playa sirena

we hadn't planned on flying to the island of cayo largo del sur.  our first four days in cuba were booked beforehand; we thought we would figure out the last four on the ground.  my first choice was to rent a house off one of the beaches near havana.  kylie's first choice was a few days at one of the resorts on varadero.  too bad for both of us, everything was booked.  we found a great travel agent in hotel valencia (a lovely place) who found us what seemed like the last free resort room in cuba at the hotel sol cayo largo.  cayo largo is the second largest island in the canarreos archipelago, with 26 km of beach, around 5 resorts and an airport.  it is essentially a tourist island, which means the land between the resorts is undeveloped sand dunes and mangroves.

 there are many iguanas, turtles and sparrowhawks.  we didnt see iguanas, but we saw lots of sparrowhawks.  they were not afraid of people and would tolerate extremely close proximity.

we spent 2 nights at the resort, but because we arrived at 8:00am (a trip involving an alarm set for 4:10) and did not leave until 4:30pm we enjoyed 3 full beach days.  our time was spent reading, swimming and walking.  i even went for a run down the length of playa sirena, past all the nudissimos.

the resort itself was clean and well maintained.  they made fantastic cappucinos and of course excellent mohitos at the lobby bar. 

funny, when friends talked about all inclusives, i never processed that unlimited drinks included unlimited cappucino and esspresso.  mmm... it was a resort that caters to italians so the coffee was excellent.  freshly roasted and ground right in front of you.

the beach was magnificent, and 3 days was about right.  previously we have been on beaches and felt that 10 days was too short, but at this stage in our lives, without ty along, after 3 days it felt like time to get moving again.  lucky for us we were headed back to havana for another full day, and havana is always moving.

our flight back, which included a bus to our hotel, had us checked in and ready to hit the town by 7:30.  we went for a walk down the malecon or promenade by the ocean, and then out for a nice dinner.

on our final day in cuba after a nice breakfast we caught a taxi to old havana to peruse the streets and visit a few old landmarks we missed in the first few days.
the museum of the revolution.  previously a palace, it was stormed by revolutionaries.  there were some interesting artifacts on display, but minimal english, so we didnt become particularly informed about the revolution.
we did see these two homemade tanks used by the underfunded revolutionaries.  each built on a 1950 tractor by adding steel plates and a flamethrower.

 our last evening we went out for a lovely dinner at los nardos, across from the capitolio.  the food was plentiful, tasty and cheap.  below you can see my meal.  fried local root vegetables, beans and deep fried chicken cordon bleu, each piece about 1.5 times the size they typically are in canada.  and with twice the cheese.  and battered and deep fried...  mmm...

and then, to continue the trend, kylie and i shared a huge serving of deep fried ice cream for dessert.

for our last evening in cuba, we hailed a beautifully restored convertible taxi and took it for a tour around town at night.  we stopped and picked up some rum and cigars, then returned to our hotel to pack up and head home.
and so, after another early morning we took another taxi to the airport, (where we received a lot of information about living in cuba from our driver angelo, who was taught russian in school, but taught himself english) and boarded a flight back to canada and back to ty!  goodbye cuba.  hasta la vista.


Mama Bear said...

wow, those beaches are PRISTINE! Amazing!

Haley said...

Beautiful pictures! I love the first shot of Kylie on the beach. My sister and I discovered the cappucino secret about mid-way through our Mexico all-inclusive ;)

Lowell & Julie said...

Ummm... HOT TAMALE KYLIE! Great pictures once again!! :)