Traveling is great but sometimes your travel plans don’t go as expected. Before each trip, I do extensive research and I confirm reservations and even that does not guarantee that things will go as planned. Whats a girl to do? My only option was to make lemonade from sour lemons. Come along with me as I tell you about my journey to Trinidad, Cuba.
Getting to Trinidad
While doing research on Cuba, I found a Cuban driver on Facebook that was highly recommended by several people who used his services. I connected with Holbert Cisneros through Facebook Messenger several months prior to arriving in Cuba. He initially quoted me $75 CUC’S for each person. The price included transportation from Varadero to Trinidad and Trinidad to Havana. He agreed to stay and transport us to various destinations in the city of Trinidad for 3 days. During the course of our conversations online, he informed me that he was going to charge me $100 CUC’S per person because gas prices were going up in Venezuela. In my head, I’m thinking what does Venezuela have to do with Cuba. I knew that he was trying to charge us more money but I accepted this price because of great reviews from other people. I was super excited to meet him because not only did we talk prior to coming but he called almost every day to confirm the time he would pick me up while in Cuba.
On Wednesday, I received a call from a guy at my Airbnb saying,” he was outside to take me to Trinidad”. I was confused because I was expecting for Holbert to be outside and not a random taxi driver. I called Holbert and he stated, “he was hit by a car the night before and he had to go to the doctor”. He sent me a picture of his bandaged hand and foot as proof that he was actually hurt.
The taxi driver drove us to Trinidad with no issues. When arriving at the Casa he requested that we pay him $200 CUC’s. I was visibly upset for several reasons: he charged me $200 CUC’s (over half of the original quoted price) for a one way trip to Trinidad and tour guide services were not included. I believe that Holbert should have completely canceled the entire trip due to his injury or informed that he could only provide one-way transportation for 100 CUC’s.
My feelings were really hurt because I thought we had formed some type of partnership/ friendship as we had been communicating for months. I decided to contact Holbert when I arrived back in Havana. He came to the Airbnb and apologized to me and my friends. Although he said, “sorry”, he did not refund any of the money and gave me a box of cigars. I don’t smoke and would have felt better had he took us on a tour while in Havana as compensation or gave us a portion of the money back. While some people have had great experiences with Holbert, unfortunately, this was NOT my particular experience.
How would you feel if your guide over charged you for services that never happened?
Airbnb in Trinidad
The Airbnb in Trinidad was great and I would highly recommend this location. We paid $108 for a two-night stay. Prior to arriving the Airbnb contact person did not answer email or return calls but Cosme and his wife were terrific hosts. It is to be noted that person on the Airbnb site is usually different from the host at the actual Airbnb. Upon arrival, we were served freshly squeezed juice. The hosts also provide you with a pamphlet of things to do in the city and services you can obtain such as massages, laundry service etc.
We were shown to our rooms which had a twin and a queen bed inside. I loved the shower the best as it had a full shower head with hot water. They also had a fridge with drinks inside for sale. This is great as you don’t see convenience stores selling snacks and drinks.
Cosme was really helpful. Thursday night we decided to go out on the town, he made sure we had a taxi that picked us up from the house and promptly arrived when were ready to go back to the casa. He also found a taxi back to Havana for a cheaper price than what we paid to arrive in Trinidad
Eating in Trinidad
In Trinidad, we enjoyed a restaurant called San Jose Martin. It was so good and inexpensive that we ate here two days in a row. This was the cheapest meal ($8-12 CUC) we found on the island. The first night I enjoyed the fish of the day with fries, rice, and beans. On the second day, I enjoyed Seafood Paella a rice dish with lobster, fish, shrimp and red bell peppers. I tried the brownie for dessert but it was on the dry side, I prefer my brownies moist and soft.
Hanging out in Trinidad
Playa del Ancon
During the day we relaxed and went to Playa del Ancon for the day and relaxed at the beach for several hours. We rented a lawn chair for $2 CUC’s. While in the water at the beach felt a slight sting but didn’t know where it came from. I heard that there are jelly fish in the water but I didn’t physically see them.
We went out to Disco Ayala-( a dance club in a cave). The entrance fee was $5. It’s a little bit of a walk to the entrance on an unlighted path. I must admit we were scared because we had no idea where we going. When entering the cave be prepared for the heat because there are lots of bodies swaying to the music and they have no air conditioning. They played reggae-ton and Spanish hip-hop songs throughout the night.
A young guy asked me, “could I dance with his friend?” Apparently, the guy didn’t ask me himself because he could not speak English. I said, “sure we could dance”. We started dancing (2-stepping) but it was a little awkward because he was super tall and had a beer in his hand. He kept offering me some of his drink. I politely declined. Eventually, he wanted to go to the bar for another beer. We walked over to the bar and he orders a beer but tells me to pay for the drink. I said,” No dinero”. I’m thinking in my head, Why would I pay for your drink? I don’t even drink. Oh, I forgot, he also says that he wanted to have sex with me. I politely declined his second request as well.
This is an example of why I don’t do clubs and they don’t particularly excite me. What happened to being a gentleman? I don’t drink and even If I wanted water he should have offered to pay. Lastly, why would you even fix your mouth to ask me for sex and I have just met you?
After getting away from the guy and exiting the cave, we noticed other Black Americans outside.They asked, “if I was from Nomadness Travel Tribe” and I said, “yes”. We hugged and took pictures. I love the fact that I can travel anywhere in the world and Tribe is guaranteed to be there as well.
Coming out of the cave we had to walk down the same unlighted path. This time we stopped in our tracks to a dark figure. As we got closer we realized it was a horse. Sounds harmless right?! Well, we were scared because we didn’t want the horse to get scared and kick back his hind legs or charge at us in the dark. We waited 15 minutes until a younger guy came walking along the path. He laughed at us and told us “Caballo” (Horse in English). I know it sounds silly but we weren’t trying to get injured by the Caballo in Cuba.
Due to the fact that Holbert was hired to be my guide, I didn’t plan activities to do in Trinidad. We went to a couple places but I’m pretty sure we missed out on great activities that Trinidad had to offer. If I returned to Cuba I would go back to Trinidad to see all the things I missed.