A couple of years ago we took a trip to Cuba with Access Culinary trips. It was the first trip with had ever taken with a tour group. In fact, it is still our only trip we have ever taken with a tour group. And although we aren’t typically tour people we felt that Access Culinary trips crafted the perfect Cuba itinerary!

You can read here to learn more about why we selected Access Culinary Trips and what we liked about it.

In this post I will be telling you what we did while on this tour. This will NOT give you an exact itinerary of what Access Culinary Trips is doing NOW on their tours of Cuba. Please check their website for a detailed itinerary of what they are doing now.

Instead, my goal is in writing this post to give you a general feel for what an Access Culinary trip might be like if you choose to go on a tour with them. This will also give you an idea of what to expect from a visit to the fascinating country of Cuba as well as what a Cuba itinerary might look like and how your might plan your own trip to Cuba.

Table of Contents

Day 1 – Arrival in Havana Cuba

The Airport in Havana

We departed from Miami and touched down in Havana on a warm and breezy December day. Getting through immigration and customs was easier than expected.

Waiting for our luggage in the small, bustling, and un-air-conditioned baggage claim area I was surprised by the number of large packages that surrounded us. These were packages of luxury items as well as necessities. There were televisions and other electronic items all wrapped in bubble wrap and taped with blue tape. Large containers of items like toilet paper and soaps, canned goods and bicycles, huge wrapped packages of unidentifiable items – it looked a bit like a Costco in there.

Checked luggage is very carefully screened coming into Cuba. They search for illegal substances and contraband so you can expect some delays in getting your luggage. We waited about an hour. Honestly if you are a traveler who needs everything to run promptly and smoothly then Cuba might not be the place for you!

Our Guide and Group for our Access Culinary Tour

Once we gathered our bags we departed the airport to find our tour guide, who is nicknamed Pototo, waiting for us with a warm smile. We were surprised to discover that there was only one other couple in our tour group! Yes, just 4 of us!

I’m not going to lie. At first this made me nervous. We were going to be together for the next 8 days and with only one other couple there is nowhere to hide if you don’t get along! I’ve written about the potential pitfalls of traveling with friends. This held the possibility of being even more difficult – travel with strangers!

Thankfully we quickly discovered that the four of us were equally easy going travelers and a great adventuring partnership was formed. We are still in touch and hope to travel again together some day!

Our group consisted of my husband and I, our new friends Ken and Shelly, our tour guide Pototo, and our driver Leonardo. It was like having a private tour!

Our ride for the week

Oh, did I mention that we were riding in style in a classic Chevy? This vehicle was going to be our ride for the week. I have written here about the classic cars in Cuba if you’d like to learn a bit more about what it takes to keep these cars running.

Where we stayed with Access Culinary Trips – Casa Mela

Our first stop was to get settled into Casa Mela, our casa particular in Havana. Casa Mela was much more luxurious than I was expecting! We had a large room with a king sized bed and our own bathroom. There was a swimming pool and a pool bar which had an attendant both night and day.

If you are planning your own itinerary for Cuba I recommend staying in a Casa Particular. Not only do you help the local people but it is a great way to learn more about the Cuban culture.

We unpacked and decided to walk down the road because we could see a sliver of ocean. This was where we first fully understood that Cuba was going to be a place of contrasts. We left the luxury of Casa Mela and walked towards some apartment blocks that were on a small bay. They had a view that would have cost a fortune in the US, but looked as if they were falling apart and the small beaches on which they stood were covered in trash. If you are planning your own Cuba itinerary I suggest that you build in time to see the way that the Cuban people actually live if at all possible.

Dinner at Atelier

Eating at Atelier in Havana, Cuba.

Pototo and Leonardo collected us and we had dinner at Atelier which is a paladar in a home in the Vedado area of Havana. It had a nice and quiet ambiance. It seemed that all of the guests were tourists. Pototo intimated that this was because most Cubans would not be able able to afford to eat here. I had seafood and arugula salad followed by a main course of the traditional ropa viejo. Kevin had tomato and feta salad with grilled mahi mahi for his main course. Dessert was chocolate souffle for me and flan for Kevin. It was nice to spend time getting to know Ken and Shelly and Pototo was there to answer our multitude of questions about Cuba.

