A day before while walking in Trinidad with mojito in our hands we met a guy on a horse, who was offering horse back riding into national park. He said 40CUC all included and asked 10 in advance. Immediately I said no money in advance, because he just gave some hand written note with his name and licence number. How could we trust that? Then he said are you really going to show up and if we can give word for it? We said yes. Then he said that word matters to him. So I was hoping he won’t show up 9am, but he did. It was perfect timing.
So the other guy took us to the horses. The horses looked so tired. They gave me the biggest one as I was 100kg.
We walked the horses down the hill on the road. It was too slippery for the horses. When we got down, we all sat on the horses and were riding. The guy who was looking after us, was making horses to go faster, which was quite scary given the roads. In one place it was so muddy that I thought if I fall it is gonna be at least soft to fall into the mud. However, most scary part of riding was through narrow stone road.
First stop was in some restaurant where they were grilling entire pork. They sold us sugar cane drinks for 2CUC each. We also took rum shots for other 2CUC and offered to our cowboy a shot. He was so happy! The owner was offering for us to come back for lunch, but the place didn’t look very hygienic so we decided not to eat there, giving him explanation that we want to leave Trinidad to Cienfuegos as soon as possible to make it to Santa Clara.
Then we stopped at coffee place, where an owner was grinding his own browned coffee and making a pot for us. We also go a cigar as a present. 2CUC each for coffee. Those bee hives looked amazing. Also the bees apparently don’t sting.
After that we rode to the waterfall. Those narrow paths in the forest and stony path were quite scary. Once we arrived we had to pay 9CUC for the waterfall. 5 minute path was an easy hike, but waterfall was just OK. Must be must better in a rainy season. Everyone was swimming in the water. I didn’t go in to swim as didn’t want to wash my sun protection, since sun was just blazing, but the girls went in. I just refreshed my face with cool water.
Once we got back to the cowboy and horses, we ridden back home just for quick stop at that restaurant for a beer (2CUC). The horses were riding much faster and cowboy was showing me to kick the horse to ride faster. I didn’t want the horse to throw me! My horse liked going in front and whenever other horse was trying to take over it would move the head showing not to take other. He was the leader or something haha.
We got back to Trinidad full of good experiences, got off the horses and paid the guy additional tip of 5CUC.
Then we walked to our car and took off. Just before that our host asked us to pay for the car watching 2CUC (for last night) and for the beer we drank (4 cans) from the fridge 8CUC. Given that we have left her some presents, T-shirt and etc it felt a big miking us.
The road was fun going through national park. It was narrow and looked dangerous and the signs said the same to be careful when driving. Despite of that, the views were stunning. It felt almost like we are in a jungle. Breath taking! It took us at least couple hours to drive it through.
Once we left the jungle there was quite bad road leading to Santa Clara and started slightly to rain. We passed a hotel which reminds Soviet Union style hotels in the middle of nowhere.
We reached Santa Clara after another hour or so. Our main goal there was to see monument of Chegevara, but we weren’t sure which one was it as on the map in one place it was Chegevara mosuleum and in another the statue of Chegevara. We tried to find the latter with no luck, we just filled our tank with petrol for 36CUC and bought some water and beers in the shop for another 7.5CUC for 3 bottles of water and 3 beers.
When we arrived to mosuleum it was raining. We got out from the car for a quick photo and took off to Cienfuegos.
Once we got off in the highway (yes highway!) it started pouring so hard that we couldn’t see the road.
We stopped for some minutes for the rain to calm down, but it kept going. The cars were still going, so we decided to go too, just slowly. The closer we were getting to Cienfuegos the sunnier it was.
It was easy to find our apartment and the hosts offered us juice and we’re super friendly. They told us that doctors get 40 CUC, civil engineers 14CUC a month in here. They were joking me as a software engineer I could work here for 20CUC a month without deodorants or shampoos as it is difficult to get them. They also told us how difficult is to get medicine here. They both very educated and they managed to travel to Venice in Italy. The lady was telling how she bought 10 shampoos in Italy and cashier looked at her like crazy and asked if she really wanted 10 of them. Then she replied “Soy Cubana”, meaning I am Cuban.
The view from terrace in the apartment is amazing.
The hosts also recommended a restaurant called “A la my love”. We went there. I was so hungry that I have ordered crab starter (3CUC), smoked pork chops with cheese (9CUC) and crabs with chilli (8CUC). Cocktails were 2CUC each. Quite cheap. All mains came with salad and rice with beans. It looked so much food that I asked to take back one of the rice sides. I ate it all just left rice. It was delicious, especially pork as they know how to prepare it here. Initially we wanted for Lobster but they didn’t have it. Though when we were leaving a waitress promised us that tomorrow they will have. Also when leaving cute Cuban guy waved me thanking us and saying bye. We spent 81CUC, which is like 4-5 month pay.
Night out was crazy! We went to one pub filled with locals. 3CUC per cocktail. Same story in the squares, people trying to catch Wi-Fi for Internet. After that we ended up in some random place, which seemed to be karaoke bar. It was great! Two guys who work there sang all the time and they asked us to sing. After second very strong Cuba libre I was liberated and sang “Let it Be”. It was fun. I couldn’t finish second cocktail as it was too strong.
So hungover today, I headache though.