It is a great honor to welcome today Christina, author of the great travel blog My Travel Atelier. Her blog is truly amazing: fun to read, full of great tips, written with honesty and with beautiful photos.You cannot miss today her complete guide and diary from 17 days of roadtrippin’ Cuba. Thank you Christina!
Hi everyone! I’m Christina from My Travel Atelier. I am beyond excited to be guest blogging here on World Kids, where I will share my Cuba highlights with you!
My Travel Atelier is a new blog, where I share my passion for travelling and decorating at home. As I am not a full-time traveller, I try to create an international feel at home, making it easy to dream myself away in my everyday life, be it carpets making me dream of Morocco, palms in my courtyard making me dream of the Caribbean or bamboo chairs making me dream about a trip to Bali.
I believe that travelling is not only about going abroad, but also creating an international environment at home and be open to your surroundings. We have such an easy access to the whole world today through social media, magazines, blogs and tourists in our own country, and all these things combined can teach us so much of the many cultures we have in this big beautiful world.
A big thanks to Ana for letting me guest blog here and introduce you all to Cuba!
I was on a 17-days roadtrip through Cuba in February with my husband and parents in law. We had the idea of crossing the entire island from Havana to Santiago de Cuba and that way really experience the variety the island has to offer. Some places were fantastic, others not that great and yet others on our to-do list for next time we visit. Here I will share my absolute highlights with you (For a detailed day-to-day programme, please visit www.mytravelatelier.me)
Here we go:
Nice to know beforehand:
- Depending on the time you have, renting a car is the easiest and fastest way to get around.
- Bring soap, tissues and snacks from home as these things are hard to find (check my list of “things I would have liked to know about Cuba before going” )
- Bring Euro or Dollar to exchange in the airport or at the Casas de Cambio. You can not expect the ATMs to be operational…
- Bring patience, some things really take time in Cuba…
- If you chose to rent a car, then buy a good road map from home as the signage is almost non-existing
Havana is obviously a must see in Cuba. There is this magical feel in the streets and a special atmosphere. Wandering around the many colourful houses in decay, one can lively imagine how this Caribbean pearl was a jet-setters paradise back in the 40’ies and 50’ies with large casinos, majestic buildings and the always clear blue sky. That was many yeas ago and now there are only the shelled facades left. Havana really shows what happens when a country is locked away from the rest of the world. For people like us, being in Havana is like being inside a time capsule, something that’s hard to find nowadays and a true luxury to experience.
I can recommend visiting the daily market on Plaza de Armas, eating at el Café de los Artistas and drinking a mojito at Hotel Nacional.
Oh Viñales! The nature in the Viñales valley is breathtaking and if it wasn’t for all the tourists coming here, it would be as if life hadn’t changed the last hundreds of years. Large fields and cattle everywhere, total tranquillity and mountains as in Halong Bay in Vietman.
For the best view I recommend booking a room at Hotel Los Jazminez. The hotel is not a big deal, but waking up to crowing and the sound of animals getting out on the fields, just to open your door to the most magical view makes this hotel a must-stay place in Viñales.
TIP: At the hotel they organize tours in the area by car, foot, horse or bike, so no need for booking in advance.
Trinidad is just as beautiful as on the pictures. It is a wealthy part of Cuba, which is easy to see on the houses. They are very well maintained. Trinidad exceeded my expectations when it comes to prettiness and surrounding areas – we went on a horseback tour in the highlands for a day and it was an extraordinary experience. However, I must say that Trinidad was the most touristic town we visited in Cuba. Every shop was for tourists, the restaurants were of poor quality and there were many bars with drunken tourists… Hmmm, if you come to dance salsa, drink mojitos and just have a fun time, then it’s the perfect place. But if you like us come to experience the Cuban culture, then a few days here is enough. However, it is a must-see town!
TIP: Book your place to stay in advance as Trinidad is very popular!
Santiago de Cuba
We fell madly in love with Santiago de Cuba, the former capital, which is located on a hill by the sea. Walking this city will really get your pulse up as it is hill up and hill down to get anywhere! There were not many tourists and not much to do, but the feel here was so authentic and the food was better than anywhere else on the island. Here you will really get an insight into the Cuban history as it was here Fidel Castro and his troops attacked the Moncada Barracks on the 26th of July 1953 and later started the revolution.
From the port there is an incredible view to the sunset over the Sierra Maestra mountains.
I hope you enjoyed my post as much as I enjoyed writing it! Head over to www.mytravelatelier.me for a more detailed Cuba guide and other interesting travel post. A big thanks again to Ana for letting me share my highlights with you!