Since I have been here in Havana, I tried to organize the following days. Unfortunately, I have not managed to book any accommodation for the rest of my stay in Cuba, whether on the first day nor yesterday. But sometimes that is normal for me.
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Because I also still do not know where to go next, so how should I know where to book a room. Should I go alongside the Northcoast, or should I drive down to the South and explore that area first? I am not sure yet, although I have to leave my Casa Particulares here in Havana today.
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The most significant issue is that I forgot to print out the Voucher for my rental car, which, I guess, I will need to get it. I do not think that they hand it over to me, with an online version only. So as early as it is, I need to find a place where I can print anything.
Thanks to my host family, they helped me to print it. They knew a place two blocks further, at the corner of Obispo and Aguacate, a little shop for mainly Cubans. You can find this shop on the second floor of the house, and the only sign is a white and blue sign where “imprecion” and a few more texts, which I cannot remember, is written on. The print itself costs 0.25 CUC, for Cubans only, I think.
Well, lucky me, with the help of my host, I got my Voucher for my car. Now I was ready to leave the house. I already packed my suitcase, and then I said goodbye to my family.
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It was around 10 a.m., and my car would have been ready at 1 p.m. A lot of time to get some things done, like booking a room for tonight or find out where to go, and so on. It is a weird feeling if you do not know where you end up at the end of the day. On my previous travels, I had such situations before. Once in Cleveland, Ohio, I did not book a room until five minutes before checking in. But there you will find free WiFi everywhere, but here? It was a bit scary, but at the same time, I had this strange feeling that everything will be okay in the end.
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The first stop for today was Hotel Plaza, to get another five hours internet card! Yesterday, I found out that they were cheaper here than at Hotel Parc Central. Then I sat down in the lobby and got a coffee, water, and a sandwich. I used the WiFi spot of the Hotel and started to look for a place where I could stay tonight.
After a few searches (booking.com did not let me book anything), I booked a room in a hostel in Playa Larga via Airbnb, which is in the South directly at the Bay of Pigs. Not too far and hopefully easy to find. At the same time, I also booked the rest of the week in Trinidad, Cayo Santa Maria, and Varadero.
Suddenly it was noon already, and I headed to the other Hotel to pick up my car at Cubacar. I was a bit early, but I wanted to make sure that I am not too late. Fortunately, it did not matter.
The handover of the car was smooth. It was paid in advance months ago, and only the insurance needed to be paid here, also a deposit, which I will get back at the drop-off. Unfortunately, I needed to pay the cash deposit, and I will get back 150 CUC on my last day in Cuba. I am not sure if I will shop that much and do not need to bring that money back home.
Afterward, they also described how I would find my way. I already wrote down some notes on how to get out of the city, but to hear it from them was better. Right, right, through the tunnel and a few kilometers, there should be the Autopista entrance.
Sounds easy, it was not! I found my way out of the city. However, finding the Autopista entrance was tricky, as they do not have any signs directly at the entrances or exits. That is why I drove circles for an hour or so, finding that damn Autopista until I was back in Havana. So next try! Through the tunnel and then follow the other way, where I saw the Autopista sign before. This time I took the right direction. I made it to the Autopista and was happy about it. Now I could drive to Playa Larga.
It was only a two-hour drive (excluding the circles I drove before), but enough incidents happened for the next few months. There were some constructions ongoing on two lanes without any signs beforehand, suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Then a herd of cows tried to cross the street, and the cars around me had problems with the brakes. At another time, a Carriage was passing the lanes, and a giant truck drove in the wrong direction to enter the opposite side. And then it started raining, too. Damn, I was so relieved that I made it to Playa Larga alive.
Arrived in Playa Larga, I had to find the hostel. The streets have no names, and it was a brand new one, so the name maybe was not as present as usual. I asked one of the other Casa owners in my limited Spanish for the owners of the hostel. Fortunately, everyone knows each other. I also wrote down the telephone number so the lady could phone them. They send a young guy who I could follow to the hostel.
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Finally, I made it! I got to my room, knew where I could sleep, and everything was fine. Then I met a couple from Germany. Guess what? From Dusseldorf, my current home base! Probably, my age, I think, and occupying the room next to me. We immediately were connected and talked for the rest of the evening, also during dinner with fresh fish, rice, and fish soup. Very delicious! So far, the best food I got here in Cuba.
Afterward, I and the girl heading over to the “disco” in this area. We had a Mojito, we danced a few hours and called it a day at midnight-ish.
3 thoughts on “Day 23 – Leaving Havana, Hello Cuba”
Today is the last day of our trip. We’re going to be in Havana!
We’ve been here for 23 days, and it’s been a great experience.
Almost every day we woke up early, went for a run, then had breakfast together before heading out on the tour. We got to see some great parts of the city, including old buildings and museums that are only open on certain days.
There were also lots of surprises; I really thought that Cuba would just be one big tourist trap, but it turned out to be much more interesting than I thought!
(Oh, and by the way: don’t forget to tip your guide!)
Props to you for living life to ththe fullest! It can definitely be scary leaving things til the last minute when travelling, but at the same time there is a certain adrenaline rush not knowing where you’re going to end up at the end of the day – like you said. Also, that’s crazy that you ran into people from Dusseldorf. What a small world!
Indeed a small world! Incredible, who you can meet on the other side of the world 😀
Have you had such a situation yourself, that you did not know where you will end up at the end of a day?