Existing Member?

Travel Adventure - Backpacking Latin America's Gringo Trail Backpacking Latin America starting in Cuba, then travelling from East to the west coast of Mexico before making our through Central and finishing in South America.


CUBA | Friday, 19 June 2015 | Views [483] | Comments [1]

We shared a taxi again with our Irish friends to Varadero. We had another incident with the cab drivers who tried to charge us $130 CUC when it should have been $90 all up as he agreed on 45CUC for both Matt and I the day before. Luckily we had the slip of paper which he filled out and agreed upon the day before. Ooooh he said, now remembering who we were. Now it was our turn to laugh at him. He still tried to bargain us up to 100CUC but I didn't want a bar of it when we already did the bargaining yesterday and reached a price we agreed on. They must just say any price, totally over what it should be and hope the tourists say yes. I'm sure we had been ripped off plenty of times but I didn't want to let down this fight.

He eventually agreed on 95 and the Irish couple didn't mind paying the 50. We hugged Etha and Allen goodbye once we arrived at our Casa and they were on their way to an all inclusive hotel. I hope the rest of their honeymoon is better than what it had been and more of what they imagined it to be. 
When we arrived at our Casa we found out it was double booked as the people staying there had decided to stay an extra night but the lady was very nice and had organised alternate accommodation with her friends down the road. Matt and I saw glimpses of the aqua blue water as we were driving in and after the hot taxi ride, we dying for a swim in the water. We went straight there and were blinded by how white the sand was (the glare was amplified by not being able to wear sunnies as Matt sat on mine the first day of our trip and broke them - I am still yet to come across another pair i like to buy haha) but the swim in the ocean was just what we needed and was so refreshing to be fully immersed  in the water and dive right under. We layed on the sand for a little bit then went for a little walk to see what was around. When we got back to the Casa I realised how burnt my back was. Even though we were only laying there for half an hour, I forgot it is Winter in Australia and that my body actually hasn't seen the sun in ages!
That evening we stayed in, both not feeling well. My head cold still lingering and Matt had already passed his cold to me but started to feel sick in the stomach, he didn't even want to eat dinner, which was weird for Matt. That night he threw up and was sick, which I think was from an off piece of chicken he ate earlier on for lunch. I felt sorry for him. 
We both still weren't 100% the next day so we laid down in the cooler shade of the trees at the beach which was nice as it was so hot and humid. We went for a swim and just hung around for the rest of the afternoon and went to bed early, Matt still didn't have his appetite back and skipped dinner again.
The next day we wanted to see what else there was in Varadero as we had only hung around close to our Casa coz of our low energy and being sick. Feeling a little better we hailed down one of the old 1950s American cars which had a convertible roof and asked the driver to take us to the very end of the peninsula where we thought we could spend the day at the beach and maybe get some food, a drink later on for lunch or dinner and if we could find access to an internet to maybe book our accommodation when we land in Cancun the next day. Our day didn't really go to plan. The taxi ride was fun, cruising around with the Cuban sun on our faces and wind blowing through our hair but when we were dropped to the end we weren't allowed access to the beach by a security guard even though we could see the water right in front of our eyes. We would be trespassing the hotel grounds. Fair enough, as all the hotels in Varadero were all inclusive so we walked along and were happy to see a street that led to the beach. We saw where the people in the hotels were living it up, laying on sun beds and getting served drinks by waiters. We weren't sure if we would be allowed to walk past the hotels along the beach because it would be their 'property' but it seemed we were allowed to as we walked along. We could have stopped to then find a spot on the sand and spend the day at the beach but the wind was up so we just decided to enjoy the walk with our feet dipped in the water on each step and look at the people in the hotels playing volleyball, relaxing under umbrellas and dance music blaring on the beach as we went past. We walked for about 3 hours stopping for a swim once to cool off about half way along. I was starting to get 'hangry' as Matt puts it, which there was no denying. I was enjoying the walk but now after 3 hours, I was hungry (we weren't allowed to eat at the restaurants unless we were guests of the hotels), hot, sunburnt, dehydrated as we were near the end of our water and it had turned warm and my feet hurt. I just wanted to get back to the Casa. We tried to exit through a hotel and asked the waiter in the restaurant for directions to the Main Street so we could get a taxi back and he pointed for us to go through the hotel to the front entrance and the main road would be there for us to hail a cab (which are not hard to find in Cuba - normal cars which don't have a taxi sign seem to be taxis). Anyway as we were in sight of the Main Street at the entrance to the hotel the security guard stopped and told us we could pass this way. What? The main road was literally 20 steps in front of us, but we couldn't cross that line. Which is weird, you think they would want us off their property since we weren't paying to be there. Another nicer security guard who tried to let us get through initially led us back to the beach and through Spanish we didn't understand and a few hand gestures he tried to inform us where there was a path that would lead us to the main road. We took another wrong turn, then finally found the path and was relieved to just sit in the cab and take us back to our Casa! What an ordeal! 
We relaxed and had dinner at our Casa that night (well I did, matt still hadnt got his appetite back) which was better than trying to find somewhere in the rain. Unfortunately we never got to the Internet so we were in the same boat in finding accommodation in Cancun as we were when we landed in Havana, rain and all! 
Cuba was an interesting place, which I just couldn't seem to work out or completely feel relaxed in. Not that it was scary, it was actually very safe! I didn't really know what to expect and its a place very hard to describe. Id heard so many great things about it from people who had been before i left, i was eager to see what it was like, although a few differing stories too. I think it's a place you either love or hate and I think I sat about in the middle. The buildings were raw with beauty but also old and crumbling down. The homes and people we stayed with in the Casa's were so friendly and kind and lovely and made you feel at home within their home, even if you couldn't speak their language. I really enjoyed that aspect. You stepped back in time in this Communist country with little access to Internet, horse and carts still being used etc and the way of life was different but also intriguing and people were happy to live modestly. It has made me want to find out more about the Revolution and it was great to see Castro's Cuba before it becomes too Westernised with the lift of the embargo from America and there are a McDonalds around every corner!  I couldn't completely open up to Cuba but it was a bizarrely beautiful place and very intriguing. 

Tags: 1950s american cars, beach, caribbean, cuba, resorts, sea, swimming, varadero



haha sheree I totally understand "hangry" in that situation! So frustrating.

  Gai Jun 19, 2015 7:53 PM



Travel Answers about Cuba

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.