Project Description

Cuba

Scrolling through the internet, I found and contacted CubaExplorer several months ago and they offered a trip to Cuba, including cab, driver, and guide. Cindy and I jumped on it.  Very relaxed, nice places to stay, lots to see, and good food. Havana, cigars, Vinales, Trinidad de Cuba, beaches, and points in between, well worth the time.  One sound that will forever be in my ears is the sound of a “taxi” pulled by a single horse, trotting musical notes of their hooves on the payment. 

Now that the Castro (Fidel and Raul) regime is gone, maybe things will thaw between the US and Cuba.  I’d like to see an easier time travelling because it’s such a culturally rich and beautiful landscape (including the old buildings), the use of US credit cards would be nice (which at this time is not an option), food (the presentation was top notch but quality of meats were substandard), and cell phone use was difficult even though Florida is only 50 miles from Cuba.  Regardless, the sights and sounds of Cuban culture and history are fascinating. 

We began in Havana and spent two other stays there, travelling west and east.  Many old structures, some clean areas, some trashy areas, but always sights that helped us learn and understand the history.  Castro, Che Guevara, and Cienfuegos left their marks. Fidel et. al got Cuba away from the mafia and Batista. I suspect most of the animosity between Cuba and the US is the fact the Castro regime was communist. 

After a few nights in Havana, we travelled west to Vinales.  The famous tabaco country.  Visited a cigar finca, bought some cigars, and smoked my first genuine hand rolled Cuban cigar.  Wonderful stuff.  Also did some field excursions around Vinales, the land of the Mogotes, limestone hills with near vertical cliffs.  Saw the Cuban Trogon, Cuban Tody, and other endemics.  While visiting Trinidad de Cuba we saw the “smallest hummingbird in the world”, the bee hummingbird.  Wish I felt better (got sick for several weeks) because I would have taken more excursions into jungles, the seashore, and possibly marlin fishing in the Straits of Florida, think Islands in the Stream by Hemingway.   

Cuba Explorer took care of all the required documents, kept us very busy sampling sights and sounds, art, food and culture with an excellent guide, Gretel.  I highly recommend the company and our guide if you decide to go.  Imagine being toured around Cuba with your personal guide, sitting in the back seat of a vehicle watching the scenery pass you by. 

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