PR Executive, Olivia recently travelled to Cuba with her step mum for a week of easy walking on our Cuba Highlights on Foot trip. How did first time group traveller Helen get on?
Even though I’ve been on quite a few Explore trips, I was a little apprehensive before flying out to Cuba as my stepmum, Helen was travelling with me. This was her first Explore experience, so I was eager for her to have a great time. But I was also acutely aware of her inability to pack lightly and despite my repeated warnings that she’d need to be able to carry her bags to each of our casa particulares, I was destined to provide space in my suitcase for our week long trip! During our flight home, I asked Helen what her three highlights from the trip were.
Walking in Topes de Collantes
“I loved walking through the forest in Topes de Collantes. We ducked through caves, passed rivers with crystal clear waters and even spotted Cuba’s national bird, the tocororo as well as lots of hummingbirds which are my absolute favourite. With a few steep climbs thrown in and hopping across the stepping stones in the shallow streams, it felt like we were on a real adventure. As someone who is passionate about nature, it was fascinating to hear about all the different species of flora and fauna from our local guide – many of which are endemic to Cuba.”
Dancing salsa with the locals
“While in Trinidad we had an included cocktail making lesson, where we learnt how to make authentic Cuban mojitos – and taste them of course! After this we headed to the Casa de la Musica, which is on the steps just off the main square. Here, the band played all evening with hundreds of people milling around on the steps and enjoying cocktails in the surrounding bars. We watched couples dance the salsa and were invited by the locals to join in. We mostly got the steps wrong – but it was so much fun!”
“For me, travelling to a new country and meeting people who I never would have met otherwise was fantastic. From chatting on our walks, during bus journeys or over meals, it was lovely to hear about their different walks of life and all about their previous travels. Group travel is definitely something I’d like to do again and I’ve already started putting together a wish list of destinations; Costa Rica and India are at the top!”