29 December: Varadero and Matanzas

indi's picture


A Scenic Drive to Matanzas

We got in quite early for breakfast buffet and then left hotel for more adventure.

Yodhi hurried to Barracuda for a diving trip to Bay of Pigs. We decided to the bus terminal to catch a bus to Matanzas, which is just a short walk from behind our hotel.



Unfortunately we missed the bus, so we had to hire a taxi to Matanzas for 20CUC. The driver was an old man in a 4 year of Renault. He was proudly introducing us to different scenic spots along the way such as Rio Canimar and the Tropicana auditorium.



First Taste of Cuban Town

After a 30 minute joyride we arrived in the Parque Central of Matanzas.


Noe seemed to enjoy the abundance of public spaces with large trees. That is something that we don't have in Jakarta unlike Matanzas that offers shaded areas for people to hang out and play.


Just when we got out of the taxi, jineteros offered us their help to show us around town. We politely declined but managed to buy from Moneda Nacional (which is the currency not meant for tourist) from one of them.


One could tell that Matanzas was once a very pretty town with narrow streets and sidewalks where intimate encounters among the dwellers took place. We saw many shops with people lining up neatly outside waiting to buy merchandise. In other places, we saw panaderia selling bread with croquetas. We visited the Union of Architects and Engineers of Matanzas and it was reported that there are 1800 engineers in the area but with little work. We hope there will be more investment in the future so they could apply their skills.



Stroll Around Matanzas City

We tried to get in El Retablo, a store and theater of puppets, but it was closed.


When we continued walking, I had to breasfeed Noe, and managed to do so when the lady from Radio Cuba office gave us space for breastfeeding.


We had hamburguesas and Tropicola (not TuKola this time) for lunch at La Vigia near the Teater Sauto. Initially we wanted to take a tour in the theater as well, but it was closed due to the liberation day holiday on the week of 1st January.



We then bought two handmade books from Edicion Vigia as souvenirs. Guevara took us for a tour around the production area of Edicion Vigia, as well as patiently showing their collections for sale.


Soon after we walked for about 1km south to the bus station so that we could catch 2pm Viazul bus back to Varadero. We walked through steel bridges which is one of the landmarks of Matanzas city.



Back to Varadero

The bus was nice and clean. Indi met with Marie Jollie, a Dutch woman who has been traveling alone all over Cuba. She suggested we spend more time in Trinidad that in Santa Clara. Perhaps we will reschedule if everyone agrees.


We got back in hotel at 3pm and waited for Noe to complete his nap. Afterwards we walked to beach and swim again. Noe at this time was not in the water but he was busy watching passers-by. There is something about Noe that attracs people's attention. Maybe it was because Noe had curious look in his face that makes people want to talk to him.

For dinner we went to La Vicaria 8 block away from our hotel and then we ordered fish, steak and shredded meat with rice and fries. Rani ordered 7 year old Havana Club rum and it was great!

Tropicana-like Show

When we get back to the hotel, there were a tropicana-like show. Even though the show only took place in a hotel, and even though the band was only using an electric keyboard rather than full big band, the performance was really professional and quite good. Those dancers were really athletic.



We slept late after packing and will try to wake up at 6am tomorrow.


We have close friends in

We have close friends in Matanzas, we have been 5 times but last time 5 years ago, we return this July, Your report & photos brought back happy memories, well done
Hamish & Lorraine

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