Sunday, 24 December 2017

Cayo Iguana

The breakfast offering was similar to that offered at our casa in Havana. We were given fresh fruit, bread rolls, toasted muffin with ham cheese, a sweet cake of some sort and we could also have freshly cooked eggs if we wished. The juice provided though was sickly sweet!

We were driven to the marina for our full day excursion to Iguana Island. We boarded a big catamaran with other passengers. It was soon apparent who the Europeans were. Whilst we huddled in the shade, they had already shed unnecessary clothes and were basking in the full sun. The sail to the island was not choppy at all. After about an hour or so, we anchored to go snorkeling. We brought our own snorkels although gear was provided. The water was a beautiful temperature and colour! Unfortunately, the snorkeling was only average. Whilst there were plenty of colourful fish, the coral was in poor condition bleached and broken.

Catamaran trip to Iguana Island

Lara enjoying the  netting at the front 

The rest of us at the back looking for shade

Our first glimpse of Iguana Island

Snorkeling time!
A whistle called for all passengers to climb back aboard for the short journey around to the other side of the island where we all got off. The island was aptly named. Iguanas galore roamed the island along with a creature called the gutias that bordered on looking like a giant rat! They happily roamed (or ran!) near the lunch tables awaiting any scraps…The highlight of the children’s day was when a gutias licked Uncle Michael’s toe.

Lunch was cooked on the catamaran and brought to the island. Apart from the thatched huts where the tables and chairs were, and sun chairs on the beaches, there was nothing else on the island. No running water, no toilets. To a degree, this was nice. We were able to enjoy the island for what it was – beautiful, natural, and untouched. The water was an amazing blue colour and crystal clear. We were the only group of tourists there and the island was not marred by other tourists, rubbish or pushy vendors trying to sell us souvenirs. On the other hand, a toilet would have been handy. Going au natural in the bushes had its down sides with the many iguanas and gutias around and going in the ocean meant going in the midst of many many little fish….

The other side of the island where we got off

So many of these around....

Gutias. So big!!!
We were give the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the island before the long sail back to the marina. Yoanis and Julio were waiting for us to take us back to Trinidad where Yoanis took us on an orientation walk around the city, as well as giving us information on the history of the city. Trinidad was known as the crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial cities, being one of the best preserved colonial cities in Latin America. The cobblestone streets we were walking on were original and built by the Spaniards over 500 years ago! Sadly many of the grand mansions, even those turned into museums were not in the best condition. We didn’t want to think about what a “not well preserved” city would look like.

We headed to dinner at 6:30pm only to find the restaurant already full with a long line of people waiting outside. Fortunately, Yoanis and Julio were with us and so organised for us to dine at another restaurant which also filled up shortly after we sat down. The meal, again, was fairly simple but tasty enough. A choice of meat served with 2 sides. You could choose out of rice, vegetables or fried banana. A cocktail at around 3 CUC (just under 3 Euros) which was only 30% more than a soft drink or juice had become a beverage of choice. A venture to the supermarket and ice cream parlour was unsuccessful with both being closed. And thus, ended our second day in Cuba.

Trinidad with the mountains in the background

There was a perpetual stream of water in the middle of the streets. We were told it was from leaky plumbing...

Museum of music

Run down and yes, with weeds growing out of the buildings!

Old cars everywhere

A different drink tonight!

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