It was a nice first day on our trip to Cuba!

Day 2 – Touring and Eating our Way Around Old Havana

When planning your Cuba Itinerary the Hotel Nacional de Cuba is a must see.

Hotel Nacional de Cuba:

After a lovely breakfast at Casa Mela our first stop was the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. I was immediately taken by how much it looked like the Breakers Hotel on Palm Beach. My husband is from Palm Beach County and we lived there for many years. The similarity between the two hotels was striking!

It was obvious that this was once a very grand hotel. It was still stately, spotlessly clean, but a touch shabby. A grande dame fallen on hard times but trying hard to keep up appearances. We toured the stunning grounds and visited one of the hotel bars which is known for having pictures of all the famous people who have visited there.

Afterward we were driven by Leonardo to old Havana. Pototo took us to the four main squares of the old section of Havana, the Plaza de Armas, Plaza Viejo, Plaza de la Catedral and Plaza de San Francisco and gave us a bit of history about each one. The Plazas are a must when planning your own Cuba itinerary.

Plaza de Arma

The Plaza de Armas is shaded and inviting with with lush tropical foliage surrounding a statue in the middle. On several days of the week, including the day we were there, it has a little market around the perimeter with people selling old books and other items.

Plaza de la Catedral

Plaza de la Catedral is the one you will have seen most often in photos. It has the beautiful and interestingly asymmetrical Catedral de San Cristobal. The buildings surrounding the square were mostly built in the 1700’s and are made of stones that are beautifully weathered.

Plaza de la Catedral is the home of Catedral de San Cristobal which has an interestingly asymmetrical facade.

Plaza Vieja

Plaza Vieja is perhaps the prettiest of the plazas and has more of a residential feeling than the others. In fact, the buildings around were originally elegant residences from a variety of centuries. They seem to be well maintained and some have been renovated in recent years.

Plaza Vieja is perhaps the most beautiful of the main plazas in Havana, Cuba. It is surrounded by old houses in various shades of cream and yellow with blue trim. I suggest that you add this to your list for your Cuba Itinerary. This is a lovely plaza with some restaurants.

Plaza de San Fracisco

Plaza De San Francisco has more of a commercial feel as it is just across from the port. This was where the old customs house and the stock exchange used to be located. It is a large, breezy place and there is a lovely fountain from the 1800’s in the center. While we were there they had some interesting art installations in the square.

Museo del Chocolate

In the midst of all the plaza hopping we took a mid morning break at the Museum of Chocolate (museo del chocolate.) I think calling it a museum is a bit of a stretch. It was more of a chocolate factory and that is certainly not a bad thing! Pototo purchased churros from the street vendor conveniently located outside the door for us to dip into our thick and decadent chocolate. I would definitely add this to the chocolate shop to the Havana part of your Cuba itinerary.

Paladar La Guarida

You enter the Paladar La Guarida, one of the most famous restaurants in Havana, Cuba via a crumbling staircase. Yet there is somehow a beauty in the faded glory of the old building.
You enter the Paladar La Guarida, one of the most famous restaurants in Havana, Cuba via a crumbling staircase. Yet there is somehow a beauty in the faded glory of the old building. I think that eating at Paladar La Guarida is a must to add to your Cuba itinerary.

Lunch was at one of the most famous and elegant of the paladares, Paladar La Guarida. It is on an upper floor of a decaying building. As I ascended the stairs the thought did cross my mind that the place might crumble around me. And yet, like many of the buildings in Havana there was a beauty to the fading glory. As if the paint had been intentionally made to flake and the iron work intentionally made to rust. The dining area itself was sophisticated, the food was delicious, and the entire experience was a bit magical. This is a must when planning your itinerary for Havana!

Callejon de Hamel

This vibrant two block alley is covered with murals and art installations which show the Cuban propensity for making do with what they have. This is art made from leftovers and throw aways. It includes a throne which is supposed to give you good luck as well as a circle of benches made of bathtubs. The Cuban people might not have consumer goods but they have creativity. On Sundays there is Cuban music and dancing in the alley. I would highly recommend to put this area on the list for your Cuba itinerary.

