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Glacier
05-23-2009, 09:48 PM
We got back earlier this week from a wonderful 10 day vacation to Cuba. We started in Havana with 3 days of exploring this remarkable city. We could have spent a month there and still not seen everything the city has to offer. Havana is beautiful, full of life, energy and chaos at all hours of the day. While not a relaxing place at all, it is unforgettable. I'd go back there in a heartbeat.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Havana/plazalobby.jpg
We stayed in the Hotel Plaza, a 100 year old building in the heart of Old Havana.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Havana/havanaoldfromfort.jpg
View of Old Havana from across Havana Bay.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Havana/malecon.jpg
We walked the Malecon and hung on the sea wall several times.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Havana/hotelnationalgrounds.jpg
We didn't stay at the Hotel National, but it is a world heritage site so we did visit it. All of Old Havana is a UNESCO world heritage site. The Hotel National is just outside of Old Havana, but has it's own designation.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Havana/fortwall2.jpg
We spent a whole day checking out the 3 fortresses that defended the city for hundreds of years.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Havana/havanabilding.jpg
The city is full of history and stunning architecture.

Glacier
05-23-2009, 09:58 PM
After three days in Havana, we headed for the beach resort town of Varadero. Varadero is kinda like Cancun without the nightlife and crowds!
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Varadero/varabeach.jpg
The beach is 21 kilometres(13 miles) of pure white sand. Our hotel was a block off the beach, but had it's own section with loungers, a bar, snack shack, boats ect.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Varadero/sunset4.jpg
The sunsets were amazing!
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Varadero/fishing.jpg
We went deep sea fishing. Didn't catch anything, but it was a fun day anyway.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Varadero/oksignalivan.jpg
I went scuba diving for the first time. Stuart is a certified open water diver, but he had some problems with his ears and couldn't go. He went snorkling while I went diving with Ivan, the world's most awesome dive master. I tipped him more than he makes in a month, but he was worth it!
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v38/Glacier1998/Holiday%2009/Varadero/jungle.jpg
After the dive trip, we took a boat up a river to the jungle area of Matanzas. Beautiful!

We also did alot of laying on the beach and by the pool(the swim-up bartender knew us well!). It was a great way to celebrate our 10th anniversary. The dogs were well behaved and did not drive the sitters crazy. They are even willing to do it again sometime, so we are already thinking of which part of Cuba to see next!

blue
05-23-2009, 10:07 PM
Very cool pics, not the usual image we see about Cuba. Thanks.

Daisy and Delilah
05-23-2009, 11:53 PM
WOW!!!! Those pictures are incredible and the trip sounds equal to that. What a difference in weather than what you're used to in the Yukon. Not many people would think of Cuba for a vacation. Awesome choice!!! Ernest Hemingway loved it.:)

Congrats on 10 years!!!!:D

Laura's Babies
05-24-2009, 12:02 AM
I had no idea Cuba was that beautiful!! We sure are not use to seeing those kinds of pictures of it.. All I can say is WOW! (That had to be a awesome vacation)

Shelteez2
05-24-2009, 01:38 AM
WOW!!!! Those pictures are incredible and the trip sounds equal to that. What a difference in weather than what you're used to in the Yukon. Not many people would think of Cuba for a vacation. Awesome choice!!! Ernest Hemingway loved it.:)

Congrats on 10 years!!!!:D

Actually.... many Canadians think of Cuba for a vacation. I know of several people who have gone. :)

Glacier
05-24-2009, 02:56 AM
Actually.... many Canadians think of Cuba for a vacation. I know of several people who have gone. :)


Yup, it's very popular with Canadians. We actually met people from all over the world....Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Greece, lots of Germans and Brits.


What a difference in weather than what you're used to in the Yukon. ... Ernest Hemingway loved it.:)



The weather was very different. In the high 90's every day! We never, ever get those temps here! Thank goodness for SPF70 and ocean breezes!

We actually went to Hemmingway's favorite bar in Havana, El Floridita, for a daiquari or two! I have a picture with me standing beside a bronze statue of Hemmingway that occupies his spot at the bar!

Taz_Zoee
05-24-2009, 12:30 PM
Wow, that is just beautiful! I'm glad you had a wonderful time. I remember how excited you were over a year ago when you planned the trip. :D
And Happy 10th Anniversary. :)

Daisy and Delilah
05-24-2009, 12:42 PM
I am really surprised to hear that Cuba is a popular destination. I've lived in Florida for over 50 years, been to the Keys several times, and, never considered it. Those pictures certainly show why it's so desireable.:)

I am probably one of Hemingway's biggest fans. I believe he was one of the most fascinating people of all time. Have you visited his home in Key West? I was so mesmerized, I went into a stupor. It was so cool to see the room where he wrote. It's been written that Cuba was his all time love. I believe he spent more time there than anywhere. I think I'll plan a trip to Cuba.:)

caseysmom
05-24-2009, 01:32 PM
I don't believe Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba, although I thought I heard President Obama was trying to change that.

pomtzu
05-24-2009, 01:59 PM
Those pictures are very beautiful, and nothing like what I had pictured in my mind of Cuba. I think that most people that have never been there, picture only the poverty and blight of the country, since that is basically all we ever get to see.

What a wonderful trip that must have been for you. Can't blame you for wanting to go back again. And Happy Anniversary too!

Randi
05-24-2009, 02:22 PM
When I saw the title, I just KNEW we were going to see some wonderful pictures, and WOW, isn't Cuba a wonderful place! :) It takes me back to when John and I visited Dominican Republic - the whole atmosphere is just awesome and peope so friendly. :) I have no doubt you enjoyed it immensely! :D

Thanks for sharing the pictures, and Happy Anniversary!! :love:

kuhio98
05-24-2009, 08:22 PM
I'm glad you guys had a good time. Cuba looks a lot like Puerto Rico to me.

I'd love to visit Cuba someday.

Glacier
05-24-2009, 11:22 PM
I don't believe Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba, although I thought I heard President Obama was trying to change that.

Technically Americans aren't allowed to spend any money in Cuba. That's what US Customs(or whatever department handles these things in the US) tracks. It can be a huge fine if they chose to pursue it.

The US dollar is charged an additional 10 percent on top of their usual exchange rate(Cuba has a bizarre dual currency system). No cards drawn on an American based bank are accepted. Despite the fact that I'm Canadian and my government could care less that I'm in Cuba, my Citi-Bank Mastercard was useless there. We took a Visa from a Canadian bank and left the Mastercard with the dogsitter for emergencies.

Obama has or is planning to relax the rules regarding family visits. So Cuban-Americans could visit their family still living on the island, I think.

Killearn Kitties
05-25-2009, 06:25 AM
Your pictures are fantastic, and the whole holiday sounds a perfect way to celebrate a special anniversary. I've never been to Cuba, but I've never spoken to anyone who didn't find it absolutely fascinating.

Your doggies would have loved that beach - if not the temperature.