Trip to Cuba – What to see in 2 weeks

Cuba was the first country visited when I began my world tour in January 2011.

The much vaunted salsa, the sinuous movements of these bodies that all seem to have rhythm in their blood, Chan Chan gods Buena Vista Social Club always on my mind and an interesting and curious political question stimulated my fantasies for a long time until I decided that everything had to start from there.

My backpacking trip thus began one of the last communist countries remained in the world and about which we hear so much, where the tourist “is always right” and the local kept at a safe distance, where one gets confused with a double currency and where its inhabitants continue to praise Fidel Castro as if he were a God come down to earth and an enlightened one.

And I admit that if you hear him talk some thoughts about his “unnaturalness” arise since he was about to convince me too.
Havana it is probably the most beautiful city I have visited in my six months of travel between the Caribbean and Central America. What until then were just photos in my mind suddenly became reality and everything was as I imagined, no more.
Needless to say, seeing these colorful American cars from the 1950s made the city particularly fascinating, even if the air is a bit heavy and it sometimes seemed difficult to breathe, especially if I was in quite busy areas.

Il That e Fidel they are everywhere, in the squares, in art shops, in homes and shops.
In this regard, I was also lucky enough to participate in the pro-socialism demonstration organized by Cuban university students.
The show was evocative and at times moving.
I saw thousands of kids marching in front of me with torches created with beer cans or soft drinks and a piece of wood, cheering socialism and supporting Fidel.

For the first time I heard a sensible politicizing speech and above all made because you really believe in it.
In their words and their passion I felt a strong growing interest in this man who changed the fate of Cuba, whether for better or for worse I honestly no longer know.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to Santiago but this is the travel itinerary (classic I would say) that I followed.
Il the trip actually lasted 2 weeks to which I added 8 days that I spent in Havana at a casa particular managed by a family that in that period I considered as worthy surrogates for my loved ones left far away and who were close to me on days when I wasn’t very well.


children on the malecon

Havana must absolutely be the city where you start your trip to Cuba, it is a fascinating and decadent city but with a particular and unique charm.
Havana is a very safe city, as is actually the whole of Cuba, a woman who comes here alone will not have any problems of any kind apart from the usual catcalls but in fact you can rest assured when walking through the streets.
I highly recommend taking the tourist bus (CUC5) on the first day which will take you around the city for a whole day so you can have at least a general vision of the city and be able to orient yourself.

Havana is large and for example from the university area, where my casa particular was and which I recommend as it is safer than Old Havana, to get to the centre, let’s say the Capidoglio, it took at least 40 minutes walking.
Of course the walk was worth it, along the Malecon (a seafront that you will surely have seen in many films) but in fact I perceived the distances.

What not to miss in Havana? The colonial architecture of Old Havanaa walk along the Malecon, the baroque architecture of Great theater and the Bacardi Building, Revolution Square, and a trip to the Bodeguita del Medio, the famous bar where Hemingway drank Mohito. Maybe don’t drink it here since it costs 6CUC versus the usual 2 in other bars but it’s worth a visit.
I was then fascinated by the internal streets Main Squarea small square where second-hand books are sold and where I bought books on Fidel and Che.

If the weather is nice then a day at the beach l’Este Beach it is a must.
This is the beach of the Cubans in Havana and if you go in summer it will be full of clubs, if you go in winter, which for us will be as hot as in summer anyway, it will instead be a huge white, empty beach that spills out onto the beautiful sea of Caribbean.
To get there you can take a bus from the Gran Teatro square, cost 3CUC, the journey takes about 20 minutes.


varadero cuba

Varadero si o varadero no?

I had my doubts too. A famous place where you can’t find real Cubans and where resorts flourish instead, it wasn’t in my plans when the family who was hosting me recommended it to me at least for a day trip. Ticket forreturn bus 20CUC and left at 8 in the morning and returned at 9 in the evening. The trip from Havana takes 3 hours.

It was worth it? The sea is actually beautiful, it changed color as the position of the sun changed and it was the first Caribbean sea I saw, perhaps I wouldn’t recommend it since there are plenty of beautiful beaches in Cuba but it’s still the first Caribbean sea of ​​my life, I can only have a special and exciting memory.

For the rest I have to say that it was very disappointing, a series of tourist villages one after the other and grey, but perhaps it was the time and the period since it was also very empty.

