Week 4 - Cuba - Diving Varadero

9th - 14th March 


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With the riding gear now sadly packed away we headed for Varadero from Havana. Carlos had kindly organised a reliable taxi for the journey - wow - what a ride. A beautifully maintained 1956 Pontiac. Though our driver spoke no English he didnt hestiate to point out things of interest along the two hour drive and with a little imagination we generally got the gist of what he was trying to communicate.

Varadero is a tourist strip that sits on the Pennisula Hicacos just 133km from Havana. Though we were flying out of Havana many of the tourists that come to Varadero fly direct to the international airport Juan Gualaberto Gomez Airport that is only 20kms away. The long stretch of white sand and all inclusive hotels are the main attraction of Varadero and what brings in a lot of tourism dollars in particular from Candians. The toll gate that you must pass through to drive onto the strip was our first indication of how far removed from the real world of Cuba this area was.

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Our accomodation for the week was at Royal Hicacos, previously known as Sandals and whilst there changed to The Royalton! Keeping with the theme of no hot water even our “luxury” accomodation struggled to supply hot water for the first two days. You just had to laugh and enjoy a mojito. 

The main reason for selecting this hotel was that the “All Inclusive” included the diving. Previously if the weather was bad the dive centre had access to a bus that they used to take divers across to areas such as Bay of Pigs where we had dived last week. Unfortunatly that all changed on our arrival and after two days of cancelled dives we opted to pay for a dive with the local dive centre Baracuda. Thankfully as the week progressed winds eased and we were able to dive with the hotel dive center but that proved to be challenging in itself. We have never had to wade with our gear out to the boat nor disembark and swim back into shore fully geared. We certainly were beginning to realise how spoilt we were in Mexico. As for the dive gear we were very happy we brought our own regulators and masks but will find space next time to bring our own bouyancy vests. There is something very disconcerting about having your weights fall out of the pockets of your jacket 20m down. Just ask Andrew!

An added bonus of Varadero was catching up with Lee and Jan Langford the Aussies that had toured with us on the Harley Davidsons. Following recommendations we met for dinner at a local restaurant called Varadero 60. The restaurants name has a double meaning - its located on Calle 60 and is adorned in 1960 regalia. One of the restaurants signature dishes is of course Lobster and once more we werent disappointed. A short walk around the corner and the evening was completed with live rock music at the Beatles Bar. 

So all too soon our time in Cuba had come to an end. But once more we have found a country that we definitely want to revisit. 

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© SV Katherine 2017      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Faro Portugal with Askari of Australia