As I describe in my “About me” I think it is very important to show the world to our kids – its many differences and many diversities.
…and if there is a country which is totally different from ours – it is Cuba!
I showed my kids Cuba by taking them on a road trip in the western part – a road trip they still talk about today – four years later!
When you arrive in Cuba it is like you are back in the 50´s. You see these gorgeous old American cars everywhere and many are really in mint condition. Unfortunately, t is not possible to rent these beauties.
In Havana, we were staying at Hotel Inglaterra. It was a nice hotel located perfectly at Parque Central.
We enjoyed a lot of meaningful and historical sightseeing in and around Havana. We visited H.C. Andersen kindergarten (Since we are Danish), walked at the pedestrian street, Obispo, drove in an old American car through the street of Havana and followed Ernest Hemingway´s footsteps (you can read about our Hemingway adventure here).
After 3 nights in Havana, we picked up our rental car and drove west to Pinar del Rio and Viñales.
Taking a road trip in Cuba is both a bit scary and super exciting at the same time. It is always cool to head out on your own adventures, but when you can’t speak a word of Spanish and you don’t see any road signs for miles, it can get a little intimidating. I wouldn’t recommend driving around after nightfall because there are simply no street lights. Mix that with people walking along the roads and quite sizable holes and you get the picture.
Staying With a Family
Our stay in Viñales was a special experience and very recommendable – we stayed 2 night in a Casa Particulares. A private home, where we were well taken care of by the family living there.
Our sightseeing in Viñales was a 3½ hour long walk amongst cattle and muddy fields with various kinds of crops – not something we were quite prepared for. The trip was available both by foot or on horseback, we took it by foot. Besides that, it is possible to visit the great wall painting “Mural de Historia” and take the trip by boat on “Cueva del Indio”.
From Viñales we drove back to Havana and further to Playa Larga or Bays of Pigs on the south side of Cuba. (Funny name, since there are no pigs in the bay…)
Here we stayed at a somewhat special hotel. Hotel Guama is situated out in the middle of Laguna del Tesoro, so I decided to pay a “parking guard” 3 CUC to watch our car and we headed full speed by motorboat to the hotel consisting of huts on poles in the water. The hotel was not particularly fancy or modern, but it had its own unique charm about it.
We spend the rest of the day by the pool and enjoyed the peaceful hotel.
On our way to Trinidad, we had a short break in Cienfuegos. A busy city with lots of shops and nice historical buildings. Definitely worth a stop on the way or even with a night stay. In Trinidad, we checked into the all-inclusive Playa Ancon resort. From there we had only 10 mins drive into Trinidad city.
Everything is cheap in Cuba, food, gasoline… everything!
You won’t be spending a lot of money in Cuba, at least not in shopping malls. Not really a shopping kind of country to be honest. But it has so much more to offer.
Last Days in Varadero
We spent the last few nights in Cuba in Varadero which is located approx. 150 km’s east of Havana. Yet again a wonderful all-inclusive resort right by the beach. Varadero is a peninsula with hotels situated next to each other like pearls on a string facing out towards the Gulf of Mexico along the wonderful and wide sandy beach.
You won’t see a lot of people when you travel here off season which is from April to October. During the season peak, you will experience a lively crowd on the beach and in the small town at night.
I traveled to Cuba alone with my two kids of 10 and 12. At no point in time did I feel unsafe or scared to drive around the country. There is very little crime and even though we had some lingual challenges along the way, we found our hotels by the friendly courtesy of the Cuban people.
You do not have to worry about exploring the country on your own.
I made a video of our trip – it is approx. 30 mins long, so grab a cup of coffee or maybe a Mojito and enjoy it here…