Learning to Salsa

The group learning to salsa!

Perhaps the highlight of the day was going to the home of a young salsa dancer to learn a few salsa moves. We had to climb a rickety spiral staircase to the apartment because the elevator never works. The rooms in the old part of Havana tend to be open and high ceilinged in order to combat the heat. Very few people have air conditioning. We were sweltering while we danced, but it was so much fun!

Evening Relaxing at Casa Mela

We arrived back at Casa Mela hot and sweaty from dancing and refreshed ourselves with a swim followed by drinks beside the pool We had the choice to go out to dinner in the neighborhood or the attendant, Adrian, would make us something to eat. We opted for sandwiches in! We visited with Ken and Shelly and Adrian, sipped mojitos, listened to music, and had a lovely evening at home. This was to become a pattern for the trip whenever there was an option to go out or stay in!

Day 3 – The Markets of Havana – Compare and Contrast

Farmers market in Havana, Cuba. I would highly suggest a visit to the farmers market when planning your itinerary for Cuba.

Farmer’s Market

We started this rainy morning at the local Farmer’s Market which fortunately was under cover. This was one of my favorite stops of the trip. The market was surprising on two fronts. First, it was priced in the local currency of cuban pesos and we were able to really see how much lower the local price was than what the tourists pay. In addition there was a much better selection of fruits and vegetables than I was expecting.

Meats were being processed right there and sold without refrigeration or covering from flies. It is rare for the Cuban people to have beef and there was none at this market.

This place was, like so much else in Cuba, an odd mix of both government control and free market enterprise. The approved farmers/vendors rent their space from the government, but then are allowed to sell their wares here.

The Malecon

From there we drove along the Malecon. The Malecon is a famous stretch of avenue along the ocean, with a large sidewalk and wall separating Havana from the sea. Waves were crashing over the wall, every car seemed to be an old classic, people were walking and waving and laughing, drivers were honking and waving back. You could sense that certain sections of the wall form a popular gathering place for the local people.

Grocery Store and Mall

Our next stop was a grocery store that anchored one end of a shopping mall all of which was government owned. Pototo wanted us to be able to compare what was available at the freer farmer’s market from what was available here. Although the shelves of the grocery store were not full there were some basic items.

The thing we noticed was the lack of choices. For example if you wanted cooking oil there might be an entire shelf of oil, but it would be all one kind. If you wanted canned tomatoes there would be one kind to choose from. The options were extremely basic. There was very little meat in the store and prices were surprisingly high.

It really made us realize how hard it would be for the Cuban chef or home cook. Everyone has to learn to adapt depending on whatever is available at the moment.

There were a few clothing stores in the mall which were about the same price and quality as a fast fashion store in the US. Furnishings and other household items were very expensive, definitely pricier than similar items at a box chain in the US and the quality was very poor.

Museum of the City

The Museum of the City which was housed in what used to be the old Spanish Government Building at the Plaza de Armas. The building had spacious rooms with the typical high ceilings. Huge columns with arched openings framed a gorgeous courtyard. The museum is about the history of Cuba as well as Havana.

You could see the old decor of the rooms from the Spanish colonial period which was rich with ornamentation and gold. There were portraits of the heroes of Cuba, cannons, and old flags, including the first flag of Cuba which happened to be made in New York City.

Azucar Lounge

We went back to Plaza Vieja for lunch. Many of the buildings around the square now house restaurants. We ate at Azucar lounge which was on the second floor of one of the weathered structures. The decor was modern and trying very hard to be swanky and there was a balcony overlooking the plaza. This was my least favorite meal, but it might have been what I ordered. Ken and Shelley and Kevin had the pork which was much better than my shrimp mojito dish. Service was incredibly indifferent and it took forever to get coffee and the check. We definitely had mixed reviews about this place!

Almacenas de San Jose

Almacenas de san Jose is a handicraft market at the port of Old Havana. It is basically a huge warehouse just off the Plaza de San Francisco. Inside are dozens of tiny stalls. You can find leather items, natural fiber hats and baskets, small touristy items, paintings and photos…after a while you will start to notice that you are seeing the same items over and over again.

