It's been a while since I've done a blog post, the last month has been hectic to say the least and largely internetless but I'm here with lots of content that just needs to be edited. Expect a lot of event and travel posts over the next month as a lot has happened in the last.  And this post is no exception, and is very picture heavy (So apologies for slow loading times) as it's my main photo diary from my two weeks in Cuba.

I spent my two weeks there on a Gecko's tour, especially tailored for Carnaval (which is currently sadly not available on their sire) and Carnaval was amazing as expected but there's a whole other post going to be dedicated just to that so here is the rest of my time in Cuba.


My first impression of Cuba was a 3 hour long line for money exchange and then finding that my taxi transfer never turned up. Oh Cuba! This was then followed by a day or two of tentatively exploring the city, meeting my tour group and gaining a frankly too good to be true impression of the vegan food options. I had an incredibly flattering (yeah... sure) caricature drawn of me in a park, met a few seriously adorable kittens, explored some second hand markets and watched a guy play a cows skull as an instrument. All in all not the worst start to a trip, it gave an impression.

Santa Clara

Santa Clara was a short but memorable stop, from watching a goat pull a cart of children round and round the main park, to gazing up at Hotel Santa Clara still full of bullet holes from the revolution. We watched a storm from afar as everyone gathered outside the old town hall for their usual Wednesday night full of music, alcohol, and wifi hot spots, then spent the night dancing away in a club where I am seriously impressed I didn't fall off the benches I was dancing on. The club closed and we searched for more only to end up in an El Rapido with bottles of rum, new friends, and only half the people we actually started our night with.

I learned many new dance moves and had an impromptu salsa lesson from a guy who told me with some practice I could be Cuban, but only if I stopped being so shy and didn't shake with the next guy I danced with. I had an early night ending it at around 3am so I could get some rest ready for the bus the next day.

Santiago De Cuba

Santiago, home to Carnaval and the place I was mainly in Cuba to see was a few days that did not disappoint. Carnaval will have to wait for another post but those weren't the only adventures here.

A day trip to a cigar factory was an interesting one, though sadly we couldn't take any pictures, it was still super interesting. I didn't quite realise that tobacco leaves are, in fact, leaves? I have no idea what I thought they were but gigantic dried leaves being rolled layer after layer into cigars were somehow not what I was expecting. Yeah that was probably a little dumb on my part.

One of the highlights of my trip was in Santiago, we were desperately looking for something vegetarian to eat and managed to find a house selling tortillas. We all stumbled in to be greeted by a family more than willing to spend the next hour feeding us tortillas and giving us drinks. The language barrier didn't seem to stop us having a pretty great time dancing around their kitchen, sharing a lot of laughs, and stuffing our faces. After selfies had been taken and we'd shared all the Cuban swear words we'd learnt so far we headed out to join the party again, only after cuddling the cutest puppy I think I have ever seen.

Here we also hopped into the back of a truck to take a trip to the beach, you know you're a vegan deprived of variety when being served actual vegetables was the highlight of the day despite the fact that we spent the rest of it lying on a beautifully secluded beach next to a house that the owners had built and painted like a pirate ship (goals)! 


Another super short stop, but one I actually got a decent amount of sleep in. Camaguey consisted of a short city tour, dinner, and an early morning explore. This didn't disappoint, people were so willing to have their photos taken and most of the people enjoying the morning quiet wanted a conversation. After taking a picture of a dog on a balcony only to have him start peeing off it at me that was the end of the exploration of Camaguey and it was time to head in for breakfast and a long bus ride to Trinidad.


Trinidad is a beautiful town, but also one very full of tourists. I mean I can see why with it's traditional colonial buildings, cobbled streets, art markets, and live music every night. 9 am on our second day there we were drinking rum at the bottom of a waterfall and enjoying the peace and quiet before anyone else had arrived , a pretty dreamy experience I wouldn't mind going back to.

I am, however, missing about 4 hours from my memory in Trinidad thanks to a rather wonderful cave party where I'm not quite sure I realised just how strong the drinks are. I became the "definition of white girl watsted" and noodled my way through the night - noodling being dancing like those blow up things outside of car dealerships - , fell over an awful lot on the way home (cobbles are very hard when you're drunk in flipflops), and tried to pay for my pizza six times. Definitely recommend the party but make sure you pace yourself better than I did.

The next day there was an incredibly hungover trip to the beach where I, surprisingly, spent most of the day asleep under a palm tree. I don't feel like the day was wasted, though, as on the way to the beach we stopped off to see wild flamingos! It was ridiculously exciting even if there were only three of them, who knew there were wild flamingos in Cuba (well definitely not me).

I also brushed up on my previous salsa skills with a formal lesson... the previous lesson did not help and the teacher called me her "problem student" as I kept trying to over complicate steps. But I got there in the end and am now looking for salsa classes for when I go back to Uni, maybe I can be their problem student instead...

Back To Havana

The end of the trip here was a sleepy and touristy one, we did the ultimate tourist thing of hiring classic cars to tour the city from which I gained zero regrets and a lot of pictures. It just kind of has to be done doesn't it? There was a trip to the museum where I managed to get by with everything being in Spanish and learned a bit about Cuba's native animals, and tried to go to the planetarium only to get confused by a an awful lot of Spanish I didn't understand before I even got through the door. Other than that there was a lot of time in Havana spent sleeping and souvenir shopping, and though I wish I'd explored further I really did need that sleep.

And now prepare for an awful lot of photos, stay tuned for my Carnaval post (and video) in the week(s) to come!