This is my second time in Cuba. With all the changes with Americans now being a bigger part of Cuba I thought the title is quite fitting. In Mexican “Cuba Libre” means freedom. Borrowed from French and Spanish, used to describe something as being “free”, in the sense of “having freedom” or “liberty”. Cuba Libre is also the name of local drink. Not to be confused with a basic rum and cola. The authentic Cuba Libre cocktail needs a generous squeeze of lime to even out the drink’s sweetness. Double aged Havana Club Especial rum with its hints of vanilla and caramel takes this cocktail to the next level.
At first I was hesitant of returning due to the first time being an experience that I could never forget. With talk’s of MacDonald’s coming to town, I wondered how much impact America would have on an untouched Island.
We travelled down to Gatwick Airport the evening prior and stayed in the Blok Hotel located in the south terminal. The Hotel couldn’t be better located right next to the departure lounge. This gave myself and Lisa the opportunity to have a nice relaxing lay in buy not having to have such an early start to the travelling day. Getting through checkin was the fastest to date, taking only 10 minutes. We had plenty of time for a coffee so we thought as the boarding soon got announced.
For this flight we upgraded to Premier Class with Thomas Cook. This gave us extra legroom, bigger seats, complimentary drinks and fine food. The outbound flight was 10 Hours but nice and relaxing. We had a good selection of up to date movies available on demand through the inflight entertainment.
Cuba Visa and Arrivals
Things have changed slightly since my last visit to Cuba. This time around we were given our Visa’s and Immigration forms to complete on the plane. Before the Visa was completed at home before departure and Immigration forms were completed on arriving at the Cuban airport. All things aside it’s a pretty easy task. To be fair this time it was a far better way of doing it. Another thing slightly different this time was that the departure tax was included in the price. This meaning we didn’t have the problems of having to workout the paying system at the airport on departure. Yes, that was a slightly confusing system in the past.
With our bags collected and the Cuban sun shining down on us, we were heading to our hotel. Upon arrival to the hotel we soon found the bar to enjoy that first cold pint of beer. The hotel was large with its grand entrance and long walkways through the grounds to our apartment. The room was spacious and clean, but not much of a room with a view.
The first full day back in Cuba took us down memory lane. We took a stroll along the beach to the first hotel we stayed in some three years ago. With the white sands and piercing clear blue sea, all I could think about is the amazing images I would be capturing on this adventure. After settling in we soon booked some excursions. Horse Riding in the mountains along with Line Fishing in the nearby lakes.
The two weeks seemed like just a week as we relaxed on the beach and took in the sights. I would love to have longer on this island for more exploring in to the wonderful landscape and friendly people. One fact that I found out about the Hotel is that its the largest resort in the south of Cuba. When it first opened Raul Castro the president and ruler of Cuba came to visit. On entrance to the Hotel grounds there is a painted clock showing two times. These are the time’s Raul Castro entered and left the complex.
This is a very proud Hotel and has a wall of fame from that day Raul Castro visited and hosted his event there. Along with photos from the day there is a board of signatures that people of power has engraved there name. This no doubt will last a lifetime of visitors gazing over the occasion.
All the images on the blog are right out of camera JPG’s and unedited. With only using the cameras options to get the desired look.