Replies: 9 - Last Post: Feb 4, 2013 5:37 PM Last Post By: MisterCaristas
Feb 3, 2013 10:29 AM
One dayWe're traveling through Cuba in April and we have one day left where our group is staying in Varadero to relax. My wife and I don't want that and we are thinking of renting a car for one day. We have not been to Cuba before so we don't have a nidea how far we can go by car and what we can visit from our starting point Varadero. Is Matanzas worth a visit? Or Cardenas? Is it possible to see a tobacco plantation? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Feb 3, 2013 11:30 AM
1Without interfering with your wife’s wish to explore, I’d like to say that Cuba really is not a country of cultural of variation that offers tremendous new monuments or views, like for instance Italy or Germany. Nor is it free access everywhere. The enormous sugar industry has through the last 150 left much of the sun beaten countryside monotonous. The architecture that has developed over the last 50 years is grey, uniform and robust to resist hurricanes, but otherwise very little spectacular unless you are an explorer of communist achievements.
For a first time visitor to this Caribbean pearl or black corral if you permit the expression, even, it is its people and its city life that appeals to most tourists. Matanzas or Cardenas would be nice places to step out of the car and where you may walk around. If Havana has not previously been included in you travel itinerary I would recommend going there by catching a Viazul bus in the morning and returning in the evening. That might even tempt you to return to Cuban also another time.
Feb 3, 2013 11:43 AM
Feb 3, 2013 1:06 PM
3peteraa: it would really make a difference to know where else in Cuba you will have been and for how long.
enram's point about Cuba not offering much different visually is well taken. There is substantial differences in the culture and the people. But I am one of those who finds the old buildings, museums, monuments, and agricultural fields seem to look like the ones you saw in the past.
Feb 3, 2013 8:30 PM
4As Bob points out it would be a lot easier to give advice if you gave some clue where/how you would be travelling in Cuba up until the last day in Varadero.
In any case, if you have lots of experience driving in 3rd world countries and you have a bit of Spanish then a one day rental is possible, otherwise hire a driver/car and go to Havana...
Feb 4, 2013 5:40 AM
5Thanks for the answers so far. We (my wife and I) are travelling within a group and as far as i can remember we are staying a few days in Havana, then we go to Trinidad and Santa Clara and finish that short trip in Varadero. As a said before we have one day off in Varadero and my wife and I would like to see a little bit more of Cuba (we don't want to spend a day at the beach - somehow senseless for us). There is no need for us to go to Havana again and we are quite experienced travellers so i don't think that we will have troubles with a rented car. Can anybody give me some clues on what is within reach of driving for one day from Varadero (and back of course)? Is Matanzas worth a visit? Also Cienfuegos is not included in our group trip but i guess this is simply too far to go in one day.
Thank you for your help,
Feb 4, 2013 7:15 AM
7At this stage I would recommend you to buy a normal guide to Cuba, for instance Lonely Planet, and do a little reading. Varadero might even be a tranquil and comfortable spot after a week or more passing through the country. Your travelling experience will come in handy. Cuba is a safe country, normally day and night. People usually do not get more problems than they look for. The trafic has its peculiarities, though, with lots of horses, bicycles, cows and pot holes and insufficient trafic signs so that defensive riding is often the best choice.
Feb 4, 2013 4:34 PM
Feb 4, 2013 5:37 PM
9Matanzas is a busy and interesting port city. It gets a lot of bus tours from the Varadero resorts, so expect to be approached frequently with the usual offers for cigars, etc. From Matanzas you might want to consider driving inland to some of the smaller communities to the south and southwest. They get far fewer tourists and the pace in these places is considerably slower -- but not as slow as a day on the beach! And I believe I have seen tobacco growing in that area. It's all easily doable in one day from Varadero.
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