Pototo told us that the items that the vendors are allowed to sell is highly regulated. If you look hard enough you can find some original items, particularly in the art and photography sections. It is an interesting and pleasant way to interact with the Cuban people.

The Floridita

Touristy? Definitely! But still a must go. The Floridita is arguably the most famous bar in Cuba. Famous for being the birth place of the daquiri and famous for being the hang-out of Ernest Hemingway. It was crowded and lively. If possible try to sit where you can watch the bar-tenders work. Many of them have been working at the Floridita for years and they do their job with panache. I can’t imagine planning an itinerary for Cuba and not including the Floridita. It is worth a stop despite the crowds.

Dinner at Pototo’s house

We went through a door that opened onto a Havana street, up a steep and long set of stairs and into Pototo’s home for drinks and dinner. It was an exceptionally fun and pleasant evening. Honestly, one of my favorite meals!

We enjoyed seeing Pototo’s home and getting to hear about his future plans to convert some rooms into rentals. The homes that we saw in Havana were built with extremely high ceilings, and thick walls to help with the heat. There were lots of windows and even though the space was not air-conditioned there was a nice cool breeze.

We entered the living area from the stairwell, but most of the bedrooms, the kitchen, and bathrooms were off of a covered, exterior corridor that looked down on a courtyard.

Pototo served us skewers of shrimp and lobster with a little pepper on them, we had corn fritters, chicken croquettes, fish sticks made with red snapper, plaintain chips…everything was excellent and homemade.

Best of all, an older gentleman who had worked for years as a bartender at the Floridita was there to make us drinks. He was wearing his full Floridita uniform as well as a vest covered with pins that people had given him from all over the world. I had the best daquiri I’ve ever had in my life, followed by the best mojito I’ve ever had in my life, but then I got adventurous and tried a daquiri which was bright green and tasted like banana and mint. It was the ONLY one of those I’ve ever had in my life!

Day 4 – A visit to the countryside of Vinales is an important part of every itinerary for Cuba

Drive to Vinales -Sights along the Roads

We rose early for the three hour drive to Vinales. It was a gorgeous day, cooler, with clear blue skies. Once you get out of Havana the roads become unusually empty. They are extremely well maintained, but with very few vehicles. You will see horse drawn wagons and horseback riders as well as bicyclists on the roads. At every shady underpass there will be people waiting for a ride, money in hand to show that they will pay. Public transportation is rare and crowded in Cuba so an entire black market for rides has arisen.

Old cars along the road in Cuba that are barely holding together.

Many of the vehicles that you do see on the road are the classic cars, but they seem to become less pristine and more cobbled together the farther away from the city that you get. I have written more about them here.

As we drove we would also see vendors on the side of the road selling a variety of items. Pototo had Leonardo pull over and get us a big chunk of buffalo mozzarella and guava paste to save for later. Apparently the Cubans make sandwiches out of two pieces of mozzarella with guava paste spread in the middle! It was yummy!

Pinar Del Rio Guayabita Factory

We were quickly in the country side and it was green and lush with a multitude of palm trees. I think that this area is one that everyone should have as part of their Cuba itinerary!

We passed through little rural villages with brightly colored homes and stopped in the small, busy, and colorful town of Pinar Del Rio where we visited a distillery. Cuba is famous for rum which is made from sugar cane. This distillery makes a type of rum that is only created in this area.

There is a little berry that grows locally called the guayabita which means little guava. Years ago someone had the brilliant idea of infusing the flavor of the berry into distilled sugar cane creating a drink that is smooth and delicious. This is small artisanal production and unique to the Province of Pinar del Rio. We took a tour of the distillery and of course bought a couple of bottles to bring home with us.

Rum factory in Cuba.

Cueva Del Indio

Soon after our distillery tour we were in the valley of Vinales. Such a unique place! The oddly shaped, steep sided mountains called mogotes were formed because of the soluble limestone in the area, they are covered in tropical vegetation. You can’t help but to feel that you are in a prehistoric place and that a pterodactyl might soar over head any minute.

