After a very relaxed but interesting stay in Vinales, we continue our journey to Cienfuegos, on the south coast of Cuba. Finally we are heading to the sea, even if we will not spend the next two days directly on the beach yet. But first we have the longest drive of our trip ahead of us – first back to Havana and from there south to. Depending on who you ask, the trip can take anywhere from six to eight hours. We stocked up on snacks and drinks to make our ride in the current shared cab as comfortable as possible.
Cab ride from Vinales to Cienfuegos
The official cab we booked the day before at the cab center picks us up directly at the hotel. We have paid two CUC more per person – and are not badly surprised when a scruffy old minibus stops in front of the door. We sit down and then drive around the city for a good hour collecting more and more people. We are quickly dissuaded from our plan to sit in the last and somewhat wider row when we learn that this is the only row for four people, in all others only three will sit. After a short acclimatization we resigned ourselves to our fate for the next few hours and just hope that we get through the trip without any accidents. Shortly before Havana it gets even worse: suddenly everyone has to get off the bus, our suitcases are loaded, and we continue our journey with even less space and even more people. After half an hour my legs, which feel like they are hanging under my chin, fall asleep and I just hope that the last four hours will pass as fast as possible. The relief when we finally arrive in Cienfuegos could not be greater.
Hotel La Union Cienfuegos
In Cienfuegos we again booked a hotel in advance – and although I would have preferred to sleep in hostels spontaneously, we are super happy when we arrive and see: the hotel has a pool, which is super clean! No question where we spend the rest of the day – the drive to Cienfuegos was more than exhausting. Only shortly before dinner we dare to go out on the street again, walk a little round and have a look around before we go back to the hotel. The culture shock for today was big enough.
Cienfuegos, the center of the sugar industry
In the 19. In the 19th century Cienfuegos was a center of the sugar industry – and you can still guess that. The next morning we stroll through town, check out the harbor (the largest sugar export port in the world), walk through a souvenir market, take a cab to the Palacio de Valle and walk through the impressive rooms. Afterwards we have a mojito on the roof terrace before we think about what else we can see today. Finally, we let ourselves be brought to the bus station, where we buy the tickets for the next day, before we go once again to the Parque Jose Marti. I like the big square, where also the only triumphal arch of Cuba stands and which is conveniently located directly at the hotel.
By now we are completely into the Cuban way of life. Everything is slow, relaxed, and stress does not really exist. That's why we go back to the pool for a while to relax – we've already seen the city and it's actually too warm to walk around. Only in the evening we make it back on the street, a little strolling and then dinner, then one or two mojitos and that's it. Also the next day we are relaxed and check out as late as possible. The bus ride to Trinidad, which is scheduled for today, is fortunately not so far!
Have you ever been to Cienfuegos?? If yes, how did you like it there?