Cuba Travels | Thunder Bay to Havana to Viñales

Hola amigas! I’m sure by now you VERY well know that I was recently on a trip to Cuba, aka one of the BEST things I’ve ever done. I was seriously already mentally planning my trip back when we were driving around the island. I initially planned on doing a LOT of filming while I was there but a big ol’ whack in the face of anxiety at the beginning of my trip put me off, and once I was back up to normal I was just to enamoured with the place to be bothered – sorry! I DID manage to vlog pretty much the whole time, I knew I would kick myself afterwards if I hadn’t. This is my FIRST Cuba Vlog, where I’m traveling from home (Thunder Bay) to Havana, spending the night there, and then going to Viñales. For a LOT of traveling, I still think it’s pretty good! Most of what you see here is Old Havana and our tour around the Viñales Valley – GORGEOUS place. It NEEDS to be on your Bucket List.

I’m proud of the editing but I JUST discovered that you can use VSCO to edit videos now, so I’ll FINALLY have some colour gradient editing on the upcoming Cuba vlogs! If you’re interested in travelling off the beaten path in Cuba, here’s an article I wrote called ‘Beyond the Beaches: A guide to exploring off-resort Cuba‘.

A New Take on Traditional (OOTD) | Zaful Haul + First Impressions

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    • Sabrina says

      I’m not sure if you need to have a subscription, I’m on a free trial right now but the option is right at the top of the screen, next to ‘photos’ is ‘videos’ !!! it’s awesome.

      • puravidaa7 says

        Havana first for a few nights, then Viñales also for a few nights. Then we’re staying at the island Cayo Levisa for 4 nights – there’s only 1 hotel on the island so we don’t really have any other options there, but if you have any recommendations for places in Havana and viñales that would be amazing!

        • Sabrina says

          Sounds awesome! I’ve heard a lot about the island but I’ve never had the chance to go yet, I’m sure you’ll have a great time though! I’m not sure if you’re staying in a hotel or Airbnb in the other places, in Vinales you should definitely try to do a horse tour, they’re really affordable and you get a chance to meet and chat with people who do all kinds of different farming in the region – tobacco, fruit, coffee, etc. but it does leave you a liiiiiittle sore, still, a great way to see the place and meet other travellers! Our Airbnb host helped organise it so I would either talk to the hotel or your host to see if they can help! Usually everyone in the travel industry is really well connected so it shouldn’t be a problem. We also did a taxi tour that was a lot of fun – they’ll take you to different caves where you can pay to do another tour and wait to bring you to the next place, and they also take you to see some of the best sights that Vinales have to offer like a beautiful view of the valley and the mural. If you have time, a lot of travellers really liked to go to the beach there, you have to take a taxi because it’s a two hour drive away but apparently it’s gorgeous, we never had a chance to go but I would have liked to! In Havana nothing is overrated! Old Havana is great for walking around and finding places to eat and coffee shops to stop into and photo ops. El Malecon is a must – it’s a really beautiful walk and then you can walk around in Vedado, the neighbourhood close to the water too. The revolution museum is really, really interesting if you know a lot about the revolution, but it’s very lowkey and just houses a lot of artifacts and info about it – some will tell you it’s not accurate (USA) but I assure you apart from the heroic way in which they talk about some of the people, it gets an A+ on the facts. You also can go outside to the Granma memorial when you get into the museum, and there are a ton of vehicles that were used in the revolution, including the Granma itself! SUPER cool if you’re into that, but it’s also worth checking out for the architecture of the building alone, it’s SO beautiful in there. There’s also an art gallery nearby that looked really interesting, and there are tons of art galleries dotted around the city which I would definitely recommend checking out. There’s also an art market, we didn’t get the chance to go but the other travellers staying in our airbnb LOVED it – talk to people to get more recommendations while you’re there because chances are there’s something new going on! I would have also loved to see the ballet, but honestly my favourite part was just walking around, sitting in squares and taking it in, there’s plenty of people around who will talk to you and keep you entertained. If you’re looking for good/fancier food, look in Old Havana, there are nice restaurants in all of the hotels, but generally the Italian inspired restaurants are nice. If you’re a big snacker, bring some snacks with you because they don’t really participate in consumer culture so you can’t find packaged foods hardly anywhere. For restaurants in Vinales my rule became: if there’s a flag with Che’s face on it, and a Cuban flag beside it, chances are it’s got good food. Other than that, ask people for good food recommendations – they’re not going to try to trick you into anything, they really just want you to have a good time and leave wanting to come back, so they’ll be totally honest with you! Hope you enjoy your trip!!

  1. puravidaa7 says

    Thank you so much for such a detailed reply! I think we’re staying in hotels while we are there, and I will definitely check out the horse riding tour in Vinales – it sounds amazing! Old Havana looks beautiful and I will definitely look into some of the landmarks you’ve mentioned. Thank you so much for recommendations on food, I heard that the food is not that amazing in Cuba, but I guess you can find some nice places if you know where to go! Thanks once again, this is so helpful!

      • puravidaa7 says

        I just got back from my trip to Cuba this morning, and thank you so much again for the recommendations- they were so useful!
        In Havana we walked along Malecon which was really lovely and we visited the revolution museum and the huge cemetery in Vedado – Havana is such a vibrant place and theres music on literally every street! The classic cars were amazing too!
        We also took a horse riding tour in Vinales (As you recommended) which was great to see the area and meet the farmers – very hot and a little bit sore though (but definitely worth it!) The scenery there is stunning!
        The island, Cayo Levisa, was a little more remote but still amazing – the sea is so clear it looks like you are looking at it through a filter! I would definitely recommend visiting one of the islands for some beach time if you go back! 🙂 x

        • Sabrina says

          SO happy to hear you had a good time! I can’t wait to go back one day, reading this makes me want to go back RIGHT NOW hahaha, there’s still so much to discover there! Hopefully I can make it to Cayo Levisa next time!

  2. Aslı says

    Wow amazing post! I’ve been visiting Cuba on February and fell immediately in love. Also currently blogging about it. My first time solo travel ever and I’d do it again!!

  3. Rosy Mathew says

    Cool post and love your video. I really want to go to Cuba someday. My brother went there last year and he told me it was eye opening. He told me he had an amazing experience seeing people live a very basic life. And lot of people didn’t have cellphones but they are still happy and living their life as it is. It’s crazy because people in the West can’t live a day without their phones or laptop. I hope you had a good time in Cuba.

    • Sabrina says

      Thank you, I had a wonderful time! But I hope you don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think I met a single person in Cuba who didn’t have a phone, apart from maybe a few of the older farmers in Viñales. I didn’t mean to insinuate that Cuba is at all technically primitive, in fact I booked all of my trip through airbnb and regularly communicated with my hosts through the internet. One of my hosts in rural Cuba even used a translating app to communicate with us while we were staying with her. The people I met there were not living a “basic life” they were simply living one without the overbearing presence of consumer culture. There still is some consumerism, but it’s not ever present so I had to find things to do other than shopping! The choice not to use my phone was entirely my own, I could have just as easily been connected every day (as my sister was), I just chose to embrace time off and spend it talking to other people.

        • Sabrina says

          While I’m sure your brother’s experience is valid and I don’t mean to question it, I want to be clear Viñales that is also a very rural and secluded area.

          • Rosy Mathew says

            I am not sure what part of Cuba they went. I think it was Havana. I understand what you mean that most people had cellphones. I think my brother meant was that not everyone feels the need to be on their phone always. My brother used his phone too to navigate around.

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