂 The fact that they knew Spanish helped us a lot 😀 I don’t know what was in the cocktails, but they were delicious! 😀
I think the pictures describe Trinidad best 🙂 If you want to buy souvenirs, they are a little bit cheaper in Trinidad than in Havana 😉 Another advantage of Trinidad is the proximity to a beautiful beach (finally our first-time sea in Cuba 🙂 😀 ) – the Playa Ancon! You can also start from Trinidad in direction of the jungle 🙂 Of course, we didn’t miss out on either 😛
Horse Riding 🐴 & Playa Ancon ☀ 🌧
First of all, I would like to say that we actually said explicitly that we did not want to ride horses because we have had very bad experiences with them before. In the Dominican Republic, the horses were very poorly fed and the trails were also very rocky and steep… you didn’t really feel very good there… But to our surprise there were horses and we went for a ride into the jungle. But the horses here looked much better. The trails were also better and in between, we made some breaks. So I just hope that I was not too much of a burden for my horse 😀
The tour itself was really nice 🙂 But also much longer than discussed before 😀 So
Cuba Tip 17: Do not trust the providers in Trinidad 😀 We should be back in Trinidad at 13 o’clock and then actually planned to go to the beach… But we were back at about 16 o’clock 😛
At least we met Alicia and Carlos on the tour and had a nice afternoon and evening with them 🙂
On the tour, we could also drink freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. Very tasty! 🙂 And a little cooling under a waterfall was also included 🙂 Don’t forget your swimwear! While swimming there was even live music from the shore 😛
Nevertheless, the waterfall for me was no comparison to swimming in the sea at Playa Ancon 😍
The easiest and fastest way to get to the beach from Trinidad is by Taxi Colectivo. Tell your driver when you want to be picked up again 🙂 But please do not keep him waiting 😉
The weather in the Caribbean can be a bit crazy. We had a change from a blue sky and heavy rain showers within a few minutes 😀
But that was no problem for me, actually the opposite 😀 It was still nice and warm 😛 And I love being in the water when it rains 😍
On the beach, you can of course also eat delicious food and enjoy a cocktail 🙂 A very nice beach, which is only a few minutes away from Trinidad!
Oh, a funny story I still have to tell… We caught a very funny Cuban as driver 😛 On the way back he recognized 2 friends in the distance and waved them over. I did not understand a word but they were all very happy and laughed out loud 😀 One of them had a bottle in his hand. It was supposed to be “real” self-distilled Cuban rum. We should all toast once and drink together… there were four of us in the car and the bottle did not make it to the second person… 😀 The reason – the reaction of the first person did not necessarily promote the rum 😀 I guess the rum was very very strong 😀 Our driver and the two other Cubans had a lot of fun 😀
Varadero – gorgeous beaches! 🏖
In the end there were once again dream beaches and pure relaxation! 😍 Furthermore, we had the special luck to have a real bartender in our Casa 🙂 The two are really a great couple! They both spoke very little English and we spoke very little Spanish – but somehow it worked out anyway 😀 And we even sat together for so long in the evening that the favorite telenovela has been canceled for us 😛
The beach is really one of the most beautiful I have been to in my life! Friends we met on the drive to Varadero (and recently visited in Vienna – many greetings to Marlene and Jorge at this point :P) spent one night in a hotel. The hotels are a bit further up and are probably not very recommendable.
In any case, I was perfectly happy 😀 The last days flew by 🙁
After so much relaxing I would have been ready to explore the south of Cuba… Next time I just have to bring more time with me! 🙂
In Varadero, there was not so much going on at that time. In La Bodeguita Del Medico we had delicious food and cocktails (but no comparison to our bartender at home 😛 )
Cuba Tip 17: I especially liked the small brewery Factoria Varadero 43 cerveceria. Really very tasty beer! ( At the top of the post there is also a picture of the beer 😛 ) For dinner the Paladar Nonna Tina was our favorite restaurant 🙂 Both were recommendations from our hosts 🙂
As a thank you for the nice time and the nice conversations we also brought a pizza for take-away for our Cuban family 🙂 The next morning we got a giant avocado for breakfast 😀 And another avocado for take-away 😀 All the fruits we had were from the garden at home – and you could taste that 🙂 We are very grateful for the time and hope to see you again 🙂
Cuba will definitely remain in my memory for a long time! A wonderful holiday, which in all the hectic pace of life can slow you down a bit 🙂 Here you really get to know, appreciate and love the people! The landscape, nature, the beaches, the architecture, and the culture… everything is breathtakingly beautiful! But most precious are the connections I have built up and which still accompany me today 🙂 Only one thing remains to say – Cuba – I love you!