I suppose if you have viewed all of the pictures you may wonder why I
describe our holiday in Cuba as a "sorry experience". Havana was
fantastic, our days were full sight-
and all the bits in between.
We decided that using public transport in Cuba would be too slow and difficult and so we hired a car and booked 2 nights on the island Cayo Levisa just 200km from Havana.
It soon became apparent that once out of Havana road directions and street signs became pretty much non-
to spare we decided just to check it out. On reaching to port we thought we would confirm our reservation because we only had a reference number and no print out. And guess what, the man at the port said we had no reservation and we needed a hard copy of the email. Great, internet cafes were few in Havana and now we are in the sticks. We were recommended to try Vinales and off we go on a wild goose chase. No internet cafe and someone suggests Pinar de Rio. The Rough Guide book clearly warns of the 'jineteros' particularly if you are in a rental car. Full points scored and as soon as we arrived became their target but managed to avoid their full attention. Found the internet cafe, got the hardcopy and drive back to Cayo. No good even this could not convince them that not only had we booked but had also paid. Come back tomorrow they said and you can stay one night and no amount of arguing made in difference. By now it's 5:00pm and still nowhere to stay but during our travels that afternoon it became obvious that places to stay were, like the road signs, pretty much non-
Nipped across to the petrol station where the same guy who helped us wouldn't serve me because I'm English but go back with Ramone from our shack and he would serve me. Bloody wonderful!!
Well, back at the port the following day and they still insist we can only stay one night but once on the island we are given a ticket for 2 nights, what a result ... until, after a bad night's rest due to faulty air-
without a plan. It does look beautiful though and it was.
Cienfuegos via Santa Clara & Trinidad.
A new plan and somewhat hasty one at that. We'll go to Santa Clara, stay overnight and then head to Trinidad. The journey there down the Autopista was delightfully uneventful, except for the flat X road sign which I recognised but couldn't place, until the poor car hit this serious unlevel level crossing at 130kph and the tyres and the road parted company and with a resounding crash re-
deposit and probably the excess. But never mind it's looks alright and it's still going. Over-
I haven't mentioned yet the food and to be honest it's crap, grilled meat and beans, Jo's a veggie and by now she just wants something different but that doesn't happen. Now, and seemingly, nothing goes pear shaped apart from the guy trying to get into our room half way through the night. The beach at Varadero really is quite amazing and apart from the surly Cubans we really enjoyed it.
Playa la Este via Rio Canimar.
For some strange reason we decide to visit Rio Canimar and there's very little to say about it except for that the hotel was just as expected. poorly maintained and scruffy not to mention the most depressing restaurant I have ever had the misfortune of visiting. We only stay one night before moving on the Playa la Este, our last stop before returning to Havana. Our guide book points out that you will see more beer cans than fish on the Playa la Este and it's a very true!! The receptionist at the hotel was delighted to tell us that our room had hot water but actually for the first few hours we had neither hot nor cold water. Again, wonderful beach and amazing sea but again the hotel was rubbish and let's not forget the Security Guards arriving late in the evening to sell us cigars. Still it's become all that we expected.
and back to Havana
Back in Havana and just a couple of days to kill. That is how we felt, just wanted out and get away from surly staff, second rate accommodation, everybody to speaks to you ends and sentence with "Give me a dollar" and the most boring food.
And finally, thanks to Elaine, someone else's opinion and I quote "We found it very difficult and felt ill-