Due to the limestone in the area there are also a large number of caves. We stopped for a visit inside the Cueva del Indio which begins with a walk through the caves and ends with a boat ride on the underground river and out through a crack in the rocks. We enjoyed seeing the cave, but it was very touristy! I think that this is one thing that you can actually leave off of your list when planning your Cuba itinerary.

Cueva del Indio in Vinales, Cuba

Cigar Farm

Next up was one of my favorite stops on our itinerary for Vinales. The rich red soil in Vinales is perfect for growing tobacco. We walked up a dirt road to a tobacco farm. It was obvious that the work here was done mostly by hand. The locals and farmers were almost all on horseback looking like cowboys from the old west. It was a fascinating as we walked along with horses and wagons, oxen, dogs, and chickens.

The farmer who gave the cigar demonstration puffed his cigar as he told us all about the process of growing, harvesting, drying, and rolling tobacco for the famous Cuban cigars. Wreaths of smoke wafted around his face as he explained that the farmers are required to sell 90% of their product to the government at a mandated price. They can only keep 10% to sell at a market price to make a profit from their labors. They are worried that their children will not want to continue the work that has been passed through some of these families for generations because they must work so hard for so little.

Tobacco farm in Vinales Cuba. The farmer smoked his cigar as he told us about the entire cigar making process. HIghly recommend adding a cigar farm to your Cuba itinerary.

Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso – Casa de Confianza

Our next stop was on top of one of the limestone hills to a restaurant and organic farm, Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso. We were free to explore the terraced, neatly maintained and beautiful farm before lunch. For our meal we were seated on a large veranda with stunning views and handed an interesting coconut and banana drink with spices on top. There was a bottle of rum on the table that we could use to spike our drink if we wanted. They claimed that this drink was supposed to relieve stress. I know that I was feeling zero anxiety on this lovely day in a lovely setting.

The food started arriving and for a minute we weren’t sure it was going to stop! We had taro chips with guacamole, sweet potato, pumpkin, fish, lamb in sauce, yuca, roast pork, vegetable soup, cucumbers, tomato, cooked cabbage, beets…the meal was served family style and it was a great experience. The flan for dessert might have been the star of the show.

This was a lovely meal and I was so glad that it was part of the Cuba itinerary planned by Access Culinary Tours. It is definitely some place you could go on your own as well.

An Evening In at Casa Mela

After our late lunch we went to an overlook for some more unbelievable views and then made the long drive home. We could have gone out that evening, but really, why would we want to leave Casa Mela when we could sit at the pool bar and chat while drinking mojitos and trying our fresh mozzarella and guava paste sandwiches – which are pretty good by the way!

Day 5 – Art and More Farm to Table Eating on the Cuba Itinerary!

Classic car driving through the streets of Fusterlandia. Jose Fuster started putting mosaics on his own house and soon the neighbors allowed him to cover theirs as well. This is vibrant street art explosion that must be seen. We visited while on our Cuba tour with Access Culinary trips. Fusterlandia is should absolutely be a part of your itinerary for Cuba!


This is an absolute must see on any itinerary for Cuba!

Fusterlandia must be one of the most vibrant art installations in the world. It is reminiscent of Gaudi and Parc Guell, but with a flair that is all Cuban! Fusterlandia is an explosion of mosaics that have taken over the little village/neighborhood of Jamiantas on the outskirts of Havana.

According to Pototo the artist, Jose Fuster, started adding tile mosiacs to his own house during a “Very bad time for Cuba. He wanted to do something to create joy.” The neighbors at first looked askance at what was going on, but before too long they were agreeing to let Fuster put mosaics on their homes and fences as well. Now there are at least 80 homes and businesses involved and Fusterlandia is still growing. Fuster’s vision is bringing joy not just to the Cuban people in his neighborhood but to everyone who visits.

Finca Marta

Finca Marta is another organic farm that is particularly impressive because of the dreams and vision of its charismatic creator, Fernando Funes Monzote. Fernando is an academic/writer/farmer/speaker/activist who began his farm about 10 years ago. It is amazing what he has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

The idea behind Finca Marta is to take a wholistic approach to organic gardening, farming, and most of all helping and employing the people in the area. Fernando said that his most important dream is to improve the lives of the Cuban people.

