Monday, 31 December 2012

Cuba ... heading west

All to soon it was time to leave Havana and head west to explore the Pinar del Rio province.

We travelled through the national park on Peninsular de Guanahacabibes to the spectacular Maria la Gorda. This is a very remote beach which is the base for some of the best diving in Cuba.

It was a tough few days here ....

Please disregard the different coloured toe nails!

Eventually I dragged myself off my sun lounge and headed to Vinales.

The road trip was fun, stopping off to check out a rum factory, a cigar factory and eat street pizza with the locals.

This small town is nestled in Valle de Vinales which was declared a world heritage site in the 90's for it's rocky outcrops and amazing architecture of traditional farms and villages. We stopped at a look out on the way into town to admire the view.

I settled into Casa Pippa & Myra, my home stay for the next three days. While I don't speak spanish I soon felt at home. It may be because Myra reminded me so much of Grace, my friend Tannie's mum!

We went for a big walk out of town, through different farms and popped through a cave. The landscape is spectacular.

But even more amazing was watching the farmers at work. No machines for these guys, it's horse or oxen power all the way. It's not strange to see a farmer head through town on a horse and cart, wearing is cowboy hat.

We stopped at a coffee and tobacco farm. Yes, I know, my kinda place. While the coffee pot was set to boiling on the wood stove the old lady who ran the farm whipped up a cigar. Her speed was incredible, one minute there were some tobacco leaves, the next minute she was puffing away. So I joined in, it would have been rude not to really.

We also stopped at another farm where there was a fresh juice stall. Nothing like fresh pineapple juice right from the source.

Climbing up the rocks and through a dark cave we came out to an amazing view. And it was loads of fun climbing around in my havai's. Those flip flops make for mighty fine climbing boots!

The next day we popped to the beach, about and hour and a half from town. The beach was amazing and the water was so very clear.

We also visited a farm that has been given UNESCO funding due to the array to produce and how it is farmed. We could have played in the dirt with the farmer but I chose to relax on the balcony and sip cocktails before having a yummy home cooked meal. I think this family should get UNESCO funding for their cocktail making skills .... mmm they were good.

Evenings were spent at an open air salsa bar. Now while I suck at salsa I loved watching the locals strut their stuff. Never have I seen people so happy to dance. If the men ran out of partners they danced together. I think this was preferable than trying to teach us gringos the moves!

The locals in this town live a very basic life but they are some of the nicest and happiest people I had ever met. Its amazing what a bit of salsa, Cuban rum and a cigar or two can do to keep the smiles on peoples faces.

 This is a ration store, not much on offer....

While I was only in Cuba for 8 days, it was long enough to know that I will be back for sure.

More photos
Cuba - Maria La Gorda &Vinales

1 comment:

  1. great blog! Keep it up!!! Besos Natalia