December 31, 2020

Cienfuegos, Cuba: A tricycle ride, carnival vibes, and waterfalls

 I was passing through Cienfuegos en route to other parts of Cuba, and what ensued was a two-night stay, a tricycle ride, a carnival, and waterfalls adventure in this beautiful south coast city.

                 

Since this was a very short stay, I decided against any organized tour. I just walked around town, talked to the locals, and generally got a sense of the everyday Cuban life.

My first stop was Jose Marti Parque which is a memorial park with impressive colonial buildings along the corners of the park.

Museo de las Artes Palacio Ferrer

Catedral de la Purísima Concepción. I didn't go inside, but it was pretty impressive from the outside.

Met this amazing artiste while perusing through art galleries close to Parque Jose Martí. We spoke for almost an hour and he dropped lots of jewels about Cuba. He is a talented artist, and he painted the paintings behind us in the photo.

Cienfuegos Cuba

August is the hottest month in Cuba, and here you see locals buying cold drinks on a hot day.

 

I made a new friend. His name is Rielle, and he is a host at a restaurant on Paseo del Prado, the main street in Cienfuegos. He is learning to speak English so he can become a tour guide.

Vibrant cars and buildings are always a sight to behold

The weather was ridiculously hot, so I retreated to my Air BnB, and came back out when the heat had subsided for a stroll along the Malecon.
Malecón de Cienfuegos



After a stint along the Malecon and enjoying the ocean's breeze, I hopped on a tricycle taxi to take me to Punta Gorda. Punta Gorda is a historical neighborhoods that houses grand hotels, restaurants, and fancy homes.

The tricycle taxi driver was kind enough to make stops at certain historical sights.
 Palacio de Valle was one of the first stops. It is a historical building with Moorish architecture. It  has a restaurant and terrace bar that is said to have an amazing panoramic view of the bay. I did not know it was free to enter, so I missed all the amazing interior it had to offer. 

It was carnival week in Cienfuegos, so I got to catch some of the carnival vibes. This was nostalgic as it reminded me of the West Indies carnival that I participatedin back home (Nigeria) when I was younger.

The sunsets in Cuba are unmatched!
I wrapped up the day with a beautiful sunset, a seaside view, and a caprissima drink.

The next morning, I was off to Trinidad De Cuba. However, I opted to stop at El Nicho waterfalls on my way to Trinidad. El Nicho is a series of waterfalls, and I was very excited to visit as I had never been to a waterfall before.

Enjoying a dip in one of the waterfall streams.
The water was deliciously cold! Just what I needed in the August heat.
I took colectivo taxi from Cienfuego to Trinidad De Cuba with these lovely ladies from Spain. We did the waterfall and hike together, and of course, we had to take a selfie...snap!
Finally made it to the top of the mountains.

Isn't it wild to think that just last year we were traveling without any cares, and we were out and about without masks?! Here is hoping 2021 is a better year with new adventures.

Happy New Year, guys!

July 18, 2020

A bachelorette dinner in Havana, Cuba

Hey guys, in my last post, I promised to do a separate blog about the bachelorette dinner we hosted for my friend in Havana. Here goes...

Before we left North America for Cuba, I had suggested a day for us all to wear the same color and take photos. When I got to Havana, I casually scouted for a plain wall, and found a blue wall right behind our Air BnB in Centro Havana. Blue complements yellow (our color), so I was hella excited at the possible outcome of our photos. My friend who was getting married the following month was also on the trip, so the rest of us decided to throw her a surprise bachelorette dinner after the photo shoot.

When it was time to take the photos, an outburst of heavy rain ensued. Boy was I disappointed. The rain did not look like it was stopping anytime soon, so we decided to utilize an indoor space--the stairwell of our AirBNB. When we were done inside, the rain suddenly stopped, and we dashed outside for our shoot. We took a few photos on an outdoor stairs, and as we were fixing to change positions to another wall, the rain started again, and at this point we called it quits😪.

