Cuba – Trinidad

Throughout Cuba, I was mistaken for a local and I began telling people that my grandfather was Cuban. Trinidad was the place that I chose to tell people that my fictitious grandfather was from as it was easy to remember due to the Caribbean Island that it shares a name with.


The 2 hour bus journey, from Santa Clara to Trinidad cost us 8 CUC each (less than when we got ripped off a few days previously) and took us on a winding journey through lush greenery. Trinidad itself was a fairly touristy area with Belgium style cobbled streets, spectacular views of rolling hills in the distance and lots of bars and restaurants. One of those restaurants provided us with by far the best food that we had whilst in Cuba.


At ‘La Botija’ Karen and I shared an amazing Spag Bol, a kebab with beef, onions, prawns and pineapple after fish cakes and loaded potatoes for starters. The food was really well presented and just 22 CUC (£15) each for two courses and a drink.

There were plenty of excursions being offered around the town at a variety of prices and we opted for a horse ride to the waterfalls. Now, I’ve never ridden a horse before and enjoyed the first 20 minutes but after that I was kind of bored and extremely sore!!

Any apprehension of riding disappeared after we met our guide Jorge. His son, no more than 5/6 years old came trotting along on one of the horses, feet not even reaching the stirrup and a mischievous grin on his face. He got told off for trying to ride too fast. The apprehension quickly returned as we had to walk the horses down a steep cobbled path and my horse kept stumbling and losing its footing.


The guide explained to us how to control the horse (simply pull the reigns to the side that you want the horse to go) but might as well not have because my horse just did what it wanted. On many occasions my horse cut across Karen’s, sometimes pushing them into the bushes, to ensure that we remained in front. We stopped for fresh coffee and a cigar on the way to the waterfall and food on the way back. I was glad to make it back in one piece on my horse that was anything but sure footed. My everything hurt and a relaxing beach day was perfect for the following day.


The beach in Trinidad wasn’t even close to as nice as in Valadero, despite recommendations by Jorge the horse guide. I did go swimming in the merky water but quickly got out having been scared by a stingray that decided to jump out of the water just a few meters behind me.

The evenings had a nice vibe in Trinidad. Live music, bars and restaurants were all around and on one night down in one of the main squares there was a live DJ and a sort of street party. We also went to a really cool nightclub that is built within some caves.

On our last day we arranged a taxi to take us the 4 hours back to Havana. The taxi we shared with another couple and cost us 20 CUC each, which was the same as the 7 hour journey on the bus. We watched England reach the semi final of the World Cup and then drove back in the afternoon. We went to our original hostess Ani who organised for us to stay with a friend as she was full that night.

We spent our last night in Cuba in a huge nightclub. It was a long wait to get into the big building with about 6 different rooms that included music rooms, an Art gallery and a cinema room. The barman gave me the bottle to pour my own drink and looked at me disapprovingly when I politely only filled the massive glass half way (so I finished the bottle off instead).

The next day we got a taxi to the airport and flew back to the future, where there was nice food, modern cars and WiFi in Cancun.

Cuba – Santa Clara


Travelling from Matanzas to Santa Clara (The home of Che Guevera), Karen and I had another taste of how difficult it was to find transport around Cuba. After watching Mexico lose against Brazil in the morning we made our way to the bus station. It took a while, speaking with people that didn’t have a clue, but we eventually learnt that the next bus to Santa Clara wasn’t until 7 in the evening. This would have meant arriving very late in an area that we didn’t know looking for accommodation that we didn’t have.

We decided to take the adventurous route and basically take buses in the correct direction using Google maps. The first bus, a collectivo, took us to Colon for 2 CUC (£1.50). In life you get what you pay for and we paid very little for a two hour trip and ended up on a rickety old bus that looked like a War transport. I was not surprised when a girl had to lean out of the window to throw up because I wasn’t feeling so bright myself.

We gratefully got off the bus in Colon a small town that could have been used as the set for a Western. Cart horses were the main mode of transport and the town was essentially one long road with smaller ones running off. We’d been told before that local transport is just for locals and we had a dodgy experience getting on a coach (which was very normal in comparison to the previous ones).

The coach we were getting was parked outside of a lunch hall and when the driver finished his break lots of people just appeared out of nowhere. A guy who looked to be in charge negotiated a price (30 CUC which seemed excessive) with us, he then proceeded to try and skip past all of the people in the line and wouldn’t allow us to speak with the driver. He personally took the money from us and on reflection of the event we are sure that we got hustled. But we were on our way, and for half the original price of 30CUC each that he asked for.

The rest of the journey and stay in Santa Clara was pretty uneventful. We found a modest Casa Particular, 15 CUC per night and got upgraded to the owner’s second, more spacious property, after our first night due to a problem with his water tank.

We visited the Che Guevara memorial museum, where one of the army guards, as the theme of the week, mistook me for a Cuban. The museum was loaded with a bunch of junk that Che had once touched or in some cases belonged to someone who had been under Che’s command, things that had no way of proving the authenticity.


Apart from that, there wasn’t so much to do in Santa Clara. The main square was a place to hang out, there was a short shopping street and a couple of bars open at night. The food, like the rest of Cuba was average with little variety. We took a walk up a hill that provided a very nice view over the city but the three days that we spent there was more than enough.