A Travellerspoint blog

The Final Chapter

sunny 29 °C

Well, I´m in Mexico City on my way back home.

After Bayamo, I hiked up into the Sierra Maestra mountains with my new Dutch friends to check out the base camp where Fidel, Che and the revolutionaries launched their campaign. Challenging hike and fascinating to be there.

From there we moved onto Santiago De Cuba which prides itself as a cultural and revolutionary hub. Bacardi hailed from here. After dinner in Bacardi´s old palace and a pretty big night out (including salsa, a broken down taxi and a dip in a local pool), we decided to hit the coast and some beach action at Siboney. Sun, surf, lobster, mangoes, coconuts and local beer.

A couple of days on the beach was the perfect way to wind down and I was sad to leave Erwin and Leonie. They´ll be in Australia in November and it´ll be great to show them around.

I flew back to Havana in the middle of the night and managed to blag 1.5 nights at the Hotel National - the most famous and grandiose. After 5 weeks of hostels, cold showers, lumpy beds, fluro lights and street noise, I felt like a bit of comfort before heading home. The National certainly delivered, Caribbean Sea views, thick towels, a piping hot bath, clean sheets and . . . . . room service - get in!!

I had one last day in Havana to roam and I didn´t feel like a tourist anymore. I knew the streets, where the best deals were, how to ward off the tauts and where the best food can be found. That night, I surprised Eliecer at work and we went out for one last night on the town. It was the perfect farewell to Cuba, hanging out with locals in one of the worlds most enchanting and intriguing cities.

I´ll look over my notes on the plane and put in a final comment / summary of the trip - an epilogue if you will, when I get home (with more photos!). I get into Sydney on Saturday morning and looking forward to catching up over the next weeks.

All the best
(Returning) Latin Pata

Posted by Latin Pata 07:14 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Cuba Pics

sunny 32 °C

Double click the photo for a description.
Havana commentary below.

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Posted by Latin Pata 12:12 Archived in Cuba Comments (1)

Cuba Libre!!

sunny 28 °C

What an amazing place. I ended up spending 4 nights in Havana and thought I might never leave. It is truly one of the world’s magical cities. Decay and life all together and non-stop music at every turn.

I was lucky to strike up a few friendships here to get to know the real Cuba. Eliecer showed me the nightlife and Stefania, and Italian girl, showed me Havana by day. She was travelling as well but her Spanish was perfect so we ended up meeting so many locals and getting into places that ´gringo turistas´ don’t go.

Too much to write here but the highlights were the Buena Vista Social Club playing Chan Chan, sitting on my balcony with a cigar and local rum, salsa in the small hours, having dinner with Eliecer´s family, being invited into a local’s house to listen to the piano and singing / tapping, kids playing stickball in the afternoon while music billows out of every second casa.

I finally moved on to Santa Clara to see the Che monument and museum, then to Trinidad to chill out on the islands and take in the nightlife (including a late nightclub set in a cave!). I’ve moved onto Bayamo in the east, driving with a Dutch couple. We’re into the jungle tomorrow to check out where Fidel set up his revolution HQ in the Sierra Maestra mountains.

On the home stretch now, will be back in a week. See you then.

I´ll post some photos tomorrow.

Christopher

Posted by Latin Pata 15:20 Comments (2)

Mission Central America - Complete

Well, I made it from Cacun Mexico to Panama City in 18 days, seeing everything that I wanted along the way.

In Tortuguero, Costa Rica I was very lucky to see some great Leatherback turtle action. We hiked late at night and saw hatchlings coming to the surface after 90days in their sand nest, and finding their way to the sea. Also got to see a 2.5 meter mother turtle lay a nest and watched as she laboured to turn around and back into the Caribbean.
Followed up with a dawn canoe through the jungle canals to get up and close with the wildlife, from birds and iguanas to crocs and otters. Jungle adventure - tick.

Made my way down to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - a stoned surf town for creole food and beers on the beach. Met up with some Aussies, Irish girls and an American and got involved at the local beach reggae bar. Great night.

I was very lucky today to make it into Panama and get a flight from Boca Del Toro to Panama City ahead of my flight to Havana ('abana') tomorrow morning. Saw the canal and the 100+ tankers and big ships lining up to get through. Just got back from a fantastic tapas feast and a mojito at the local salsa bar. A great entree to the next part of the trip.

Hope everyone is well. Please fill me in on any news.

All the best,
CP

Posted by Latin Pata 20:01 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Lakes and Mountains

I’m in Costa Rica, between San Jose and Tortuguero (on the West Coast).
Got from the Bay Islands to Grenada Nicaragua in a day, via a connection to El Salvador. Had a ball in Grenada, a pretty colonial town, like Antigua. I met a few locals and had one of their Saturday nights – lots of rum & samba.

Spent some time on Isla de Ometepe, one island created from two volcanoes launching out of the world’s largest freshwater lake. Check it out on google earth - spectacular. As I’d already done the volcano thing, decided to chill out on the beach here and check out a local coffee plantation.

Getting from there to San Jose was a bit of a mission, including spending the night on the back of a converted fishing trawler and a punta boat up the river to the Costa Rica border, passing crocs and howler monkeys.

Everyone that I’m meeting along the way has an interesting story about volunteering, exploring, organic farming, etc.

Off now to get into some jungle.

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Posted by Latin Pata 07:40 Comments (0)

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