A day in Cienfuegos

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

After a delicious breakfast we were picked up by our taxi collectivo. A van from the fifties climbed the steep path to our casa particularis and eagerly waited until we all had taken place into the pretty comfortable vehicle, while one of the guys strapped our big backpacks onto the roof. I must be honest, it wasn't my favorite place to put luggage, since all of my belongings were stuffed in that one bag.

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Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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From Viñales to Cienfuegos with the taxi collectivo!

From Viñales to Cienfuegos with the taxi collectivo.

My two girl companions seemed to think exactly the same, since they seemed to be anxious about their luggage dropping off the moving van.

In the vehicle, two other girls were already seated.
Since we were only with five (plus the driver and one of his co-workers), I was sure that more people would be crammed in later on.
The co-worker left the taxi and made place for two new, Spanish people who could sit in the front.

We had picked up all the passengers and could finally make way to Cienfuegos! All in all the van was actually quite comfie, and definitely a better experience than the Viazul bus.

We paid 35 CUC per person for our trip from Viñales to Cienfuegos.
The driver asked us to pay right away, so Sanna became a little worried. She had heard stories of collectivo owners who only brought their customers up to Havana and then pretended that they had engine problems so they could not take them further

Whenever I started to fall asleep, the shabby car honked at an obstacle on the nearly empty roads, and otherwise I was sure to wake up in fear because the driver was trying to dodge some of the potholes in the roads.

In the middle of the road, there was a carcass of a dog rotting away and it had attracted a lot of vultures.

The car was quite old and we had to make regular stops for the engine to cool down. During our second stop, we had to change taxi’s, because the drivers licence only ran until this place. At first we were a bit scared that Sanna’s suspicions were true but when we again left, we knew that all was good.

With the backpacks again attached to the roof, we now heard them thud agains the roofing a couple of times. Everyone seemed to be stressed out by this, since everyone always stared at the back to make sure no backpack had fallen off.

After our seven hour trip, we could finally relax; no backpacks had fallen off and we had finally arrived at our destination!

The central square of Cienfuegos.

The central square of Cienfuegos.

In Cienfuegos we were welcomed by the family who lived in the casa. Very often an entire generation lived under one roof and on top of that they made their houses available to the many tourists in Cuba.

Once we entered, Matthias (the boy from Sweden who we had met in Havana) came outside of his room to greet us.
The whole “Havana group” had finally reunited!

Matthias suggested to walk around in Cienfuegos, since it would only take a couple more hours to get dark again. He told us we wouldn’t need that much time, since the city of Cienfuegos was in fact pretty small.

Besides the central square and the central shopping street there was indeed not much to see. We walked along some tourists markets and the Malecon of Cienfuegos before we sat down to eat something.

Ordering and getting your food takes a while in Cuba, and by the time we left, the sun had already started to go down.
The Casa mama (the owner of the Casa Particularis) had told us that there was a nice spot at the end of the main street in Cienfuegos to watch the sunset.

We took a cheap taxi there but found it impossible to find that exact spot. Since we didn’t want to waste anymore time searching for this place, we went to the little beach a little further where we could enjoy the beautiful sunset with a refreshing mojito.

When it already was dark, we returned to our temporary home and we all planned what we were going to do tomorrow.

There was obviously not much to see in Cienfuegos and so we decided that we would just have a relaxing day at the beach. Afterwards we would walk around in the city a little longer and by the evening we would arrange a collectivo towards Trinidad.

The ride to the beach was very nice, but the beach itself was not that appealing to me. I think I had already seen too many beautiful beaches during this holiday!

My Swedish and German friends enjoyed it though and obviously I had fun myself too. We spent a lot of time talking or playing in the water, while we were baking in the hot sun.

Once we returned to Cienfuegos we explored a little more, but soon we grew tired of it. Since our taxi collectivo would only pick us up in a couple of hours, we went to have a little bite and then slowly walked back to our casa to say our goodbyes.

Relaxing at a Cuban beach is not bad. Not bad at all!

Relaxing at a Cuban beach is not bad. Not bad at all!

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