He had completed and was still working on a variety of interesting projects including digging a well by hand and using methane gas from the oxen manure with which to cook. Fernando sells much of his produce to restaurants in Havana and hopes to someday have a refrigerated truck in order to be able to get his produce into more far flung areas of his country.

This is really a special place and Fernando was fascinating to listen to. Lunch was a delicious farm to table meal provided by Fernando and his wife. I would suggest that you follow the Finca Marta Facebook page located here if this type of agriculture is interesting to you!

Revolution Square

Pototo took us back to Havana to Revolution Square and gave us a bit of the history of the country and the events that have happened here. The square is huge and is a historic symbol of Cuba. There is a government building nearby that is known for the iconic image of Che Gueva. Che got a companion in 2009 with the portrait of Camilo Cienfuegos installed on an adjacent building. This place seems to mostly be the site of political rallies though it was empty on the day we visited and in all honesty felt a bit grim. Even though it is somewhat bleak it is a place that should be on your itinerary for Cuba as it is an important part of the history of this country.

Cooking class at La Fontana Paladar

Our first session of the evening was a mojito making class. Julio, our bartender was a personable young man who told us about his desire to visit his sister who was a teacher in Austin Texas. Unfortunately he isn’t allowed to leave the country because as a young, single male he is considered a flight risk.

Next we had a paella class. It was here that we really recognized the way that the Cuban people must make do with the ingredients that they can get. After putting the paella together we were seated in the restaurant and served the food we had made. It was delicious!.

The restaurant is lush with plants and koi ponds and water features everywhere. It was originally a house built in the 50’s and there was seating in the old rooms of the house as well as open air seating in what must have been a courtyard. The room where we were seated had a curved wall with lovely curved windows. So much craftsmanship. Musicians wandered from room to room entertaining the patrons.

We were served bread with herb butter and bruschetta, an eggplant appetizer that was delicious, a salad and then our shrimp, lobster and fish paella. Great meal, perhaps the best of the trip so I would recommend trying this restaurant if you go on your own.

Day 6 – Going to Trinidad

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana

We started our morning enjoying the views of Havana across the famous bay from the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana.

Seeing the Views of Havana Cuba from across the bay was part of our Cuba itinerary on our Access Culinary Trip.

Museo del Aire

I’m not sure if this is a typical stop for the tour groups or if Potato and Leonardo decided to make this stop because both of the men of our small tour group are pilots and love airplanes. This had been a large topic of discussion throughout our trip. This open air museum was located near a Cuban armed forces base and the guys definitely enjoyed seeing the various planes and types of war equipment. I think the highlight was seeing a Russian MIG.

Drive to Trinidad

It is about a five hour drive from Havana to the colonial city of Trinidad so much of our day was spent traveling. Once again I was fascinated by the sparsity of motor vehicles on the road as we traveled.

We stopped at one of the roadside stands for a Cuban coffee and bathroom break, and some very happy, possibly inebriated, locals from a nearby neighborhood came by. There were celebrating the birthday of one of their friends with a pig roast and convinced us to give them money so that they could buy more rum to continue their celebration.

Arrival in Trinidad – A place you must add to your Cuba itinerary!

We arrived in the beautiful coastal colonial town of Trinidad on a gorgeous afternoon. Much of the colonial architecture has survived and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. You could tell that our casa particular had once been a grand home. The rooms were now somewhat sparse, but very clean and had air conditioning as well as a tiny en suite bathroom. We also had a dining area and a nice rooftop to sit and enjoy the beautiful views.

I definitely noticed the difference in the acceptable building codes in the way the electricity was wired just outside our window as well as the concrete balcony which looked as if it was barely hanging on to the rebar. We were very happy with our location which was quiet but near the city center.

Plaza Mayor

The narrow streets of Trinidad lead to Plaza Mayor, a lovely cobblestoned square. Homes and businesses and public buildings are painted in a variety of cheerful colors. Palm trees were silhouetted against a bright blue sky and the late afternoon sun was causing everything and everyone to glow. People strolled through the streets or rode in horse drawn wagons. Children were playing and adults were doing their last minute shopping for dinner and chatting and laughing.

