Girl, let's take a trip to CUBA
Last year (2018), one of my girlfriends, Alyssa, and I decided to take a 3-day "ladies trip". After months of planning and contemplating other islands, we only cared for two things, a healthy reunion and sunny weather. We talked very little about the what an itinerary would look like and had no substantial knowledge of the historical landmarks but knew it was happening. Two months before take off, we decided #CUBA was the destination and it was about to be official as fuck! #CUBA was about to give us LIFE!
For starters, Alyssa was not much of the planner when it came to Cuba so in true Anastaeisha-fashion, I took it upon myself to create an itinerary. Luckily, I knew 2 people that traveled to Cuba months before so getting ideas was the easy part. The challenging part was trying to cram each interest into in 3 days/2 nights. Honestly, I just wanted to be on the beach and smoke cigars. Ignorantly speaking, who knew there was so much to do in Cuba. *Side bar, I do encourage all to experience any and everything and never let the experiences or opinions of others influence yours.* I had a colleague once share negative things about the country so I expected very little, shame on me. Back to planning - my manager at the time had already prepared an itinerary based on the tour guide company, OldCarTours, she used. From that, Alyssa and I narrowed it down to 2 tours that would take up Friday and Saturday. Be mindful, we arrived on Thursday and departed on Sunday. Small note (this is important) between us both we had just under $1,000. Cuba is a third world country so naturally we assumed we were going to have more than enough.
Day 1: Arrive in Cuba
We both live in different cities, so it was easiest for us to meet at the airport in Cuba. We flew into José Martí International Airport. We were told the internet was basically nonexistence thus WhatsUp App was out of question so whoever arrived first would stay visible until the other arrived. Our airbnb, Casa “El Mirador”, was about 40 minutes from the airport so we just took a taxi (the first person to grab our attention). Now that I think about it, as frugal as I am, I did not even negotiate the price. I think we were both so anxious to explore we took the first answer and ran with it. Looking back, we definitely got played because the driver charged us per person. We definitely were not paying attention at all. 40 minutes later we arrived to our destination. It was a cute, spacious apartment with free daily breakfast. It never even dawned on me until we reached that Spanish was a must! At least know the bare minimum. Thank goodness Alyssa knew the basics because I had no idea what was being said and struggled with recalling basic phrases. After we got settled our first thought was the beach. We jumped into a cab to head to the beach - again, no negotiation. I cannot remember the name of the beach but we were not impressed. I am almost sure that beach was not the selling point of Cuba. We were tired and hungry so the sun sufficed.
Day 2: Hemingway route combined with Havana City Tour (5 hours) (200 CUC cash (100/each)
This day was BOMB! I strongly suggest getting a tour guide as they inform you about the history of the landmark and it's significance. The tour attractions were the Capitol building, China Town, Reina and Carlos III streets, Revolution Square (stop), Cristobal Colon Cemetery, Habana Forest (stop), 5th Avenue and Malecón Avenue. We decided that it was necessary to ride around in the Chevrolet Deluxe 1950 (pink). We were too fly. Cuba definitely was not ready. I am not going to lie, halfway in, that sun was exhausting and we were T-I-R-E-D!!!
Day 3: Havana-Viñales long tour (10 hours) 280 CUC cash (140 each)
Like day 2, day 3 was BOMB! The only nuance was traveling to and from Viñales, which took about two and a half hours each way. That shit was wack but to finally reach the destinations was DOPE. Cuba is the cutest country with so much to offer. Traveling from Havana to Viñales gave us a small taste of what the country life was like. Thank goodness we traveled in a hardtop with AC. That sun is NO JOKE, AT ALL! The tour attractions was the Los Jardines hotel with a beautiful view of the valley, farmer's house (creation of cigar), Viñales and la Cueva del Indio (indian cave).The bonus: horseback riding (my horse was out of MF control).
Via Azul Bus Service information: http://www.viazul.com/
Tour Guide Services: Old Car Tours
Cuban currency: Cuban Peso Nacional (CUP
To end, we had an amazing time. We found out that we are not a fan of some cuban dishes, the sun is entirely way too hot and that horses don't respect you. The pluses were we got to bond, explore the unknown and traveled through a cave. The funniest part was that at the end of our trip, we only had enough money to buy 1 cigar. Ask us where the money went... we don't know!