Two nights in GIBARA report
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Feb 18, 2013 6:30 PM Last Post By: Rickie_01
Feb 15, 2013 7:47 PM
Two nights in GIBARA reportI landed in Holguin, met up with my friend and decided right away that I wanted to visit Gibara again, after 2 years.
There were two or three things that stuck in me head about Gibara this trip. One was the breeze that shot off of the water and blew around the town seemingly at any time during the day or night. The feel and smell of the air was quite different compared to Santiago where we ended up near the end of my short one week trip. Santiago being about a 2.5 hour drive further south, on the Caribbean side, felt like a hot, sticky summer day even at the end of January compared to Gibara where at nighttime we had no choice but to wear long sleeves.
Something peculiar about Gibara was the fact that there seemed to be public telephones around very corner that we went. Sometimes 2 or 3 phones together in one location. Did the residents of Gibara at one time not have personal phones and had to duck outside to make a call? My Cuban comrade didn't seem to have an answer for it. Only a fraction of the phones actually worked though. It was a treat to be in a place like Gibara, where the usual people who made a living hustling tourists, seemed to be at a bare minimum.
After checking into the new Hotel Ordono (review later) we took a walk around, past the church, past the miniature Statue of Liberty monument replica, along the malecon and to Los Hermanos for lunch. This place gets some very high review ratings but we found the food to be not so special, although it came in large portions. After walking some more, we stumbled upon a joint called El Colonial where there was some live music, dancing and tasty cold beers.
For supper we ate at the Hotel Ordono restaurant which was extremely good. The hotel had a couple of gals in the lobby singing and playing some tunes on the guitar and keyboards. Myself and another tourist gent, gave them a tip after their performance, to which the girls seemed embarrassed to take and it took a while to convince them to accept it. This was their very first gig and the accolades of stardom were now upon them. That night we went with a Cuban couple to what was supposedly the only place open on a saturday night in this town, an outdoor disco behind the hostal Buena Vista on the waterfront. Although my comrade Ginger is a show dancer by trade, she was none too impressed. On way back to the hotel we noticed what seemed to be a big neighborhood party down by the boat docks with some makeshift lights and loud music. It was for young folk though and no cervesas were being served.
Free breakfast the next day was had at the hotel even though we came down past the 10 am scheduled finish time. Today it was some more walking and a hike up the steps to the look-out spot (sorry don't know the name). A blind guitar player serenaded in the bar and outside later while the rain started coming down. We sat outside, under a roof, drank some beers and did some dance and sing-a-long to his music. It was just down this upper road, where we found the restaurant where we would eat that night called "Vista Azul (Pelly). It had a great view of the town , the food was not bad but the soap-box love songs spouting out of the TV at high volume almost ruined it for me.
Gibara is a great little tranquil place. One of those "special little gems" of Cuba. The new Hotel Ordono is now one of my favourites in Cuba. It was surprisingly quite empty. I hope business picks up for them. I suggest anyone give it a try. Here is my review for the Hotel Ordono.
Feb 16, 2013 6:30 AM
Feb 16, 2013 3:46 PM
Feb 16, 2013 5:34 PM
Feb 17, 2013 1:38 AM
4Ditto one of our favourite places and ditto thanks for the report (and the review which I've just read)CW!
Did you make it to Bayamo also?
Feb 17, 2013 5:43 AM
5Did you make it to Bayamo
John, personally I didn’t find much to keep me in Gibara after a couple of 2 days. I like Bayamo much better probably because I had friends there and always found something new to do.
Feb 17, 2013 11:20 AM
6I usually like to read people's trip reports so I thought that I would do one this time.
Terry, I guess that you had to rent the scooter in Holguin city?
Gibara is not that big and a bit on the quiet side. It helps if you know some people as per post #5.
John, we only made it to Bayamo one night this time. After Gibara, we went to hotel Mirador de Mayabe for a night (mi amiga has a thing for that silly drunken burro there). When we got to Bayamo, they told us at The Royalton that there was not a hotel room available in the city. I found that hard to believe but the baseball team was in town and busloads of tourists apparently. Hotel Telegrafo has not been open in 2-3 years now. I wonder what will happen there?
Bayamo was a bust this time. Nothing seemed to be going our way. It was tuesday night and by far the biggest gathering was at the local church, if you can believe that. Santiago and Bayamo almost seem like they are cities from two different countries. A couple of bad restaurant meals didn't help either. Just like in Santiago though they were offering free hand-washing with a chlorine-like substance at the bus station and banks.
We stayed in a casa this time near the river. I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and when I turned the light on something startled me by hopping all over the place. It was a large frog. I just let him be and shut the door, only to find him gone in the morning which seemed a bit strange considering that there were no windows. I reckoned that he lived in the toilet pipes?
After a night it was off to Santiago where things definitely livened up. We took the Viazul bus this time as the rest of our travels this trip were by taxi. I will be back to Bayamo for sure but will try and make it there on the week-end next time, when things are more happening.
Feb 17, 2013 5:20 PM
Feb 17, 2013 5:38 PM
Feb 18, 2013 1:21 AM
Feb 18, 2013 7:13 AM
10John, this was same time ago when we toured the Oriente to discover the real Cuba according to Jen ;-) spending a few days here and there and the only place I really liked was Bayamo. We had a casa by the park and the owner was so nice and so many beautiful seniorities in the park with one eye on the police and the other eyes on the tourists. Another place I like was Marea del Portillo for the tranquil and layback way of life.
Feb 18, 2013 3:00 PM
11#10 - Oh Rickie you know very well that for me the 'real' Cuba is in every Cuban you meet, every town you visit, every scam you foil and every scam you fall for :-)
Perhaps if you come to Oz you cane head up north whee I live - and meet some 'real' Australians tee hee.
When you think about it, if you apply those same criteria to your own country as some folk have applied to Cuba (i.e., 'real' means outside the city, or outside the tourist trail, or whatever criterion suits), the whole argument starts to lose its credibility. I for one don't really think that our own JA is less 'real' than I am, even though he lives in the big smoke and follows a certain kind of football........
Feb 18, 2013 4:27 PM
Feb 18, 2013 6:30 PM
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