Category Archives: Cuba

M is for the Malecon in Havana

MThe Malecon is a road in Havana that runs along the sea and connects old Havana to other sections of Havana. Many colonial-style buildings line the street, facing the open sea. The buildings are in various forms of repair — and dis-repair. People come here at all hours of the day and night, to walk along the sea, play music and share good times.

I traveled down the Malecon several times during my stay in Havana, including in a Coco Taxi.  Here are some of my pictures of the Malecon and the sights you can see.

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K is for Kicking back with rum

KIt is so easy to Kick back with a drink made from rum in Cuba. How many different rum drinks can you find in Cuba?  A lot! Most people will know a Cuba Libre, or rum and cola. In Cuba, you get this with a Cuban version of cola. At the Tropicana, each table got bottles of rum, cola, and a bucket of ice and could make your own throughout the evening.

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Of course, Ernest Hemingway helped make two drinks in Cuba famous – mojitos and daiquiris.  Reportedly, his favourite daquari bar was the Floridita and drinks there can be more expensive than at other locations.

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At Café Europe on Opisbo Street, you can get either a mojito or daiquiri for $1.50 CUC — not bad!

In Trinidad, I got to try what is not my favourite Cuban Rum drink, a canchanchara. It is made from rum, lemon and honey and can be served hot or cold. I had it cold, a perfect drink after a long, hot day walking around. I think this was my favourite drink!

There is also different rum, depending on where you are in Cuba.  The easiest to find is Havana Club. In Santiago, they have their own Santiago Club, which they consider is the best. The reason? The location of the distillery is next near train tracks.  As trains roll by, the rum is gently shaken in the oaken casks, adding to its flavour.

I even started my dolphin adventure with another rum drink — it was very colourful!

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J is for John Lennon

JCuba loves revolutionaries and some consider John Lennon an adopted son.  You will find many portrayals of John Lennon as street art around Havana. I bought a print an art shop on Opisbo Street in Vieja Havana. the photographer called it Las Trilogia.

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The best-known tribute to John Lennon is a bronze statue, located in a park in Central Havana that many people call John Lennon Parque. Jose Villa Soberon sculpted this bronze statue of Lennon seated on a park bench. A marble tile at the foot of the bench says, “You may say I’m a dreamer” in Spanish. It was unveiled on the 20th anniversary of Lennon’s death, 8 December 2000.

One feature that makes this statue so unique is the removable glasses. As you can probably guess, these glasses have been “lost” several times, until someone came up with a unique solution.  Now, when you arrive at the park, an elderly gentleman sitting in the shade, walks up to the statue and reverently places the glasses on the statue so that tourists can take photos.  It is customary to give him a peso for this task.

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My Coco Taxi driver, Nadia, surprised me by taking me to this park on my tour of Havana.  She is also responsible for the picture below.

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I is for the Isle of Youth

IThe Isle of Youth, or Isla de la Juventud  is the largest island in the Canarreos Archipelago (Archipiélago de los Canarreos) chain of islands located to the south of the main island of Cuba. It has an interesting history, however the few tourists who come here are usually in search of a very private beach or some of the best diving and snorkeling Cuba has to offer. On the Cuba Cruise, some people took an opportunity to snorkel and saw lots of fish, including a very large barracuda.

The majority of people on the cruise opted for a visit to a perfect, white sand beach at Punta Francis – and literally, there was nothing on this beach except a small pier, a make-shift bar, and a few chairs that the locals setup.

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Punta Francis, Cuba

It is a slice of paradise!

H is for Havana

HIf I seem to gush about Havana, it is because it exceeded all my expectations and these were very high. There is a interesting mixture of energy and ease. For a large city of over 2 million people, it does not feel large or congested. It is easy to get around, the architecture is breathtaking, the people open and friendly, and it has a collection of so many little quirks that are just Havana.

It has beaches…

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Scenic drives…

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Nature…

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Art

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Classic buildings

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History


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Mostly, so much more I would like to explore. There is nothing like Havana!

G is for Guards

G In my travels, I have taken the opportunity to see many different Changing of the Guards Ceremonies. Some occur once a day, such as at Buckingham Palace, the Royal Palace in Stockholm or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, Greece. I love comparing the pomp of each ceremony — some things are the same but some are unique to each country.The one at the tomb of Jose Marti in Santiago de Cuba occurs every thirty minutes from 6 AM to 6 PM. Here are some pictures from this ceremony.

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