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Hotel Playa Giron, v ospredju palme

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When I started this blog, I wrote a few travelogues. So, if you’re interested in those, by all means—keep reading! ? However, as time went on, I shifted my focus towards travel stories and witty guide-like posts to help you plan your adventures. If you wanna know more, check out my homepage!


Apparently, our trip to Viñales was a rather lucky one (we went there by bus!), but our journey from Viñales to our next stop, Playa Giron (Vamos a la playa, oh oh oh oh!), was another story.

Once again, we found ourselves in a run-down Lada Niva. To make matters worse, three of us were crammed into the back seat.

Initially, Bojan and I were alone in the cab, and I conveniently sat behind the driver’s seat. However, somehow, Murphy’s Law took effect, and I ended up squeezed into the middle of the back bench with no seatbelt whatsoever (not that old Lada Nivas have any, to begin with).

This didn’t seem to bother our driver, as the speedometer hit at least 70 mph on the highway (let’s not forget the bumpy Cuban roads). I almost hit my head on the roof several times. And, of course, the wind howling through the open windows and the engine’s struggles were deafening.

Oh, what would life be without a little adventure!

Somehow, we survived our trip to the outskirts of Havana, where our fearless driver handed us over to one of his friends.


A cuban "taxi" - an old truck
This is what a taxi can look like as well. Especially if you’re in Cuba.


‘Fantastic’, I thought to myself, Scam number 1?

Even though we had paid for a ‘taxi colectivo’ to take us all the way to our next destination, we ended up having to complete the last stretch of our journey in an overhauled truck—a common sight in Cuba.

Once again, we were packed in like sardines.

The rusty old doors, rattling furiously due to the speed, functioned as a makeshift radio set—if you could call those sounds music. At least there was plenty of fresh air. ? Bojan developed a toothache—I wonder why…

Fail number 2?

Well, somehow, I managed to misinterpret the information I had read about the town of Playa Giron.

For some reason, I thought it was a snorkeling paradise when in reality, it boasts only a few short stretches of sand.

Plus, the owner of the casa particular we stayed in had a very liberal interpretation of what ‘proximity’ means. For her, a house a mile from the beach was equivalent to a “beachside house.”

However, getting closer than a few hundred yards to the beach was impossible anyway, since the seaside was dominated by a single hotel complex with numerous bungalows, most of which were abandoned and decaying.

The scene seemed surrealistic to me, with children playing and horses grazing among the ruins of what once was a lush and beautiful resort. Despite seeing some tour buses arrive at the reception, there were very few tourists around, the bar was deserted, and the pool’s greenish water signaled it had been a long time since anyone went for a swim.

The view could have been nice, but unfortunately, the hotel was shielded from the crashing waves by a tall concrete wall, completely blocking the view. Oh, and the bathrooms near the lobby? They lacked doors. Peekaboo time?

Yet, a single night still costs well over $100, just like every other hotel in Cuba. It seems someone had grand visions when they decided to build this resort, but something clearly went slightly wrong along the way.



But hey, we were still in the Caribbean, after all!

Despite the 8-hour journey, we decided to put on our swimsuits and make our way to the beach. The beach at Playa Giron might not take your breath away—at first glance, it promised a sandy paradise but was, in reality, littered with small pebbles, stones, and lots of seaweed in the water.

Don’t think I’m just complaining—nah, that’s just me observing and not being able to keep my mouth shut. ?

Actually, enjoying a cold refreshing beer on the beach, as the sun dipped below the horizon, made everything worthwhile.

We outlined our plan for the next two days in Playa Giron: biking, visiting a crocodile farm, exploring a few cenotes, and snorkeling at nearby beaches.

And, in the end, we quite enjoyed staying there! ?
Us at the sandy beach in Playa Giron
Sunset at the beach makes any day perfect 😉


Read next: Let’s salsa! (Cuba Travelogue 5/5)


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