On The QT

Cuba, paradise, stuck in the 1950’s

Blogger: Denis

I went to Cuba with 3 friends. We spent an amazing week, sampling the sights and delights of CUBA. Staying in the Melia Cohiba Hotel in Havana, on the waterfront, we explored the sights of Havana. The first impression we got driving in from the airport was how old the countryside looked, this was even more pronounced in the city. It was like returning to the 1950’s, we concluded the motorists must be great mechanics, as all the cars looked like 50 year old American models.

The city of Havana, was one time a very cultural city with amazing architecture, but unfortunately crumbling.

After tours to the countryside visiting cigar factories and cities like Pinar del Rio, we felt it was time for some R&R, so we went to Varadero on the northern coast about 90 miles from Havana.

On the way to Vinales, in the province of Pinar del Rio to view an amazing mountain mural, we visit tobacco plantations and buy some Cuban cigars. Inland the day time temperatures are very high so it was very pleasant to visit underground caves.

Towards the end of our holiday we decided to visit one of the biggest resorts on the island, Varadero, in the province of Matanzas, about 90 miles east of Havana. The hotels are on a par with any in the Caribbean and the water is so clear and warm, the most pleasant beach experience I ever had. It was my first time swimming in the sea where I didn’t have to acclimatise myself to the cold before I went in, the water was so warm and so blue and the beach was so clean. We got a taxi to Varadero, who waited for us and brought us back to Havana that evening for €90. The taxi trip alone was interesting because it was like having our own private guide. Leaving CUBA after our week, we all felt lucky to see the place before it changes.

QT TIPS: Go there before it all changes and looses its uniqueness. Great places to eat are “casa provincials”, which are unofficial restaurants run by locals in their homes.

Describe the gem in 5 words: Weather, people, unique food and sights.

Favourite thing about Cuba: people, coffee, cigars.

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