Updated: Jun 12, 2020
It's difficult to find the right way to share one of the best experiences in your life.
A magic island, still incredibly poor but extremely rich on a human level.
Cuba has been a dream destination for ages and the fact of living in Montréal transformed it into REALITY, easier in terms of distance and costs. Six roommates, six good friends eager to explore this genuine island, six little adventurers sure of making a great squad.
My initial image of Cuba was mostly related to its enchanting Caribbean beaches and natural landscapes.
But this island has a special soul that welcomes you right from the beginning.
You can feel its rhythm everywhere: in Havana's coloured streets when a musician takes your hand for a SALSA dance while you're walking, in a locally frequented bar of Playa Larga where the dj is whoever decides to connect its phone to the speaker, in a restaurant where the owner, a kind old lady, dances with her clients after the service. Cuba's RHYTHM comes from an improvised stage in the main square of a small village, it comes from each house and invades the streets passing through the windows, it comes from a group of Vinales farmers in their boots.
Cuba's rhythm is not only in their music, it's first of all in the hearts of its inhabitants.
We opted for an adventurous road trip through the Northern part of the island, our rucksacks on our back and eyes full of curiosity. We stayed in different ''CASAS PARTICULARES'' because we wanted to be in touch with the locals, to let them guide us through their country and to explore it with their genuine EYES. And this is how they opened their hearts to a group of young Europeans grown up in a totally different reality.
The most incredible thing is seeing these people dancing, singing and playing their traditional songs with an immense SMILE on their face, the one that they never leave.
No matter if food is rationed because of the Embargo, if they have to wait tomorrow to replace a dress which is now too small for their children, if a recent uragano destroyed their house, their job, their life. And that's the moment when you feel that your material richness is nothing compared to the richness of their SOUL.
We spent 10 incredible days moving to one village to the other and every night before going to bed the feeling was the same, as we couldn't tell what we enjoyed the most because everything was absolutely beyond our EXPECTATION. Horse riding in Viñales tabacco valley and learning about cigars production, admiring the colourful vintage cars in La Havana, snorkelling in Baya de los Cochinos, enjoying a Caribbean sunset while drinking a delicious pinacolada, observing crabs and starfish in the crystal clear Cayo Coco, dancing in a cave disco club in Trinidad... And believe me or not, everything according to local suggestions. The fact that internet is very limited on the island, makes the contact with locals easier.
I still have heart shaped eyes and a thrill in my soul every time I talk about Cuba to someone else. It's incredible how authentic and EMOTIONAL this travel has been for me and for the entire group.
Tu ritmo, tus sonrisas, tu belleza y riqueza de espìritu. Gracias Cuba.
Your rhythm, your smile, your beauty and rich soul. Thanks Cuba.
Here you can find some useful ideas for your next escape to Cuba!
Itinerary in 10 days
DAY 1 : Moròn for 2 days
Flight Montréal to Varadero with Air Transat and taxi to Moròn.
Accommodation at Leidy Laura Hostal
Breakfast, dinner & delicious mojitos all by Leidy and her husband.
Local driver to Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo & Playa Pilar.
Stop on our way back at Parador la Silla for a magic Pinacolada on the seaside.
DAY 3: Trinidad for 1 day
Same amazing driver to Trinidad.
Discovery of its artisanal markets, cobblestone streets and colourful houses, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Cantero and Santa Trinidad church.
Horse riding to Indigenous Valley and El Nilo Falls in the afternoon and Disco Ayala to dance on Carribbean beats in an underground cave!
Accommodation, breakfast & dinner at Las Tres Cruces
DAY 4: Cienfuegos for 1 day
Local taxi to Cienfuegos, the so called Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South).
Beach walk along the Malecòn, Celaya cathedral, San Martì park & Palacio de Valle.
Accommodation at Bentaiga-Galeto Hostal
Fish dinner at Brisas del Mar
DAY 5: Bahia de los Cochìnos for 2 days
Taxi to Playa Larga, the best snorkelling area of the island and an important historical reference during the Fidel Castro revolution against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
Bike rental to reach the unique Playa Giròn, a real piece of paradise.
Accommodation, diving experience & bike rental at Hostal Dona Yuli
Lunch at Tiki Restaurant