See itinerary here

I flew to Havana on Friday October 12th after a day at work. Got to the airport with a direct flight with Air China (amazing new plane, good food, excellent service) and took a cab directly to a pre-booked casa particular few blocks from the Viazul bus station. As I mention here in my latest info, it is the first time I could pre-book a room and a bus ticket by internet before arriving to Cuba.

So, my trip really began in Cienfuegos, a 4.5hrs ride from Havana. I decided to stay in Punta Gorda, the southern strip of Cienfuegos, in a casa particular that had ''sea views'' (although it was more a lagoon view, as the sea was still 15km away). I walked (and did my jogging) from Punta Gorda to the Centro of Cienfuegos. The center of Cienfuegos was nice, but had nothing in particular... If you have seen Havana, Santa Clara or Trinidad, this city center looks like any of these cities. The waterfront, the colonial buildings on calle 37, the Malecon and the park at the end of Punta Gorda is what impressed me the most in this city.

I took a taxi that drove me to Palmira (North of Cienfuegos) and this place was absolutely out of this world! Authentic, horse carriages everywhere, old 1960s car everywhere and not a single tourist in sight... except me who was looking at this old train waiting at Palmira station. The locomotive was made in Russia, but the wagons were made in Iran. With the dusty street, the horses and the people, I felt I was in the middle of an old movie!

The taxi drove me directly to Rancho Luna, a beach located at 15km South East of Cienfuegos. The beach was nice, but water wasn’t crystal clear. Maybe this was due to the hurricane Michael passing by the week before...
During my 2 day-stay there, I visited the Jaqua Castle, where I had to take a shared truck, and then a boat across the strait to visit the castle. The best part of this daytrip were the incredible Soviet buildings, and a nearby (closed) nuclear power plant. There were lots of people around selling stuff, school kids eating fresh 0,25$ pizza, lots of clothes hanging from balconies and I felt I was -again- in a different time period on this planet.


The same nice, honest taxi driver from ''Casa Vista El Mar'' picked me up from Rancho Luna and drove me to La Boca, a small fishing village south of Trinidad for 40 CUC. This was the splurge of my trip as I didn't want to backtrack to Cienfuegos by taxi to take a collectivo bus (it would have cost me half of the price, but would have taken the entire day to do this).

I stopped on the way to the Botanical gardens of Cienfuegos. This visit was a big deception for me. First of all, the walking paths were not indicated at all, to the exception of one map I found in the parking -see pic-. The trails were covered by overgrown plants and the pseudo-hiking trails were muddy due to the rain of previous days. There were not a single sign listing a tree name... Maybe I should have taken a guide at the reception, but I really though this huge place was a little more made for self exploration. The entry cost was 2.50 CUC, but I am glad I didn't pat a taxi from Cienfuegos to come here (nor an organized tour for 35 CUC). For me, it was simply not worth it.

I stayed in La Boca, 4km from Trinidad and 8km from Playa Ancon. This placed was very quiet, low key and in my 2-day stay there, I only saw 3 tourists passing by on a bicycle.