Cuba – Day 5 – “Island Paradise”

Another excursion meant another early morning. Argh! Why did we do this to ourselves?! Before I went to bed I decreed that “I couldn’t be arsed getting up in the morning!” and when I woke up I wasn’t arsed getting up… but I got up anyway. I really wasn’t bothered going, but I’d already paid for it so, y’know, may as well. I’m glad I did go in the end!

After breakfast we got on the bus and there were already people on it, a load of Germans no less, and some English people from another hotel. We were greeted by Joél who was going to be with us all day. On the bus Joel reminded us that, for those of us that came with Thomas Cooke, the “safari” wasn’t included. But he reassured us that it was fine and just that they hadn’t insurance for it but if we wanted to go on the safari it would cost 10CUC. Leona and I decided to go on it.

Our bus journey was about an hour from Guardalavaca and we soon made it to the docks. Unlike the previous catamaran trip this boat was considerably smaller, but with a lot more people. Leona and I found some space on the roof and we lay in the sun as we sailed. Unlike the previous boat trip we were sailing in a bay so the water was a bit calmer.

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The boat stopped at the site for scuba. I was considering doing it this time, not to go to far but just to have a wee frolic about, but something put me off – I can’t remember what it was. But I got to sit on the boat and avail of the free bar.

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After the scubers were done scubbing the boat headed to the island (actually a peninsula). Because there was no dock to speak off the boat had to get as close as it was able to the beach and we then had to disembark by jumping into the sea. Thankfully the water was only at (my) knee level. Once we were all off Joél pointed us in the direction of the safari while the everyone else had “free time”.

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Soon two green Soviet army trucks arrived to take us. We got on and set off. The ride was bumpy. Very bumpy. It’s no surprise Thomas Cooke didn’t want to cover it but I didn’t think it was dangerous.

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The safari was fun, though not all the animals were exotic (like horses!) but we did get to stop and feed a giraffe (the keeper insisted we put the branches in our mouths too). When we were stopped by the giraffe the driver took us into the field to look at Zebras. We couldn’t get too close as they knew our game. When we got back to the truck an ostrich (or an emu) showed up. It was a big scary bastard!

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When we got back from the safari we had lunch. It was a buffet with rice, fish, beef, ribs, chicken and the like. I had two servings and the fish was amazing! I also had dessert which was some chocolate goo – I think like brigadeiro.

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After lunch we had some free time so we sat on the beach and frolicked in the sea. I also got to take in how cool this place was. It looked amazing! I hate to prop up the cliché but it was paradise.

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Soon we had to get back on the boat. We sat on the roof again but noticed an impending black cloud in the distance and we were sailing towards it! At this point Joél came round to all the Thomas Cooke travelers who didn’t have the safari included and compensated them with a bottle of rum each. We got some too! Yay!

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We got closer and closer to the black cloud and it started to rain. We got into the centre roofed part of the boat where Joél was dancing to a Caribbean beat – he had some moves.DSC_1079

 

We got off the boat and onto the bus just before the rain got heavy. We traveled back to the hotel as it got darker and it was nighttime when we got back to the hotel.

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Once we got back to the hotel we went to the rum bar (called Bar Havana Club). We had a few drinks and chatted to some of the other guests. It was about 9.30 by the time we finished there and rushed down to the buffet for dinner. A combination of eating too much lunch and lack of greens meant I had no appetite by this point and was started to get cramps so we had an early night.

It was around this point I realised that we were still running on GMT and hadn’t actually adjusted to the time zone. We had two days left…

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