CUBA – TRINIDAD
CUBA WEEK 1:Thursday December 8 – Saturday December 10, 2016
We’ve only been in Cuba for 2 days and already seem to have spent an awful lot of time queuing – bus tickets, internet cards, bank, ATM. The bureaucratic inefficiencies are mind boggling.
In Santa Clara we were pleased that we arrived 2 hours before our bus departure as the booking office had a huge line. Even though we booked our tickets days earlier we had to lineup again to pay for them. Over an hour in line with only one person at a time allowed into the ticket masters office.
The government bus line for tourists – Viazul was comfortable enough for the 3 hour bus trip to Trinidad. The countryside we passed on the way was unremarkable being dominated by sugar cane farms. It was only as we started to approach Trinidad that scenery improved somewhat with ocean on one side and a mountain range in the distance.
From the bus station, we avoided the touts offering taxis and/or accommodation and found a place we both liked in a large Spanish colonial house run by Marcella and husband.
Accommodation settled we tried the Trinidad office of ETECSA for an internet card. Their office in Santa Clara had run out of internet acess cards. This time there was no line to get to the door, but the door guard informed us that no cards can be sold as their system was down so the cards cannot be ‘activated’. I protested the cards do not need their system to be activated as we had a phone, but she kept shaking her head … no no no… try mañana! We have given up and refuse to buy a card from the guys in the park offering them.
Apart from many frustrations dealing with ‘officials’ we liked the feel of this town. As we walked around there is an easy languid feel to the streetscape. Everyone seems relaxed and no one is in a hurry. Even the touts offering taxis on every corner are not overly pushy. The town is UNESCO listed for its colonial era architecture. The listing has resulted in some money being invested in building restoration works. Wonderful city parks with musicians appearing spontaneously and playing for as long as anyone is around to listen.
Your adventures sound so exciting and pictures to match.i send you greetings for a happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.ella is still in Portland and as yet no plans to return to U.K. To start a job !!!!!Anne
So lovely to hear from you Anne. Maybe you could visit Ella in Portland when the weather warms up. It is a lovely town. Sending you and your family all the best wishes fir a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
These beautiful photos bring back lots of great memories.
I liked the absence of internet.
Once we decided not to bother first hunting for a card and then trying to find a WiFi hot spot it was a relief. We had thought we needed a connection as we had no accommodation booked, but it worked out fine. We loved the relaxed feel of Trinidad and the musicians playing in the square. And we probably had the best food in Trinidad.
Such a great adventure and I am loving the photos!
Oops I just saw this comment Leslie.
Hi, our mutual friend John Bowe has introduced us to your blog. We’re a family of four heading to Cuba in early Jan.
We’ll be in Trinidad for 7 and 8 Jan and have not yet booked accommodation. Would you recommend the house you stayed in? If so could you send us the details please. We’d also appreciate any recommendations of where and what to eat !
Hi Brian and Gabbie,
We stayed at Casa de Aquiler and were very happy. Surprisingly quite once you are in the courtyard. Gustavo and his wife Marisela are very nice. They can be contacted at http://www.rentacubaroom.com/trinidad/casacanedo or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The house is located very close to the Viazul bus terminal.
We met a few people travelling with kids.
Cuban food is generally awful. We found a great spot… Paladar de San Jose….probably the best food we had in Cuba.It is on Calle Antonio Maceo on the way to Parque Cespedes. The food markets and shops generally don’t have much. Have breakfast at your accommodation, all homestays offer breakfast for $5 CUC each. Don’t bother trying to buy an internet access card from ETECSA. Guys in the park sell them and can get them for less than the official tourist price. We’ve spoken to a few people who bought cards in the park and had no trouble. Let us know if you have any other questions.
Hi Hammer and Corky,
Thanks for your prompt reply.
We’ve emailed Gustavo. Fingers crossed he has rooms available in early Jan.