Chany's Trip to Cuba 2005

2005 April

Click on images to enlarge

Trip Map

Cuba is an island country located in the northern Caribbean. I decided to take a one week "all inclusive" holiday to this tropical locale.

This map shows the places in Cuba that I visited:
  • Varadero
  • Havana



Varadero is not known as a golf destination, but we brought our clubs anyways. We golfed the Varadero Golf Club, one of only two golf courses in Cuba. This seaside golf course offered great views of the ocean.

West of Varadero is the longest and highest bridge in Cuba, the Puente de Bacunayagua. It is 314 m long and 103 m high. The Cubans are proud of this engineering achievement.
Varadero is a resort town located on a spit of land only 1.2 km wide, but 20 km long. This provides for a lot of beach; here is the white sand beach near our hotel.
Interestingly enough, this Air Transat A310 Airbus, parked at Varadero Airport (Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport), lost it's rudder shortly after take-off on March 6, 2005. It was able to safely return to the airport. Notice that the tail is missing. BTW, we flew Air Transat to get here!


In Havana, we visited the Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás, a cigar factory and museum, dating back to 1845, located across from El Capitolio, the former capitol building of Cuba.

Update: In 2016, the factory has moved to a new location, but the museum remains.
Overlooking Havana is El Cristo de La Habana (Christ of Havana), a statue representing Jesus carved out of white Carrara Marble.
La Cabaña is an 18th century fort complex located on the eastern side of the entrance to Havana Harbour. The fort was built by the Spanish, beginning in 1763.

In the foreground are typical vehicles found in Cuba: old cars and the Cocotaxi (coconut taxi), the orange three wheeled taxi with the round body. The reason for the many old American cars (circa 1950's) is due to the embargo by the US. The Cubans have continued to maintain and repair the cars so they remain operational.
"Maman" is a 9 meter high sculpture, made of bronze, stainless steel, and marble, of a spider by artist Louise Bourgeois, located in Havana. There are many copies of this sculpture located around the world.
Located in front of the Museo de la Revolución (Museum of the Revolution) is a fragment of the ancient wall of Havana city, as well as the tank used by Fidel Castro in his actions against the invaders of Bahia Cochinos in 1961.
One thing that stood out for me when visiting Havana was the state of disrepair the buildings appear to be in. Most buildings had their paint peeling, and there are buildings that have been deemed unsafe to occupy. Apparently, the Cuban government has blamed the embargo by the US for the lack of supplies for repairs and maintenance.

Final Thoughts

Chany's Final Thoughts An "all inclusive" trip is good for those who want to get away to a tropical location and not have to worry about finding things to do. There were plenty of things to do on the resort to keep busy. However, it did cater to the tourists and felt somewhat sanitized to what Cuba was really like.

A visit to Havana is a must, as this will provide a better view of what Cuba is really like. It was surprising to see how run down the capital of Cuba appeared to be. However, it was neat to see all the old American cars still operational on the streets.

With the embargo by the United States still in effect, it was interesting to note that there were no (or very few) Americans there. There were a lot of Europeans.

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