Here is the link if you want to check out Cuba Part 1: Havana. Part II: Vinales. During the same trip, we also made our way to Vinales and stayed in a casa particular (Cuban bed and breakfast). Our trip from Havana was pretty sketchy. We hired a driver who had an old Volkswagen westfalia camper. It was very old. The engine was so loud we couldn’t hear a thing. On top of that it started raining so badly we couldn’t even see in front of us. That was one of those moments in life where you start to really think hard about your decision making process while traveling. Nonetheless, we made it. In Vinales, the locals couldn’t have treated us any better – especially at the gym.
Fun fact: I rarely go to the gym in Canada. I keep my dad bod in line with a combo of climbing and salsa dancing. But when I’m travelling, however, I love to go to local gyms. I’ve had some incredible experiences and met fantastic locals by doing that, and the gyms are always epic in their own way. Vinales’ gym did not disappoint.
The gym consisted of a bunch of equipment from the 50/60’s, all sitting on the rich red dirt of a backyard. That’s where I met Alex. He was the only one there, a local guide on the tobacco farms who spoke English and French with ease. We bonded over working out, our love of languages, and our love of dance! He also gave me some important tips. For instance, according to Alex, the best time to go to the gym is at 5 pm. That’s when all the beautiful women are there. I’ll try to remember that for next time 😉
Alexys, Daniela and I hit up the best salsa club in town that evening and we danced the next 3 nights away. Another tidbit of information we learned: locals get ticketed by the police for dancing with tourists. $50 tickets! That’s a ton of money considering the average salary there is very low for such hefty fines. Alexys has a lot of these tickets, so these penalties definitely haven’t stopped him from making friends with tourists on the dance floor.
In Vinales we ended up taking a sunset horse ride through the tobacco fields ending off at a farmer’s home where we played dominos. This felt more like a tourist trap than most of our other experiences, but it was still a gorgeous setting, so I didn’t mind. The scenery was epic, and the other travellers we met were a lot of fun. One of the girls had an odd debilitating fear of birds. Our host family had a chicken coop on the back with hundreds of birds strutting and pecking around. Needless to say, we kept our friend out of harm’s way and gallantly shielded her from all those terrifying creatures 😉
I hope you enjoy my take on Cuba so far. Watch out for Part III which will be dedicated mostly on my pictures of the old cars! I’ll also definitely be going back to capture scenes from other parts of this fabulous country. Maybe I’ll even get some sleep this time!