The best of Cuba
Trip Start May 11, 2011
6Trip End May 23, 2011
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We meet a couple of American brothers on the bus who were both medical students at different stages in their residencies (one studied at Harvard and the other at Stanford!). They had both studied a bit in Latin America (Nicaragua and DR) so had decent Spanish and one also spoke creole from just finishing 8 months in Haiti
Anyway... we warned the Americans about the hustlers who awaited us at the bus stationin Trinidad and since they had no plan of attack they agreed to come with us to our recommended casa particulare and get a further recommendation for themselves
Our first day in Trinidad we hired a driver to visit the Valle de Los Ingenios where there are some scattered remains of old Sugar Mills. We climbed an old guard tower that was used to keep an eye on the slaves and afterwards we visited a couple of old haciendas converted into restaurants or small museums.
We then went to Playa Ancon on the southern coast, a true white sand, crystal blue water Caribbean beach. We swam, ate, drank, lazed, swam, got sunburnt and then headed back to town three hours later. The blueness of the water is incredible. I’ve grown accustomed to the crystal clear water of the Caribbean, but in Cuba it just seems so unbelievably blue as well
That night we wandered around the town just after the sunset, chatting with people and enjoying the easy going atmosphere of the town with the old cobbled streets and only very occasional car. Kids played soccer in the streets, Cubans sat on the doorsteps and artists and musicians sat around the squares. It is a wonderful town and deserves its must-see reputation. We stopped by the bus terminal and watched the same bus we had caught come in. We talked and laughed with the same mob members from the day before and it was great to see the friendly Cubans underneath the mob. We returned back to the casa and played dominoes with beer and rum on the rooftop balcony. We headed for our previously promised barbeque fish, which was a huge red snapper shared between two. Another delicious and cheap meal.
The next day the Americans headed back to Havana and Dave and I took another driver out to Topes de Callantes a small town with some hiking trails to waterfalls. We took the most popular and came close to dying on the 1hr uphill return. The heat was intense and the sweat was pouring from us. However, the waterfalls and beautiful swimming holes were probably worth the pain. However, full day hikes back in Australia have never wiped me out like that hike did. Back in Trinidad, we showered, slept and lazed about till dinner.