Cuba.

We spent the first two weeks of April in Cuba. We booked through Rickshaw Travel, an independent company who specialise in tailor made holidays. Our flights were booked through KLM and we travelled via Amsterdam from Birmingham to Havanna.
We travelled from the airport to Havanna in style.

Our transport from the airport seen parked outside our first Casa

These classic cars are ubiquitous around Cuba and our journeys in them were included in our booking. They are treasured by their owners who have often inherited them. Their continued presence is due to the ingenuity of their owners, as spare parts are difficult to come by.
Havanna was wonderful. Faded Spanish Colonial splendour fabulously untainted by modern tourism. You also feel perfectly safe wandering the picturesque streets, even at night. We enjoyed a classic car and walking tour with a very informative guide. She was well educated and provided us with historical and local perspectives. She was optimistic about the future.
Streets of Havanna
Our transport for the morning
The Malecon
Lovely buildings

We stayed two nights initially in Havanna and then travelled by air conditioned coach to Trinidad, on the South West coast. Trinidad was also full of character. We enjoyed a bici-tour around streets where people lived and worked.

The street where our Casa was located.
Local transport
Cuban rail
An art installation
A cigar factory where workers earn $30 a month
The beach at Trinidad that can be reached by taxi or local bus

From Trinidad we travelled by taxi to Playa Larga where we stayed one night. This is located on the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). We walked to a beach but would have been better to have visited the nearby crocodile farm and nature reserve by taxi.
We travelled on to Las Terrazas, an eco-village, built as part of a reforestation project in 1968. We stayed in La Moka Hotel designed by green architect Osmani Cienfuegos, brother of Camilo (late revolutionary hero). It is surrounded by lovely gardens and has a tree growing through the lobby.

Hotel Moka at Las Terrazas
Local bird life
Old coffee plantation
View from coffee plantation, Las Terrazas

From Las Terrazas we travelled on to Vinales, an area of lush green rolling hills, where tobacco is grown. We took a tourist bus around the area when we arrived. The next day we explored the tobacco fields on four legged transport.

Vinales street
Lovely countryside
Our guide
Four legged transport, my horse was called Caramello and Richard’s horse was called Mohito
Tobacco drying hut
Tobacco drying
Tobacco farmer rolling a cigar and sealing it with honey

Our final journey, before returning to Havanna and flying home, was to an island off the West coast of Cuba. We travelled by taxi then ferry to an island of glistening white beaches called Caya Levisa.

Pristine beaches of Caya Levisa
Accomodation
Mangrove trees

We had a great holiday in Cuba, interesting places to visit and lovely people. I sincerely hope that that all goes well for them in the future.

Suggested reading. Also try to learn some Spanish,(though a good phrase book is useful).

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