After our stay in Havana, Karen and I had a taster of how difficult it is to travel in a country with limited organisation or WiFi. We chose to make our way to Matanzas using the Hershies train that was once used to transport Coco beans by the American chocolate company.
Having asked advice from a few different people we made it onto a small boat that took us across the Dock. The water was filled with rubbish and had a slick film of oil on the top. Unfortunately all around Cuba you see people carelessly discard their rubbish and it spoils some of the beauty of the island.
The boat took us to Casablanca, where we found out that the train line had been damaged during the Hurricanes 9 months earlier. Apparently none of the 3/4 people that we’d spoken to before knew about it. We walked around the small town of Casablanca, from where you could see nice views of Havana and stopped for a fresh coconut at a bar at the road side. A young guy and girl gave us a few different options of getting to Matanzas and in the end we took a local bus, a taxi that looked like it could break down at any moment (because the second bus we were going to get was crazy busy) and another bus that looked as though it could have transported a battalion of soldiers rather than paying public.
We stayed in Matanzas for 3 nights, at a nice Casa Particular that had a couple of rooms separate from the main house and a small swimming pool in the garden. We took a bus (again one that looked like a military transport) to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island in Varadero, and did a tour of some local caves.
Getting to the caves we took a bus that did a lap of the town that took about 20 minutes. We were pretty confused when we returned to the same stop having not reached our destination and even more confused after we got off, found a taxi, only to see the same bus arrive at the caves 10 minutes after us!!
Karen was my translator during the tour of the caves and right at the end our tour guide noticed and apologised saying that he, like so many others on the island, presumed that I was Cuban.
With not much else to do in Matanzas we planned our next stop to Santa Clara.