December 4 – December 8, 2018
Day 56 -Day 60
Cuba. This country always interested us, my brother and me. It is a country full of mystery, apart from the world. We had many expectations about what we were gonna find. This is also why we decided to go there together.
Our first stop in Cuba is obviously the capital: La Habana. We succeed to go there from the airport by hitchhiking. We just had yo give up a t-shirt. Yes, in here, hitchhiking is not free and since people here are pretty poor, it’s always nicer to give something in exchange.
First thing we can see are the old ametican car from the 50th. Just as we saw it on the movies. In reality, these car are mainly owned by taxi, which charge more if you want a really beautiful car. But they are beautiful.
We find a nice hostel, not far from the center. We will stay at this place each time we stayed in La Habana, cause it is cheap and there are always other people from different countries. It’s a nice occasion to hang out, take some drink, go out, party, …
La Habana is divided in three part. The main touristic is Old Habana. It contains all the nice building, the nice street, the nice hotel, … there are also good restaurants and a few bars to hang out. We don’t wait long to try the cocktail here: Cuba libre, Mojito, Piña Colada. The local rhum Habana Club is also everywhere.
The second part is Central Habana, which is where our hostel is. This part is more local and “less beautiful”. The local lives there and we know that Cuban don’t have lots of money. So basically not everything is brand new. But the neighbourhood is nice and there are also some nice place to hang out and some cheap (and delicious) places to eat.
The last one is the Vedado. It’s where the colonial houses are. It’s a residential area, but mainly populated by rich cuban. The houses there are beautiful and it’s totally different. Over there is a place called the FAC: the Fabrica del Arte Cubano. It’s basically an art gallery, where you have also plenty of bars and live concert at night.
Even though we liked La Habana very much, we think we would have enjoy it better if we would not have been expecting it too much. We both think it is a bit overrated compared to what we can usually heard about it.
Mainly about the music. It is true that music over there is very important. You can hear the local music in all the bar and restaurant you pass by. But that’s all. We thought it would be more omnipresent.
Also, we heard so much that La Habana is a awesome place to party all night long everywhere. In reality, the bars works kind of the same as in all the Caribbean: they close quite early. We even found it hard one night to find a place to go, since there is not one big area crowded with bar.
In this country also, there are two different currency. The CUC: the tourist money. 1 CUC=1$. All the touristic restaurant (usually way overpriced) show the price in cuc.
And then you have the cup: the local money where 25cup=1cuc. The local places show there prices in cup, and thats usually where you can get the best food for your money.
But since the average salary is around 25cuc=25$, we understand why there is so much difference between the tourists and the locals. Even though it is probably the safest country in the world, people always try to trick tourists to get them more money. You just need to get used to it and to pay attention.
After La Habana, we wanted to head for the west of the island, to a city called Viñales. After trying to hitchhike, and finally trying to take a bus we missed, we end up taking a taxi with two Czech guys: Tomas and Scotty. We will end up spending 2 days together in Viñales.
Here is Cuba, many people host tourists in their home. It is a nice thing for foreigner to try being hosted by locals. We call it casa particulares. So we stay in a casa in Viñales with Tomas and Scotty.
Viñales is a really small city, more like a village, surrounded by tobacco and coffee field. There are many farmhouses, montains and caves. It is a perfect place to go hiking, wander around and discover the area. That’s what we did with Jean.
We also found a free cave where we enter a bit. We took a swim in a lake.
At night, we got back to the city to enjoy the nightlife of Viñales. The good thing about here is that, since it is a small village, everybody knows everybody. We enjoyed it really well. Jean also took some salsa lesson.
After this trip to Viñales, we decided to go more to the center of the island, with the cities of Varadero and Trinidad.