Adventures In Cayo Guillermo, Cuba ~ 2004

30 05 2004

Cayo Guillermo ~ A very quiet and relaxing place to visit. Not really a hip place, but it’s like being in your own backyard… in Cuba…

We arrived sometime in the early afternoon and boarded the bus to the resort, from the airport. Upon departure, a fella walked up an down the aisles, handing out free Cristal beer.. one of two Cuban beers. The first one was free, the second one cost $1 US… a small price to pay for such a delectable beverage! Of course, one wasn’t enough.. this was vacation time!!! w00 h00!!

We pulled up to one of two resorts in Cayo Guillermo, the Sol Club Cayo Guillermo. It was beautifully decorated, and had an open foyer, right into the reception. Palm trees everywhere! We couldn’t wait to ditch the luggage and check it out! Unfortunately, our room wasn’t ready, but we only waited a couple of hours at the bar… um.. well.. it seemed that long… could have been longer… We ended up getting our room, which was nice, clean, and air conditioned. It was good to finally relax!!!

The people are amazing there, and make you feel like part of the family. They want you to come back! The food was pretty bland, but not horrible. But.. if you’re coming to Cuba for the food, you’re coming for the wrong reasons.

There were random cows and horses wandering loose among the roads, which I thought was quite odd.. I could never let my horsey get away like that!

Ok.. diving… well.. this was actually before I was certified, so I did a resort course in the pool. The instructor taught me how to clear my mask, retrieve my reg should it come out of my mouth.. and.. um.. well.. I can’t remember what else.. I do remember that it was only about an hour in the pool, before letting me loose in the ocean!

The one day we got out, the waves were raging, and the boat was pretty small, so there was fish food aplenty.

It was beautiful reef.. so many corals and fish, and only two of us on the dive boat, plus the DM and the boat captain. I never could let go of that inflator…

We took a flight to Cienfuegos, which is across the country.. That was interesting. We didn’t know that when we signed up for Swimming with the Dolphins, that we were going to be thrown out into a very poor part of the city afterwards. It was incredibly interesting, but not the safest of places. Cienfuegos was settled by the French, in the early 1800s, and was at one time a very rich city. The architecture of the buildings was beautiful, but sadly falling apart.

We were given some stories about the city, and warned about a few things.. like.. if you give $1 to one kid, they will all swarm you…

We were let to roam, and most of the people went up to a roof top bar, to wait for the van to take us for dinner. We decided to walk around. We noticed some craft tables, and went for a look.. at least we could give them some support by buying a few trinkets to bring back. We walked into an open doorway, that we thought was a store, to be greeted by Cuban military (they were roaming the streets). This fella didn’t speak English and was NOT happy that we were there… We quickly did an about face and hurried to the roof top bar with everyone else. *phew*

View from the roof top bar…

Mansion owned built and maintained by the French ~ apparently cost $36 Million to build, back in the early 1900s (IIRC).

We went for dinner at the French Yacht Club, which was included in the cost of the trip. The food was very nice, and we were serenaded by a really fun Cuban band. Of course, they had CDs to sell…

The Band…

We finished dinner and were ready to go… uh oh… We just had a call that our plane was broken… uh… ok… so.. we took refuge in the Yacht Club. This place was just outside the city, and an absolutely beautiful place.. but.. uh.. how were we going to get back??? We were told that we had to leave by a certain time, so we had to go back to the airport. The airport was pretty much closed up, and they opened a section for us to wait.. and wait.. and wait…

We finally made it back to the resort at about 10:30 at night, and were quite weary. There had been a form placed under our door, saying something to the effect of, “We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but it is impossible for you to call out to Canada at this time… blah blah blah.” Um… ok….

The resort had two different “fancy” restaurants, apart from the buffet. You were permitted to go to each one once per week you were staying for, and had to make reservations. We lucked out and got to go to one of them twice.. I can’t remember why, but we did. I think I had the best soup I’ve ever tasted in my life there… could have been a Pumpkin soup? Something I NEVER would have tried at home!

The people that worked there were absolutely amazing. They really do go out of their way to make you happy. There was a beach bar, that everyone’s favourite bartender was at, and he always had tricks with the bottles to show everyone!

There were dance lessons a couple of times a day.. of course, the first time I participated, was after a couple of drinks by the pool side… I learned many different dances… one of which I remember ~ The mambo! That was alot of fun!

In the beach grill, I was sitting quietly at the table, waiting for a special drink to be made, and this big arsed crab comes underneath the wall. I kinda froze a bit when he was nearing my feet, and then he noticed I was there! He wasn’t too thrilled either! Of course, he drew his claws, and silly me.. I’m trying to lift up my feet… Lmao… The bartender quickly came over and played with him, with a straw, and brought him back outside. All I could think of was.. sheesh.. that guy’s wife must be crabby…

Little guy coming in…

Coming closer…

Oh crap… he saw me…

Ok ok.. bad jokes aside, it was a really wonderful and relaxing place to be. Again, not a fancy tourist type place, but a fantastic place to lay back and leave the rest of the world behind for a week!

The swimming with the dolphins, in Cienfuegos, had to be one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done… Absolutely mesmerizing. These animals are amazing… They had “rides,” where they’d come up underneath you with their noses under your feet, and lift you up and out of the water, for a ride… If you lose your balance, they balance you… It’s quite amazing!

There was one, Luna, that came over to our group, to give us kisses. I started rubbing her belly, and she wouldn’t leave! I was in heaven! The trainers were trying to get her to do other stuff, but she was pretty happy where she was. When all was said and done, and I was getting out of the water, Luna came over and was poking my leg… I so didn’t want to leave.. I could have stayed with her all day, at the very least!!

They also had a sea lion show, which was alot of fun to watch. Their care for the animals really showed, and it was fun watching the handlers interact with them.

Back at the resort, they also had trail rides.. which I had to go on. It’s kinda sad seeing the horses down there though. They don’t have the same nutrients in grass as we do, so they don’t have the same health, and they wander the area freely, when not in use.

All in all it was a wonderful trip. I fell in love with the country that I saw, and the people that I met. A truly wonderful experience.



2 responses

15 07 2008
john miller

Nice blue fins!!! LOL

Its amazing how far we have all come….i used to have the same fins and a nice clear mask with a purge valve 😀

28 07 2008

Pshawwww… they were purple! :o)

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