Convento de San Francisco

While wandering through the Plaza Mayor you can’t help but notice the bright yellow bell tower of the Convento de San Fransico. The old convent is now a museum which houses a few artifacts and tells the story of the revolution. The highlight is the climb up the bell tower and the views along the way. We made it to the top in time for sunset.

Casa de la Musica

By the time we descended the bell tower it was starting to get dark. We enjoyed dinner on the patio of a paladar, then grabbed a freshly made pina colada in a pineapple from a nearby vendor and whiled away the evening on the stairs of the of the Casa de la Musica. This Casa is an alfresco affair. Bars and bands are set up on the stairs just off the plaza Mayor and tourists and locals alike congregate to enjoy a drink, listen to some music, and do a little dancing.

Day 7 – A fish tale – My favorite morning and favorite meal of our entire itinerary in Cuba!

Playa del la boca

This was one of my favorite mornings of our entire itinerary in Cuba! We were up before the sun to go to Playa la Boca to watch the fishermen bring in their catch. The boats that the fishermen use are tiny with small out-board motors that seem to just putt along. We were told that they aren’t allowed to use bigger engines because those might allow the fishermen to reach the US. These motors were just big enough to let them catch their daily limit but not take them further.

We had coffee at the home of the local chef who would be serving us lunch later that day, we watched the fishing boats coming and going, walked on the gorgeous beach, and selected the fish that we would be eating later that day.

Valle de los Ingenios and the Iznaga Tower

After our early morning excursion we headed back to our casa particular for breakfast. and then took a drive through the Valle de los Ingenios. This area was known for sugarcane and sugar cane plantations during the Spanish colonial times.

Decried by some in its day as ostentatious, stories vary about the building and purpose of the Manaca Iznaga bell tower. Some say that two brothers were in a competition to achieve fame and one built the tower while another built a well. It seems that it probably served as a lookout tower where the family could observe their vast sugar lands.

The tower was surrounded by textile sellers which made for a beautiful and chaotic scene. I bought a gorgeous table cloth with napkins that we love to use.

We stopped for a local drink made from pressed sugar cane, which was surprisingly delicious.

You may or may not want to climb the tower as part of your itinerary in Cuba. We did. It was a bit of a climb, but the views were lovely!

Playa Ancon

More beach time in Trinidad! We spent a little bit of time walking this gorgeous beach before returning to Playa de Boca for lunch.

Lunch at Playa la Boca

It is difficult for me to put the feelings that I had during this lunch into words. We ate at the home of a local chef who lives at Playa de Boca. We visited with him and his little granddaughter as he grilled our freshly caught fish on his front porch and then we ate a delicious lunch with Ken and Shelly and Pototo and Leaonardo. The 6 of us had been together for 7 days now.

Family. That’s the word I’m searching for. It felt like a family meal and was definitely my favorite culinary experience of the trip.

Museo de Arquitectura Colonial

This was a very interesting museum that showed you the way the wealthy sugar plantation owners would have lived. The Museum is in the 18th century mansion formerly owned by Sanchez Iznaga. (of the tower family fame) Inside you’ll get a glimpse of what these large homes looked like and the relative luxury in which their owners lived. There was even an impressive 19th-century style bathroom.

The Streets of Trinidad

Much of our last afternoon in Cuba was spent simply wandering and observing. Definitely build time into your Cuba itinerary for just watching and soaking in the atmosphere!

Sunset in Trinidad

We spent our last evening on the rooftop of our Casa watching the sun set over the rooftops of Trinidad. After this we walked to one last dinner with Leonardo and Pototo. I didn’t even write down where we ate! I remember more the feelings of the meal than the meal itself. It had been a beautiful trip.

Sunset in Trinidad Cuba. Take the time to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets across the ocean on your trip to Cuba.
Sunset in Trinidad Cuba. Enjoying the sunset should definitely be part of your Cuba itinerary.

I’ve written some of my more personal thoughts and feelings about Cuba here.

We thank you so much for stopping by and we love it when you pin!

Cuba is a fascinating country to visit. Ideas for planning your perfect Cuba itinerary!

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