Reminiscing Cuba!

In terms of traveling, 2020 has been one of the worst years imaginable. Having to quarantine for two weeks when you return from many destinations; being scared of cancellations and losing money on flights and hotels; and only wanting to book last minute are all but a handful of deterrents that have made us stay put this year.

I completely adore travel and getting to experience new places and escape the everyday routine is really important to me, so I’ve found it strange not being able to venture out of the UK this year 😦 . One of my favourite places to travel is the Caribbean. I love the warm humid air, the laid-back atmosphere and pretty turquoise waters. Cuba in particular is one of my favourite places in the Caribbean, and one of the safest Caribbean Islands you can visit!

I stayed there for two weeks back in August 2018, after I graduated from university, and it was so very beautiful…

This beach at Guadalavaca is supposed to be one of the best in all of Cuba if I remember correctly.

As you can see, I spent my days on the golden sands reading my book under the shade of the palm trees drinking fresh lemonade from the beach bar. Me and my family would often buy the locals drinks and talk with them about their lives on the island. Cuba has two currencies, one which it uses on the island (peso) for those who live there and one that is given to tourists etc when they visit the island (the convertible peso). The reason for this is that the peso is practically unconvertible and has practically no monetary value outside of the island. This makes it hard for the Cuban people to ever earn enough money to leave Cuba, as they are on average paid the equivalent of less than $US100 a month.

Cuba is therefore a really fascinating place, as it is like the island is stuck in time! The cars on the island are mainly old American cars from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and its really surreal to visit a place where these types of cars are the main mode of transport.

The gardeners at my hotel would collect coconuts from the grounds and give them to the guests. They were so divine…the water inside was sweet and cool (shame about the plastic straw mind).

In terms of transport, traveling through Cuba is actually very difficult. The roads remain mainly unsigned and are not well maintained, making long journeys very confusing and uncomfortable! Not only this, but the train the goes from the East of the island to the West is (apparently) very slow and has no air-conditioning…therefore if you wish to visit opposite ends of the island, getting a small plane is recommended.

I really enjoyed my time in Cuba, and stayed in the East of the island in a place called Guardalavaca. In Spanish, this literally translates to ‘guard the cows’ as years ago pirates used to often come to shore here.

When I staying here I stayed on the edge of a small nature reserve where I got to see lizards, giant caterpillars, large spiders, butterflies, red crabs and hermit crabs (very cute!).

The red crabs where EVERYWHERE and would often find their way into your shoes on the beach :). Many times I noticed them wonder into the hotel to which I would gently lift them into my hands and take them outside. If you are gentle with them they will sit calmly in the palm of your hands and left you take them outside. Some of these red crabs were absolutely massive and would actually crawl up the hotel walls at night haha…

There was also someone who showed me a picture of a bird-eating spider in the female toilets which made me quite paranoid for many days, as I have a huge phobia of them!

Look how gorgeous the colour of that ocean is…
You could travel for miles along this road out side my hotel before you came to anything!

On one of the days we were in Cuba we also visited a local farm which had some of the biggest avocados I have ever seen! They also had a variety of fruit that I had never seen before such as the ‘sugar apple’ which you can see above to the left. Even though it looks quite bizarre it’s actually ridiculously delicious.

I would certainly love to visit Cuba again but there are also so many other island in the Caribbean and elsewhere that I would love to see. Visiting St. Lucia would be amazing and other places out side of the Caribbean such as Tulum.

I hope you have a great day and enjoyed this post about Cuba ~

-Charlotte x

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