3 Minutes in Cuba with Far-Flung Travels (Episode 3)

Road trip! We’re heading to Trinidad on Cuba’s south coast and taking in the countryside along the way.

Transcript from the video:

It takes about four hours to get to Trinidad on Cuba’s south coast. There’s very little traffic along the national highway, but it’s a different story on the side roads. People on bikes, tractors, horses and then there’s the herd of cows running along the road with the car.

Cubans love to eat meant, but it is illegal to kill a cow in Cuba, even if if you raised it. They all belong to the Cuban government and you could go to jail for 25 years. Sounds ridiculous, but true. Cuba raises its beef exclusively for export or for tourism. Nationals who have their own herds must sell all their beef to the government exclusively and at the government set price.

At a rest stop, our traveling vegan prepares her own meatless snack made of soy protein. Like most road trips, it’s hard to get healthy fast food, but there are still decent options for vegans and vegetarians in restaurants despite the Cuban love for meat when they can get it.

“There are lots of black beans. And you get eat salads, breads and fruits,” says my friend Erin, “but you eat the same thing every day.”

Right now we’re close to Australia — a town close to our lunch stop. The directions are easy enough, but somehow we missed our turn. A man from the local alligator farm gives us directions to get us back on track.

Just past Playa Girón, we stop at an all-inclusive restaurant that includes, among other things, swimming for $15 CUC. Caleta Buena, which means “good cove”, is a day-use facility with an all-you-can-eat buffet and unlimited alcohol. The buffet includes ropa vieja, a spicy shredded beef, among other options.

As we eat, we can see people lounging in beach chairs under shady trees and a dive center that rents snorkel gear.

We have time for a quick dip in the water. We get some snorkel gear, but the masks are old and shoddy and we have trouble seeing easily underwater. Still, we see a few tropical fish, including one that glows in neon blue. There’s also a nearby cenote, which is full of colorful fish.

It’s getting late in the day and we want to get to Trinidad by nightfall, so we head out again. The terrain gets more mountainous as we approach the city, but it’s all in shadow when we pull into Trinidad just after sunset.

We settle into our Casa Particular, a beautiful old colonial home owned by a woman named Ramona (that’s my grandmother’s name). She’s resting when we arrive, so her son takes us to our rooms. “They are very old,” he says. The rooms open out into a beautiful courtyard, where we’ll have breakfast in the morning.

In the meantime, we’re ready for a decent meal, so we go to Guitarra Mia, which has our mouths watering. I order the pumpkin soup and lobster in a spicy adobo sauce. And each of us get a souvenir cigar at the end of the meal.

On the next episode of Far-flung Travels in Cuba, when we’ll be exploring the UNESCO world heritage city with a local photographer.

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