Cuba resort life is a challenge for people like us. We can’t seem to sit at one place for too long.
Even if our plans were to vegetate by the beach, after about three days we were done.
Despite the lazy and zombie like state we managed to explore our piece of paradise and discover some unique opportunities.
Cuba shopping guide
Here is the list of accidental and regular activities we participated in during our seven days stay in our hotel.

See the Part 1 of our Caba vacation here.


HORSE BACK RIDING

One has a choice. You can either be ” a part of the group,” jumping up and down in a pack made out of sweaty tourists and annoyed horses. Or you can schedule a one on one appointment. In that case, all attention is on you. Which is a good thing because the majority of the instructors do not speak English.Cuba sightseeingCuba sightseeing

Knowing just a little bit of Spanish helps a lot. And they can not give you useful instructions before you sit on your animal. So you do it on your own. If you have a previous experience with horses, you are at an advantage as well.
Did you book that travel insurance? Good.
The cost was 25 CUC for one hour. Your dignity is included in the price. 🙂
Cuba sightseeing

CARRIANGE EXCURSION TO  GUADAVALACA BEACH

I mean it, it is a real wooden carriage with a horse that will take you places. And by that, I mean fields, unpaved roads, a local town where the service personal lives, and the Guadavalaca beach.
Cuba sightseeing
The Cost is 20 CUC for as long as you want to be in that carriage. About 2 hours for everything is plenty because it gets boiling.
The tour is necessary if you come expecting a “wow, ” and with an entitled attitude, you read about in this post. I know I did. It was also good to see the real Cuba and how everyday life goes for the majority of 11 million population.
Cuba sightseeing
Cuba sightseeing

SCUBA DIVING

Scuba diving was included in our stay price package. And as far as I understood, depending on the schedule, it is unlimited in repeats. I only did it once, and I freaked out.
Mr. K loved it and wanted to do more. The experience consists of two parts. First part is when they explain everything one needs to know about the tools, costume, and gear. Then they lower you with that gear into a swimming pool, and you get to practice your moves and techniques.
Cuba sightseeing

Tip:

Do get to practice the gear first as your mouth will be the first in line to touch the breathing tube.


 The second part is scheduled for another day in the morning. The diving location is different and about one and half hours away from the hotel by bus.

They take you to a different beach. You take the gear, and then you go into the ocean.

As a first timer, even that unexciting location was exciting enough. I freaked out as soon as the water started covering my head. So I inflated my jacket and snorkeled around and on top of unsuspecting Mr. K the whole time.

I tried to overcome my fear, but I was unsuccessful. I hope I will be more prepared next time.

By the way freaking out turned out to be normal and even expected. Thankfully I was not the only one. There were two of us “enjoying” the snorkel time with 18 kg on our backs.

I am just glad it was free or included. 🙂


Tip:

You can leave a tip (we did leave 6 CUC which made our instructor very happy)


SNORKELING

Snorkeling was an option at our hotel the whole time the beach was open. One can rent for free a mask and fins(what you put on your feet) for three hours. Our beach was fantastic offering a rare opportunity. It had both, sandy patches for just swimming and reef for sightseeing.
Snorkeling Cuba
Cuba sightseeing

 HOLGUIN CITY TOUR

Our plane was leaving at 10 pm which left us about 6 hours of “free” time. Our stay advisor recommended that we take a “VIP” tour during this period to see the town of Holguin and get better acquainted with the local culture. The tour also included dinner at a local government restaurant, an overview of the city, tour of the local mall/store, a walk in the city and a VIP lounge at the airport.

Cuba shopping guide

Cuba shopping guide

Please keep in mind that it is a Cuban VIP.

The tour was ok. I cannot say I liked it so much and that it has opened my eyes to the Cuban culture. It was nice to talk to and ask questions a Cuban tour guide who knows English good enough. The tour was pretty standard, and the VIP lounge had an exposed electrical wire and very basic snacks.Cuba shopping guideCuba shopping guide

WHAT TO BUY ON YOUR NEXT VACATION TO CUBA

Besides Rum, cigars, and other useless trinkets that one finds stumbling on and on everywhere, other goods deserve your future attention.

I have discovered remarkable works of art by Reynero Tamayo and Raimundo Sosa Tamayo which are apparently different people. There are also some leather goods like belts, bags, and satchels that can be worn outside one’s vacation.

ARTISTS

Tomayo painter artist. Reynerio Tamayo, Cuban, 1968-
“Reynerio Tamayo is an important contemporary caricaturist whose works transcend the genre to offer pointed and often a humorous commentary on art and politics in painting and sculpture.
Tamayo is a heartfelt painter who spoofs in English and Spanish, he is known for his mockery of the art establishment as well as politics, with comic book heroes, notorious gangsters and art historical icons serving as proxies to explore contemporary issues.
Tamayo is also one of Cuba’s truly accomplished hyper realist painters”.

To learn more about Cuban artists go here http://galleryongreene.com/cuban-tours/

Cosme Proenza local Holguin painter. Our Cuban tour guide recommended this artist. I have not seen his works personally. However, upon the research, I have found that Cuba has many interesting and creative artists who do not shy away from showing people’s hardship in the most creative way possible. While his work goes for $25,000 plus there are many other artists who have more affordable works.


TIP:

If you are in the neighborhood, I would strongly suggest scheduling or find someone who knows art and everything that has to do with art. And do a gallery hop. There is a place in Key West that specializes in tours like that.


But my guess is that you are going to pay way more than in Cuba.

If you want the usual souvenirs, then a bottle of Havana Club rum costs 8 CUC comparing to $28 CAD in Canada.

Cigars are way cheaper, and Cohiba is considered the best. 14.50 CUC per set of 6.

The airport offers a last minute shopping spree if you need it. One of the stores even has some interesting posters and photos from the old times. Let me know if you picked up something!

Cuba sightseeing

Have you been to Cuba? What did you end up buying? What did you like or were surprised with the most? Let me know in the comments down below!


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Cuba authentic tours and souvenirs

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I hear the world calling, and I just can't ignore it! Affordable options and insider tips are one of the few things I cover on this blog. Who doesn't love a good travel hack? Travel better and more often with mine! :)

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