De Cuba, con amor

Hello my lovely readers! Today I will take a little bit of a break from our West Coast trip, and share some, or should I say A LOT of pictures from a recent trip to the beautiful Cuba. My mother-in-law, Helene, took us to Cuba for Christmas as a family (thank you so much!). Let me just say, I miss it so much already, and I would go back in a heart beat! Here are some pictures of our time spent in Cuba. But first, here is some Cuban music for you to listen to while you’re looking through the pictures. Enjoy!

Starfish Varadero Resort & Beach

We spent most of our time in Cuba at the resort relaxing, reading, soaking up the sun, riding the waves, eating, watching shows, dancing, sleeping… and repeat.

Cuba definitely has one of the most beautiful beaches that I’ve ever been to. The water is so clean with a vibrant aqua color, and the light colored sand is so soft. The setting sun always gave way to the ever soothing pastel colors. It was truly beautiful.  

We were really impressed with the evening shows. The dance performers were so incredibly gifted!

And food… well, fresh ripe papaya beats them all. I ate so much of it! Some other favorite foods of mine were the breaded fried fish, burgers, sea food paella, cookies, bread, and of course the piña coladas! We also enjoyed a special Christmas dinner, as well as a Cuban and Italian a la carte. 

Another highlight, coming from an animal lover, were the cats and dogs that we kept on seeing at the resort. They were clearly well socialized, as one of the cats jumped on Kevin’s lap, and the other one eventually joined in and got comfortable on my lap, as Kevin’s lap was already taken.

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My cousin (through marriage) Madeline designed and made this super comfy and cute dress for me just before leaving. Madeline is an amazing model, as well as a very gifted designer and seamstress. You can follow her on Instagram here, and see what she’s up to next. 🙂

Havana Cuba

We went on a one-day trip to Havana. Someone had recommended a Taxi driver that they knew to Helene ahead of time. Lisandro Hernandez and his driver Geyder ended up picking us up in a beautiful old car. I loved this experience so much! The smell of the car somehow reminded me of the smell of my grandparents’ old car. 

We stopped at the bridge of Bacunayagua, which is the highest bridge in Cuba (110m above the valley). What a beautiful stop! From there we continued on to the city of Havana. Lisandro and Geyder took us to some iconic places, such as the John Lennon Park, the Che Guevara Revolution Square, the National Capitol building, the Great Theater of Havana, El Floridita fish restaurant and cocktail bar, the Almacenes San José artisans’ market, and La Casa del Café store.

I was absolutely smitten with the old cars and old buildings, not to mention how colorful everything was! I could photograph in this city forever! 

By the way, if anyone is planning on going to Cuba and you need a taxi driver, I would highly, highly recommend Lisandro Hernandez and his team. It was a pleasure to spend the day with them. Not only did we get a ride in an epic car, they were also very informative, and fun to hang out with. I have his contact information if you wish to contact him in advance to make plans (comment below if you’re interested in more information). 

Bacunayagua Bridge (above)

John Lennon Park (above)

Che Guevara (above)

Revolution Square Cuba (above)

The National Capital building (above)

The Great Theater of Havana (above)

Ernest Hemingway eavesdropping on the customers at El Floridita fish restaurant and cocktail bar (above)

The Almacenes San José artisans’ market (above)

La Casa del Café (above)

Lisandro Hernandez and Geyder standing in front of our awesome ride (above)

Here’s another Cuban song for you to listen to:

Ecological Reserve in Varadero

A double decker bus comes by the resort every half hour. We got on board and toured the surrounding resorts and then went to Varadero’s Ecological Reserve. We enjoyed a short hike through the jungle. The jungle was very different from what I would have imagined. First of all, there are no dangerous animals in Cuba, even though it is in a tropical climate. Secondly, never did I expect to see cacti growing in the jungle. These were no average cacti, however. They were huge, and with age they seemed to lose their needles, and grow a thicker skin, like tree bark.

The rock was very porous at this location, meaning that you had to watch where you were walking, as some holes looked pretty deep.

We also saw huge termite nests bulging out of the trees, we found some snake skin that had been shed, and we saw so many air plants, growing in their natural habitat. But perhaps the coolest experience of all was the cave that we went into. The entrance was very low to the ground, so we had to crouch quite low in order to get in. Inside we met many cute bats hanging off the rocks. They were so tiny and cute, cuddling up to their buddies. I doubt they thought the same about us, as we were disturbing their sleep.

Varadero Town Centre

We very briefly went to the town of Varadero. We mainly went to the market, and explored the streets a little. I’m sure there are great restaurants to eat at, and other fun things to do here as well.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading along!! 🙂

 

Credits: The cute green dress (pictured further above) was made my Madeline

Photo credits: If I’m in the picture, it was taken either by Kevin or Melanie