Vinales to La Boca
Things never go as planned in Cuba. Ever. While our drive from Havana took only 2 hours the return trip would take around 4. Our car showed up about 8:30 am and we loaded up with a couple of Belgians. The amount of luggage they were carrying was incredible and it packed the trunk and then some. In the car the skinny short man from Belgium hopped in the front seat leaving me (nearly twice his size) Elisabeth, and his wife to cram into the back seat of the compact. Oh well it’s Cuba every seat is small if you aren’t in one of the old American cars. The 4 hours dragged on as the driver could barely push his modern car over 70 km/hr on the freeway due to a problem with his clutch, though he tried to blame it on the cows near the road, despite the fact there isn’t a single Cuban who is bat shit crazy behind the wheel. That said like the chickens of Asia, if you kill a cow in Cuba it’s 25 years in jail. Kill a human you ask? 8-life.
Finally in Havana the driver has arranged for his buddy to meet us with a different car and driver. Waiting on the side of the road next to our drivers favorite peso lunch spot, we wait for the other driver to show up. After about 20 minutes he does and we transfer all the bags into the now bigger trunk.
The Belgian cedes the front seat for the second half and we are on the way. The second car was much bigger and more comfortable on the inside despite not looking so and it was able to drive a manageable speed. Cruising southeast we felt like we were really moving now. After 10 minutes the driver had to stop for the bathroom, and after an hour he needed gas. As a general rule most of the drivers try not buy the gas at the pump in Cuba as it sells for roughly $1.40 per liter, when they get it from the cans out back or in random neighborhoods it comes to 20 pesos per liter which is about $0.80 a liter. After a couple more stops here and there for snack and bathroom breaks we are cruising the last 80 kilometers to Trinidad and the driver has just gotten done telling me that he has lived here his whole life and knows the road like the palm of his hand, but he got rather confused when we told him we wanted to go to La Boca just 4 kilometers from Trinidad. He made a turn off of the main highway and started driving north. After repeated attempts to tell him it was the wrong way, and that La Boca was after Trinidad he finally realized that I wasn’t talking about La Moscas which is some tiny farming village in the middle of nowhere. Turning around he turned back to the main highway and we were back on our way. A short time later we finally arrived in Trinidad and dropped the Euros off at their Casa and proceeded to La Boca, of course not before our driver who fancied himself an expert on the area asked for directions 2-3 more times on the way through town. 9 hours after leaving Vinales we finally arrived in La Boca. It would have been faster on the bus, but at least it was the same price.
Pulling into the small fishing village we were already loving it. Small, quiet with a small little beach at the mouth of the river, and super friendly locals to boot. We landed at Hostal La Playita; run by the coolest old couple, Sra. Silvia Gomez & Sr. Miguel Gonzalez. You can rent 2 rooms or the whole house. We were met by there son Alejandro who speaks English very well and was helpful in pointing out things to do. He promised like most kids do that his mom was an incredible cook, only he would be right. We decided on shrimp for dinner and headed to the beach for sunset. After watching the sun drop into the sea we walked up the road toward Ancon for a while and found a local beer place on the water with cheap beer $.50 beers and a cool owner to talk to.
After a bit it was time to head back for dinner. Sylvia had cooked up a feast with a bean based soup that is the most flavor we have had in Cuba. We had rice, vegetables, and the largest portion of shrimp I’ve ever seen. Filling like we might roll ourselves to bed she brought out desert. Some flavor of Flan I didn’t really recognize, but incredible all the same. Still the best meals in Cuba, which I wish was more of a praise. Cubas food is not necessarily bad over all, it’s just incredibly devoid of flavoring outside of salt. Sylvia’s cooking is quite a bit different. To bed we went with plans of biking around Trinidad the following morning.