Sailing from BVIs to Cuba is a long ride.
There was more than 650 nautical miles to sail with a strong wind that never seemed to stop. However, one day it got a bit weaker. We packed the boat and took that opportunity to sail to Cuba.
The first two days were still very tough and we did not sleep that much.
But like after every rain, there is always sunshine. The last part of the trip turned out to be very smooth (with plenty of Mahi Mahi fish to eat).
We arrived in Cuba early in the morning, in a small marina.
Unfortunately, I happened to learn that I could not leave the boat and visit Cuba if I did not show a way out of the country. Furthermore, I knew as well that the only way to enter USA was by plane.
I had to buy a ticket plane to cover the last 100 km between Cuba and USA…
Damn! Crossing the Atlantic twice, sailing most of the Caribbean, and being forced to cover such a short distance by plane! That was a bit disappointing, but that’s how it was.
We stayed a couple of days in the Marina to fix some issues on the boat.
In the meantime, I walked a bit in Vita (closest village by the port) and got to speak with Cubans. It was such another world here. I understood fast that meeting people in Cuba was going to be my main objective of this month.
When not working on the boat, I visited the village and got to know locals very fast. In a few hours, I already had couple of houses that I was going to visit daily, like Olga’s house, best unofficial barber of the village !
There is so much prohibition in Cuba. I was allowed to stay couple of hours in houses and have dinner as long as I would not stay overnight.
Once we were done with the boat, we celebrated our last night with all sailors friends from the marina in small local restaurant…
That’s the last picture of my sailing trip… Next one would be in a very very long time from now.
I left in the morning and started to hitchhike. I did not expect to see one car in an hour. I realized that most of people in Cuba were living with less than $25 a month and could not afford a car.
A man on a horse gave me a ride and after 4/5 hours, that old 50’s Russian truck finally showed up.
I did not really have a plan except a going to a small village where my friends from Vita told me to visit their families. I arrived at night.
I don’t know how they even knew I was arriving but my friend’s family were at the entrance of the village waiting for me. Ezekiel and her cousin Lianet were there and took me straight to the Cuban lifestyle.
I followed them through their journey over the next days.
I went to see how he would work and got to speak with his work mates.
When not working, I would spend my day with other members of his family such as her uncle and her aunt. I think with them I saw the whole village. They took me to every friend / family to drink coffee (homemade straight from fields), coconut water and rum for the strongest.
In exchange, I mean they did not ask for anything, but I would just buy chicken, pork and lamb everyday to help them with food. For me it did not cost me that much (not even $5) but for Cubans , that’s was way different.
From time to time, we would also travel to closer villages too.
Transportation in Cuba in remote areas is fantastic. This is the local bus to travel around Antonio Maceo, the village where I was staying.
For longer distances, we had this tiny train carriage.
What I probably enjoyed the most, people were taking their time and spoke to each other all the time, all day long. Everything was simple. I saw in Cuba the happiest people of my trip.
But there is I still something I did not mention, which is by far the best thing in Cuba… The salsa !
Every night, after dinner, we just played music and danced salsa. I could not believe how every single person in Cuba, no matter how old they are, knows perfectly how to dance salsa and move accordingly to the music.
Time flew and I realized I had been in this village for almost 10 days! I had to catch my plane soon. I stepped to my house and realized the whole family made a big surprise party for the end of my journey.
That’s how you cut the cake here !!
I still can’t believe how lucky I have been to meet all of them. I said goodbye next morning and felt I was leaving home one more time.
It was not easy to leave but I still had more than 900 km to la Havana.
Cubans simply explained I should take the local train as it would be like hitchhiking as well (and I would meet many people).
I crossed a big part of the country and started to hitchhike as there were more cars in the northern part of Cuba.
I was invited to eat in with Cubans almost every single day.
I also hiked a little bit when I could. Indeed, I had many food poisoning in my Cuban trip. However, I remembered the Agadir-Funchal boat trip and felt much better. This was nothing.
I was close to la Havana and went to visit the family of a one of my sister’s friend. He is a pro guitarist and used to play a lot with my sister in Singapore.
Once again, I was amazed how Cubans are homely. They made sure I enjoyed and discovered their culture. They took me to their family and went out with me to Cuban live music.
I finished my last day in La Havana.
Where you would find all the touristic famous places of Cuba.
Here is the travel made in Cuba during those 3 weeks.
I took my plane to Florida and was stressed as I only had a one-way ticket from Cuba. Fortunately, I passed the immigration without any problem.
I did not know how would be the transition between Cuba and the USA as they are very different countries.
However, it went very smoothly since I was greeted by my old roommate Alex. We used to live in the same house a few years ago in California. Looks like we had not changed that much!
A new part of the trip had now arrived…
USA – Canada – Alaska