Today I reveal the 2nd country in my new art travel series, Bon Voyage. This is an ongoing series inspired by years of world travel. Here on my blog, around the 1st of each month, I am going to discuss a new country that I have traveled to, then reveal the art I made at the bottom of the page.
The 2nd country in my new art travel series, Bon Voyage is … Cuba!
In 2017, I visited Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos with a friend for 10 days and on my own for 4. We started in Havana, then went on to Trinidad, then Cienfuegos.
I love Cuba! There is a lot to love. Festive and colorful cities humming with life; warm and inviting people living their lives outside; infectious music played at every corner; the smells of ripe fruits mixed with cigar and petrol fumes all mixed with a hot & humid climate. And, I instantly fell for the vintage cars set against the pastel colored architecture. Talk about picturesque!
The classic cars and crumbling buildings are unique and give your experience a “step-back-in-time” feeling, but they are also a reminder of the stunted growth of the country. This is just one of the many contradictions you will face while travelling here.
It’s been said to expect the unexpected while traveling in Cuba and I found this to be true. Cuba is not an easy place for the independent traveler to explore, especially when traveling to cities outside of Havana. It requires patience, flexibility and enough time built in to your schedule to get around. But for the curious-minded, Cuba Has a ton to offer and is a fascinating place to visit.
Here’s the highlights of my trip:
Cuba’s capital and typically the first and last stop for any traveler in and out of Cuba.
Walking aimlessly without a plan, stopping for mojitos (and water!) when the heat got to be too much.
Visiting the museums, especially the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana.
Going to Fabrica Arte de Cubano at night.
Strolling the streets of Havana Vieja and the Paseo del Prado Hanging out in the Parque Central.
Soaking in the street art
Seeing all the beautiful and bustling Squares such as the Plaza Vieja
Stepping back in time by visiting beautiful old churches like the Plaza de la Catedral
Riding in the vintage cars with the salsa music blaring
Sipping Pina Coladas while watching the sunset at the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Cuba’s best-preserved colonial city. Trinidad is a unique mix of 1850s architecture built on sugarcane wealth. This city truly feels frozen in time, and there were no shortage of vintage cars.I loved it and wished I could have spent a few more days there! Word of caution: It is very touristy.
Getting serenaded at a gorgeous bar while drinking a mojito
Hanging out in the Plaza Mayor watching life go by
Going to Playa Ancon Beach (a huge highlight for me!)
Visiting the historical museums
Eating dinner al fresco under the stars while listening to ever-present salsa music
Situated on the Caribbean coast of southern-central Cuba, Cienfuegos was my favorite city on the trip. It is full of colorful facades, wide streets and charming French colonial architecture. Founded by the French in 1819, Cienfuegos is one of Cuba’s newest settlements and feels quite different to the rest of the country.
It was much less touristy and had nice, mellow vibe. I had three full days here and I let the days carry me without a plan.
Walking the Malecon down to Punta Gorda and exploring along the way.
Hanging out around the Jose Marti Square where there are museums to visit. I spent time here writing in my journal and talking with locals and tourists.
Drinking beer at sunset at the Marina and sipping cocktails in rooftop bars in the evening.
And here’s the art…..All of these are available for purchase under the Bon Voyage Tab on my homepage.