A Travellerspoint blog

Cuba - Fria

semi-overcast 24 °C

Everything flourishes under the Caribbean skies in the verdant valley of Viñales in western Cuba, and we feel like extras in a romantic movie set in the tropics in the 1800s…
The farmer of the land surrounding our comfortable abode harnesses his oxen to plough the land. His trees are laden with bananas, papayas, guavas, mangos and avocados, and piglets and chickens grub in the fields of corn. Vultures swirl overhead in search of a snack at dawn and the mother hen keeps an eye on her flock. The fighting cockerels have other concerns as they loudly crow their prowess. Sunday is fight day – some will be stew on Monday.

This angelic corner of heaven has been spruced up a notch in the past year. Almost every house has been given a makeover since our last visit and every other one is cashing in on the B&B market. But with the ever increasing crush of tourists there is a danger that this particular lily will become overly gilded…
The same is true of eateries. A dozen or more establishments have opened up shop in recent months and with so much competition a good meal still only costs $10 ($15 for the whole lobster). It is interesting to note that one enterprising restaurateur has seized on James’ fictional detective, David Bliss, as the name for his establishment. How could we resist eating there?
‘Build it and they will come,’ according to the maxim and it certainly seems true in Viñales where a fleet of tourist–laden air-conditioned buses turn up daily from Havana. But air-conditioning is for foreign cissies: the locals rely on their open-topped buses…
Cuba is a land of stark contrast between the rich and the poor, but everyone shares in its vibrant, noisome and colourful culture. Exotic flowers like bougainvillea, hibiscus, frangipane and orchids grow like weeds and everywhere is the tobacco - green and lush – bursting with life while promising death…
These shade grown plants, south of the tobacco capital of Pinar del Rio, are recognised as the source of the finest cigars in the world.
This is the dedicated plantation owner, Hector Diaz, who delighted in escorting us around his award-winning estate…

However, we have been clipped by a Polar vortex and midday temperatures have barely hit the mid-twenties – Celsius for the past couple of days. It is enough to make the locals dig out their winter woollies. With such bone-chilling temperatures it’s not surprising that the pristine aquamarine sea and mangrove-fringed beaches of Cayo Jutias were almost deserted…
Who would bathe in this tepid water except for us brave Canadian polar bear types?

Posted by Hawkson 11:23 Archived in Cuba

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Colours look so vibrant here. That pink house looks very cheerful.

by The Vickerage

Gorgeous Cuba - I hope to get there before it changes forever.That beach is warmer than Clark Bay in August!

by millerburr

The fog over Gabriola has lifted, The colours are not as vibrant as those in Cuba but there is light. Thinking about Cuba for next winter.

by Ramblingon

beautiful country. The beach is glorious. Mild weather here and cherry trees, crocus, and some daffodil are in bloom or on the verge.
Many thanks from an armchair traveller.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Brings back memories.....with a lot of updates, since I was there in the early '80's! Still beautiful, though..

by Sharron

And then there was the Cafe Bliss in Auckland. Fame is spreading! Love the colours in the neon sign. Gap between rich and poor? Not the image of Cuba commonly touted. But then the value of travel (and your blog) is challenging such myths.

by Tom Whalley

Gorgeous beach photo; cloudless sky; no garbage.
Awaiting food pictures. Menu in Cafe D'Bliss?
Tour of rum distillery?

by R and B

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