The photos were not exactly what I was hoping for, but sometimes you just roll with the punches and keep it moving. I am sure COVID-19 has taught us this too well.

The bachelorette dinner on the other hand was perfect. The bride-to-be was utterly surprised, as she had no clue. The restaurant staff at Elizalde were amazing. They let us rent out a space for free, got us a cake at a moments notice, and George, the host even serenaded the bride-to-be with a Boyz II Men song.
 In all it was an amazing time. 

Enjoy the photos .

Things to do in Havana, CubaThings to do in Havana, Cuba
Things to do in Havana, Cuba

Bachelorette Dinner Time
That's all folks. Have a lovely socially-distanced weekend.

May 28, 2020

Things to do in Havana, Cuba




HELLO EVERYONE! Yes, I am screaming at the top of my lungs, as I haven't been in this space this year. First things first, how are you all coping with the pandemic? I hope you and your family are safe. It is a tough time for everyone, and I am hoping this passes away sooner than later.

Now on to today's post. Guys, last August I made it to my dream city, Havana! Cuba was a country that had rated high on my travel list for ages, but due to travel restrictions imposed on U.S. residents, I thought a visit there was impossible. This cannot be further from the truth, and I will explain the travel process in another blog post. 

My time in Cuba was spent in 4 different cities, and I will be starting my Cuba travel series with Havana.Enjoy

1. Ride in a classic car --this is a must do
The classic car rides are a fun way to see the city. We opted for a 2 hour ride, and we got to see China Town, Havana Vedado, Revolutionary Square, and John Lennon Park.


2. Visit Plaza de la Revolución
 Revolutionary square is a political symbol in Cuba. It is the spot where many of Fidel Castro's political rallies took place.

3. Visit one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas, Catedral de la Habana


4. Wander around The Palacio de los Capitanes Generales.
This is a beautiful Cuban baroque architectural style structure in old Havana. It has an amazing courtyard and a few exhibits in the upper rooms.


5. Wander aimlessly around Plaza de Armas 
This is a great spot for people watching and relaxing. You can grab a frozen drink or pop into the little galleries to check out some cool art.

6. Enjoy a stroll along the malecon

It was always such a joy to walk by the malecon and feel the cool breeze from the water


7. Drink a daiquiri or two at Floridita, one of Ernest Hemmingway's favorite bars

I didn't go inside the establishment, but I hear the daiquiris are awesome.

8. Catch the sunrise over the malecon

We stayed across the malecon, and it was always a joy to wake up to the sun rising over the water and watch the locals fish
I made a friend while I strolled along the malecon 

9. Explore Havana Vieja

Although grimy (stray dog poop ), Old Havana, brims over with intriguing architecture. On my last day in Havana,  I wandered about aimlessly, enjoyed conversations with the locals, bought souvenirs. and just generally people watched.


10. Eat, drink, and be merry!

To be honest, I was shocked at how great the food was. Almost every article I came across when planning my trip knocked down the food in Cuba. Boy, was I relieved and pleasantly surprised that my culinary experience was nothing short of amazing. 
Two restaurants I recommend are EL Biky (Central Havana) and Elizade(Old Havana). The former is great for breakfast, while Elizalde has an incredible dinner menu. I had the best ceviche at Elizalde and we even hosted a little bachelorette dinner for my friend here (Pictures in an upcoming post). We ate at each restaurant multiple times, and now I keep in touch with some of the workers, who are now my IG friends.

Avideo to summarize the 4 wonderful nights in Havana
               
The People of Havana

I love Cubans! They are the friendliest people ever! They are genuinely curious about tourists. They are super helpful, and they will insist you take their picture :-)


The Cars of Havana
How beautiful are the cars of Havana! I couldn't get enough of these classic automobiles.

Classic American Cars in Cuba
Classic American Cars in Havana, Cuba
Classic American Cars in Havana Cuba


Random sights of Havana



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Guys, how beautiful is Havana! Have you ever been to Cuba? Did you enjoy your time there, or do these pictures make you want to visit once the pandemic has subsided? Please leave your comment below and let me know what you think.