The Caribbean is famed for having some of the best holiday destination spots that you can ever think of. Thus, after looking through the various options that I had prior to my annual travel, I settled for the Caribbean Republic of Cuba. It is obvious that you cannot have as much fun alone as when you are in the company of someone else so I tagged along my workmate, who is also a close friend as she too had been looking around for an ideal destination for her holidays. Initially, we wanted to go to Cuba’s capital Havana that is known for its beautiful architecture and pulsating nightlife but after a few deliberations, we opted for Cuba’s top beach destination of Varadero that equally has a lot to offer. In fact, Varadero boasts of having more than the beaches.
When we arrived in Varadero, we were so tired that we only managed to check into our hotel rooms, took a shower before having our dinner and later went to bed in readiness for the next day. It was a wise move because when we woke up the next morning we were fresh and ready for any challenge. We prepared our itinerary way before our travel date and this proved to be a great advantage to us. I had brought along my iPhone whose maps feature was quite handy in helping us get around. We first went to Valle de Vinales that is a UNESCO world heritage site on horsebacks. This valley has characteristic red clay, huge rocks as well as green palms overlooking it. While here, we saw some stunning views of nature that filled us with positive energy. We also saw numerous crop types, as the place is also agriculturally rich. You can also walk through this valley if you are not comfortable with the horse ride. Even then, remember to bring a lot of water regardless of your preferred mode of access.
We also spent some time at the Playa Paraiso Beach that is unique compared to all the beaches I have been to before. This beach has fluffy, ghost white, deep sand that is complimented by crystal clear water. These waters are not only shallow but also calm thus we got to walk for several hundred meters to sea in warm waist deep blue waters. Later we sat under one of the beach umbrellas while we grabbed a few snacks since the natural shade here is minimal. There are small sand bars joined to a calm see that are quite a spectacle. Varadero Beach is another great place to visit especially if you want some privacy because it is long, clean and less crowded. This beautiful beach that has sparkling clean water is a great place to relax and is certainly worth visiting.
Another place that you must visit next time you travel to Cuba is the amazingly beautiful El Nicho Waterfalls. It is one of the best places that we visited in Cuba. We took a car to the waterfalls after which we had our packed lunch before swimming in the cold water fresh pond. Yes, it is allowed and the experience is unbeatable. We also went to Old Havana that is yet another World Heritage Site that is a unique place and this is evident from the music, history, the food and even the music. The only problem is the presence of street vendors that are very pushy thus, we avoided them. There are also numerous old crumbling buildings that seem to be getting better. The architecture of these buildings is fantastic that you will have a feel of how things used to be. Some of the buildings are used by the poor as their homes but you can be sure or your safety.
Plaza de la Catedral is another major attraction that you need to see when you travel to Cuba even though there are usually throngs of people who will aggressively persuade you to dine at one of the nearby open air restaurants. This was really annoying but we still got to see the beauty of this cathedral. Of important mention is the presence of the beautiful miniature Greek Orthodox cathedral that is tucked behind the main cathedral. I don’t normally love to visit museums because they usually have just about the same themes but my friend convinced me to visit the National Museum of beautiful Arts of Cuba because she is a lover of art. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. The building is very nice and the Cuban art collection is quite fascinating. It is the kind of art that you do not get to see anywhere else. I strongly recommend that you visit this museum that captures the historical spectrum from colonial times to the present day.
We also went to Mausoleo del Che Guevara where we saw several sculptures of Che. There is also a small museum as well as a number of graves of those revolutionaries that died in Bolivia. These monuments are amazingly beautiful. Unfortunately, the management does not allow cameras into the museum so there were no photos. Regardless of this, it is still worth a visit. We also went to Delfinario de Cienfuegos for the best Dolphin show I have ever had. Admission requires that you purchase your tickets that are fairly cheap at $45. Although there were other people here, I was lucky to be picked to swim with the Dolphins without paying any extra amount. My friend kept on cheering me as two dolphins lifted me out of the water and back. This was the highlight of my travel to Cuba and I would not mind doing it again.
Another place that you must visit particularly on your last day in Cuba is Acuavida Spa Talaso whose main focus is health and welfare through aesthetics, beauty and relaxation programs. My friend and I went for a mud wrap as well as a massage that was quite relaxing. We were also allowed to use the pools as well as the jaccuzzi. The staff here are also welcoming and polite that you will want to go back again and again.
We also had some fun sampling by sampling Cuba’s nightlife and our first stop was Club Salseando Chevere that is also known to be the best spot for Salsa lovers. There was great music both live and DJ, we also enjoyed watching partners dancing as well as free salsa dance lessons. We too were not left out of this electric mood as we took to the dance floor and had the best of times. Chevere was truly a great experience for us. We also went to La Zorra y el Cuervo that hosts some of the tremendous live jazz performances you can ever find in a club. However, you need to pay a set fee to access the club but this entitled us to two cocktails each.
There was no better way to wind up our time in Cuba than to go shopping even though our main objective was to get some souvenirs. Therefore, we went to Almacenes San Joe that was initially an old craft market that has now been improved to include a variety of items. It is also less crowded hence a minimal chance of falling prey to pickpockets. We sampled various Cuban arts as well as crafts that are hidden among other items. Other items that you can find at this shopping arcade include paintings as well as T-shirts. What was even more amazing is the fact that while these items are reasonably priced, there is room for bargaining so if you are a bargain hunter you can be well accommodated here. We also went to the Varadero street market that is also a fun and great place to meet the locals that are very friendly. We were surprised that some locals even extended an invitation to their homes an offer we happily accepted. This couple welcomed us warmly to their home before offering us some home cooked meals while we enjoyed a hearty conversation. We have since been in touch and home to make a subsequent trip but after they too have visited us. Although we were not able to exhaust all the attractions that Cuba has to offer, we had a great time in this great vacation destination therefore I can guarantee you that you will enjoy travelling to this destination.