Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cuba Diary Part II: Viñales; Trinidad… Varadero

My trip to Cuba was one of the most amazing trips I have had so far… and going to Cuba has been one of my oldest travel dreams, I think. I’ve always been inspired by the colors and rhythms and the hot cuban temper.

After spending a few days in Havana we headed towards the western part of the island to the small town of Viñales. At first sight Viñales is some other Cuba, after seeing Havana. Even a bit different you would imagine Cuba to be. The city itself is not offering too much, but there are quite enough restaurants with  amazing food and Cuban musicians playing every night. Viñales and the area around it is the main place of tobacco fields and the whole region is a national park. There is one of the best sandy beaches I’ve seen, just a short drive away… there is a lot of red soil, tobacco and banana fields…and the view is just outstanding!!!

Taking a  horseback riding across the valley was amazing, overall it’s for sure number one way to explore it; fields and people who makes a living from the growing tobacco. Besides you will learn how authentic Cuban cigars are rolled, you might try one of the best there and buy some for yourself. Then you will learn about coffee making and have a nice velvet cuban coffee while seating outside and enjoying the nature.  

Riding a bike through Viñales region is another great way to explore the beautiful area. Spending a few hours on the bike showed us not only the breathtaking views but also how shamelessly out of shape we were... we biked to the Mural de la Prehistoria, a huge mural painted by González Morillo, one of Diego Rivera followers, right on the walls of a mogote. It had taken  5 years to complete the mural which represents the theory of evolution.

Just an hour and a half away drive from Viñales is hiding one of the best beaches I've ever been to - Cayo Jutias…white sand, mixture of blue/green water, and those awkward dried tree trunks along the sand. Little Restaurant, a scuba diving club and shades made out of rows of palm tree compose the "entrance" of the beach, and the rest is pretty much deserted paradise.

Swimwear: O'Neill

For me Viñales is the absolute must go in Cuba… we went there for only 2 days but ended up staying 4… and in the end we still didn't feel like leaving it. 

…More and more amazing landscapes with endless palm trees, bananas and sugar cane fields,  along with sometimes heavily damaged roads followed us on the way to Trinidad.

The colourful, colonial town of Trinidad has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988. Plaza Mayor which is the central square is actually something like museum on open air...  museum of Spanish colonial architecture. The colorful buildings gives the town a bright, cheerful feeling and the original cobblestone streets make you feel as if time here has stood still.

Dress: Zara

Before we went to Havana we stopped for a few days for full all incisive relax in Varadero. We were really looking forward to just lie down on the beach, rest and enjoy the sun. Unfortunately we were a little disappointed from the way too commercialized resort… which 5* hotels can’t compare to other places 5* hotels in anything else but prices wise… the beach however was gorgeous and I can’t complain too much by being able to get a sun tan in the middle of January…

...go back to Part I

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cuba Diary Part I: Havana

       Since Americans can now legally travel there and with the direct flights for less then 3 hours (from NYC) Cuba now is one of hottest destinations… and totally deserves it!!! Spending there 2 of the most amazing weeks and escaping from the cold January NYC was magnificent. 
      With its incredible architecture, amazing local art, bright vintage car collection and salsa rhythms it serves as the perfect getaway for the stylish adventurers. 
Usually when preparing for my trips I always take  clothes  that are inspired by the places that I'm going to and are linked with my personal style. So for Cuba naturally I filled my suitcase with  colorful dresses, tops, and skirts - inspired by the 50’s fashion. They worked quite perfectly with the heat and the surroundings. 

Things you should definitely see 

      Some of my favorite places in Havana are Plaza Vieja, Hotel Nacional and Callejon de Hamel. You should also check out Museum of Revolution - if you’ve expected to be dull, filled with propaganda and short on history before Castro’s time—you are wrong! The former presidential palace is decorated by none other than Tiffany & Co and has beautiful neoclassical elements.

     Callejon de Hamel - The narrow two-block long alley between Aramburu and Hospital streets in Centro Habana has over the years become a shrine to Afro-Cuban religions through the art created by Salvador González. The buildings are lined with brightly-colored paintings, murals, sculptures and objects, which depict rituals and deities. Also, rumba groups play here every Sunday. 
       Here we had the chance to meet and hang out with Salvador himself, who’s  so amazing to talk with.  

      Hotel Nacional - From Winston Churchill to Frank Sinatra, Hotel Nacional has hosted some of the biggest names of the past century. Famous with the cocktails, cigars, and beautiful atmosphere, it’s definitely a must for everyone’s itinerary in Havana.

Things you should definitely do

Rent an old classic car and go back in time. It’s nice and enjoying 1 hour drive through the town which cost around 50 pesos.  

Have a nice, relaxing walk on Malecon

Enjoy the view from  San Cristobal Cathedral (Plaza de la Cathedral) and The Camera Obscura (Plaza Vieja).

San Cristobal Cathedral (Plaza de la Cathedral)

       And last but not least just enjoy the streets of Havana - try the street food… and the local "hair salons"… have a nice conversation with the locals… few mojitos and don’t be shy to dance salsa on the streets of Havana!   

Have a nice conversation with the locals

     Try the Local "hair salons" ;)

    Try the street food

     Plaza Vieja

    Plaza de la Revolution