Pinar del Río

mural of prehistory cuba

Pinar del Rio is located 162 kilometers east of the Havana region and is the area famous for tobacco plantations, where real Cuban cigars are bought and you can see how they are made.

Pianar del Rio hosts two natural reserves protected by UNESCO and in which in one, Vinales Valleyyou can see limestone caves that appear almost everywhere and are a popular destination for climbers.
In Vinales there is also a large modern rock painting called el Prehistory Mural and in this area people live as in the past, without electricity, hot water and other modernities.

Among the numerous underground caves, the most famous is the Cueva del Indio whose river can be crossed by boat with a guided tour.
This area of ​​Cuba is perhaps the one most linked to Fidel than the others, perhaps thanks to the fact that here we live mainly from tourism which has made the locals of this area extremely favorable to this policy.
Here the prices of private homes are much lower than in Havana, you can get up to CUC15 per night. Don’t forget mosquito repellent

Hundred fires

El Nicho Cuba

Beautiful Cienfuegos. Colonial architecture and colorful buildings in pastel tones make the streets elegant and clean. Here a neoclassical style merges with Cuban architecture. Cienfuegos province is located near the mountains, a visit to the waterfalls of The Niche it is a must, and the sea, rancho Luna is the closest beach but if trips are organized you can get up to Giron Beach.
With my sister and two boys we met we took a taxi driven by the legendary Miguel who drove us far and wide with Cienfuegos as his fixed base.

Saint Clare

Che's Mausoleum

And it is here that Che’s mausoleum is located, an imposing tomb where Fidel wanted to praise his friend and best Argentine fighter.
The mausoleum is divided into 2 areas which can be visited for free. The first where there is the tomb of Che and his companions who died in Bolivia and 14 fighters killed in Guatemala. The second instead houses photos and objects that belonged to Ernesto Guevara and which document the time in which he was a doctor during the 1956 landing with Fidel.

Santa Clara is a university center that is growing quickly, it is located in the hills and here for those who want you can study Spanish at really affordable costs, 2 weeks for 200CUC


Trinidad Cuba

I think it’s my favorite city, it’s small and easy to get around on foot and every corner is a discovery. The colors of the walls of the houses are bright and the houses here are not only less expensive than those in Havana but are also beautiful internally. The rooms are generally very large, some have external patios where it is pleasant to work, read a book or simply rest.
Trinidad has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and when you go there you understand why.
I admit that it is very touristy, you certainly don’t have difficulty finding a casa particular since there are them everywhere and they are more beautiful than the other.

Generally speaking, for 25CUC you can have a spacious room with breakfast and dinner (lobster YES!) included. If you are good and you are a solo traveler you can bargain for something less. Then obviously if you are in the long term you can get a better price. I stayed overnight at the Nairobi house and had a great time.

Here there is also the famous La Cueva nightclub which was built right inside a mountain and I admit that it is a bit impressive but absolutely worth seeing and maybe doing a dance with one of the local dancers.
DaTrinidad with a cocotaxi and a 15 minute ride can get you to the beach Playa Ancon which I found beautiful but quite touristy and full of hotels and Canadians on holiday.

From Trinidad go back to Havana and enjoy a few evenings in the clubs listening and dancing salsa and drinking a mohito or find some jazz music event, another very famous musical genre in Cuba and which in my opinion is really worth seeing.

mine Cuba

In general I believe that Cuba is not only beautiful but has something extremely stimulating, a vitality mixed with sadness and resignation.
I found it to be a strong and divided country. Huge, cheerful smiles mixed with a feeling of slavery. People feel like slaves to a system they respect, to a country they love and for which “Hasta la Victoria” and “Patria o Muerte” is something that is not just part of the myth but is instead reality.

Cuba gave me a lot to think about, I was torn between my likes/dislikes, I would go back/I wouldn’t go back, I’m poor/I’m not.
Paradoxically I believe that this particular political situation makes Cuba particularly fascinating, you travel through time and disconnect (in every sense given that the internet is practically non-existent) for your entire stay and you re-learn how to stay busy doing things even without Internet.

My advice? Go now that Fidel is still alive and experience the characteristic and typical Cuba which I believe will soon change (good for them).
To find out how much it costs to travel to Cuba and some tips for traveling to Cuba low cost you can read the article Traveling to Cuba Low Cost.
And now all you have to do is listen to this and start dreaming of Cuba…

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