Cuba Revisited

Last night I watched ‘Cuba with Simon Reeve’, on BBC television.  Many of the places visited by this programme were ones that Dee and I also visited on holiday in February 2011.  The programme set out to look at how the Cuban economy has changed in the last two years, and I must confess to being quite surprised at how things have actually moved on.  When we were there, Cubans didn’t expect to see much difference, even though some degree of economic liberalisation was anticipated.  Now, Cubans can buy and sell property legally (see this link), something unimaginable 2 years ago.

I’m glad that we went when we did, as Castro’s Cuba certainly seems to be changing, albeit slowly.

Visually, the programme refreshed my recollection of that excellent holiday, so I thought I would take this opportunity to link back to the series of posts that I started in July last year.  Perhaps this may be of interest to anyone that wasn’t following my blog then.  The start of the series can be found here.

One photo from the original series.

Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco

Cuba Libre – Photos

It was recently pointed out to me, that all the photos in my Cuba Libre posts had disappeared.  All my photos are held on Flickr and the links had been broken because Lightroom had ‘republished’ them with some tag amendments.  I’m very sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused readers looking for Cuba photos.

If anyone knows how to stop this happening please let me know.

Anyway, I think I have remade all the links so the photos should all be visible again.  Here is one of my favourites, sometimes used in the header.

Havana Women

If anyone is looking for the start of the Cuba Libre story it can be found here.

Cuba Libre – Varadero

This is the final chapter of our Cuba Libre tour in February/March 2011.  We are now in the ‘all inclusive’ resort of Varadero on the north coast of the island.  Our Cuba experience effectively finished when we arrived here, as Varadero bears no resemblance to the real Cuba.  We are, however, still on holiday so I should complete the story.

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Cuba Libre – Santa Clara

Chapter 9 of the Cuba Libre story brings us very nearly to the end of our trip.  We will spend the last few days of the holiday in the ‘all inclusive’ resort of Varadero, but this post covers our time in Santa Clara, on the way to Varadero.

The last battle of the Cuban Revolution was at Santa Clara and it is the last resting place of Che Guevara.

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Cuba Libre – Trinidad

Trinidad de Cuba is the subject of most of Chapter 8 of the Cuba Libre story.

Trinidad has been a UNESCO World heritage site since 1988, so some money is being put into restoration of this rather lovely colonial city.  As a result, much of the old city is well preserved, although some of the non tourist areas are a bit run down.

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Cuba Libre – Cienfuegos

Powder Puff Flower at the hotel.

Chapter 7 of the Cuba Libre story sees us enjoying our first full day in the Cienfuegos area.  After breakfast we made our way to the jetty by the hotel, where our ‘Cruise around the Bay’ was to start.  In the hotel grounds there was this beautiful tree with Powder Puff flowers.

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Cuba Libre – To Cienfuegos

I’m sorry about the delay in getting back to the Cuba Libre story.  We have been visiting family in New England and after we returned we had visitors for a few days as well as many ‘chores’ to catch up with.  Anyway, for anyone who has waited for the continuation, here we go again.

Chapter 6 of this journey sees us on our way from Havana to Cienfuegos.

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Cuba Libre – Passing through Havana again

Chapter 5 of the journey will be brief.  This includes just a few snaps taken on our way back to Havana, and local to our hotel in Havana, for our overnight stay before travelling on to Cienfuegos on the next day.

Horse and cart transport.
Fairly typical apartments.

This looked like family transport to me and I guess this was a refuelling stop.  This picture also reminded me that it is not unusual to find a horse drawn wagon in the fast lane of a motorway in Cuba.

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Cuba Libre – Viñales Valley

Chapter 4 of the Cuba Libre story covers our time in the Viñales Valley, Pinar del Rio province.

Vinales Valley
Vinales Valley from Hotel Los Jazmines

Viñales Valley Panorama

Whilst in the Viñales Valley, we stayed at the Los Jasmines Hotel.  It was a smaller hotel than the one we stayed at in Havana and we were told not to expect too much of the menu, as being smaller, the hotel would have less government budget for food.  In fact, although there was a bit less choice, we thought that the preparation and service was probably better.  Most importantly though, the views from the rooms were great.  The last picture in the previous post and the panorama above show the view from our room.

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Cuba Libre – To the Vinales Valley

Cuba Libre Chapter 3 takes us to the Viñales Valley.  On our journey to Viñales we visited an area known at Las Terrazas in the Sierra del Rosario range of mountains.  This is a small community and nature reserve aimed at developing leisure and tourism in this area.  Part of this visit took us to an old coffee plantation where we were shown the old coffee bean roasting and grinding facilities.

Buena Vista Coffee House
Ruins of an old coffee plantation at the Las Terrazas Nature Reserve.

Ruins of an old coffee plantation at the Las Terrazas Nature Reserve

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