What a wonderful journey of discovery our Cuban holiday was - every day brought new experiences and encounters that added to our enjoyment and appreciation of this unique and extraordinary country. Each place we visited had its own special character - beautiful scenery and rural life in Viñales, echoes of its French founders and flamingoes on a silent lagoon in Cienfuegos, colonial charm in historic Trinidad, memories of laid-back family beach holidays in Varadero, and then there was Havana - a potent mix of city life, music, revolution and faded grandeur. An evening horseback ride, slow-paced carriage rides in both city and countryside, bicycle taxis, 50’s saloons and cabriolets - and Granny’s little Morris Major ... so many fun ways to take in the sights. Whilst this was largely an unstructured holiday with lots of time to do our own thing, the guided excursions we took were all most enjoyable - our guides all spoke excellent English and were both knowledgeable and companionable - a winning combination. Staying in private homes, casa particulars, was a special pleasure. Warm hospitality and wonderful breakfasts were just the beginning. Our hosts were unfailingly welcoming and helpful, the accommodation always immaculately clean and comfortable, and the opportunity to see something of Cuban family life was both a pleasure and a privilege.
Very pleased with the selection of casas - good locations and very pleasant hosts. Taxi transfers all went very well, punctual timing and generally comfortable cars - we were warned about both roads and vehicles so no unpleasant surprises there.
The MiCuba app could have a bit more information. We had a walking tour booked for us in Viñales which we chose not to take when we found on turning up for the start it was an 8km walk on what was shaping up to be a very hot day. Whilst the app gives phone numbers for contacts in Cuba, foreign phones (ours included) do not always work so contact is dependent on casa hosts making a call for you. When Yunior wasn’t answering his phone in Trinidad, our hostess was kind enough to walk around to leave a message for him to get back to us. Obviously this is not always the answer. There were two occasions when the transfer taxis had a problem accommodating our luggage. Some communication with us about what we required would have ensured the taxi sent could manage the job more satisfactorily.
As I have commented in another section, we were very pleased with the guides we had in Trinidad and Havana. The driver for our old-timer tour in Havana arrived 15 minutes late, at 10.15, but still finished the tour on the hour, at 11.
Definitely stay in casa particulars.
We felt it a great privilege to have spent this time in Cuba, to meet people and gain some idea of their lives. Their open welcome and hospitality is something we will certainly remember. We were all very glad we made the journey and thank everyone who contributed to a wonderful experience.