It’s hard to believe how quickly this year is flying by. It feels like it was just yesterday that we got married in Costa Rica, but on July 1, we celebrated our 6-months wedding anniversary!
This month was full of fun adventures and activities. We started off the month with a visit to Canada to celebrate Max’s big 3-0 bibrthday and enjoy the great weather that is oh-so-rare in Canada. We spent some time in Canada’s lake country just a few hours north of Torontoand then traveled further north to the town of Lancaster on the Ontario/Quebec border where we joined some friends for a few days of camping.
Shortly after, we boarded a flight to Varadero to start our 3.5 week adventure in Cuba. Over the course of the first 2 weeks here, we have traveled the length of the island, making our way from Havana to Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, and Baracoa. Travel here has been challenging, especially when it comes to getting around. Busses are expensive and limited, so we spent many uncomfortable hours traversing the country in shared taxis on bumpy roads.
So far, we are on in awe. Sure, some Cuban cities and their colonial architecture have been impressive, but they have also been pretty touristy and not as culturally vibrant as we expected. But we still have over a week to go here, so we’ll continue to explore and to take it all in before we make our finaly judgement about Cuba.
Here are some stats from the month of July:
Canada: Toronto, Kwartha Lakes region, Lancaster
Cuba: Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa
Modes of Transportation
1 flight, 2 long bus journeys, 2 self drive car trips, and 4 very uncomfortable shared taxi rides in Cuba. Plus while in Cuba, we’ve been clocking on average 10-15kms on foot per day!
2,500 – we’ve been sharing lots of them on our Instagram page.
Our total for this month is $2,600. This includes $1,150 spent in the first 12 days in Cuba, along with expenses we incurred while in Canada, and about $600 that we have recently invested in camera upgrades.
July has been a month full of beautiful days and unique activites making it hard to choose a just few highlights from this month on the road.
There were those wonderful nights in Canada’s lake country spent huddled around a bonfire roasting marshmallows, drinking wine, and catching up with friends. And those days floating down the lazy river at a campsite near Lancaster. And then there was Cuba…the sights and sounds of Havana, the charming town of Cienfuegos (home to the best Pina Collada we’ve ever had), the pristine cobble stone streets of Trinidad, and the annual Snatiago de Cuba Carnaval that we were lucky to catch during our time here.
As always, our travels aren’t always sunshine and lollipops and this month has been no different. Our time in Cuba has been filled with highlights, but almost every higlight has been precedded by a lowlight. We are talking about Cuba’s terrible transportation network! Getting from place to place here is a pain in the butt. Unless you book the busses ahead of time, they are always sold out leaving us with the only alternative of shared taxis.
Journeys on shared taxis have been long (6-10 hrs each leg), especially in the south of Cuba, often down dusty bumpy roads in old cards with no windows, no shocks, no stretch stops, and way too many tourists inside. It’s the price we pay for wanting to see Cuba beyond just Havana, but it’s definitely the thing we dislike the most about our time in this country.
Favourite Accommodation/Favourite Meal
Our favourite accommodation this month has been Hostal Colonial in Cienfuegos, Cuba. It was a simply B&B (or casa particular as they call them here), but it was one that offered a great spacious room, with a lovely garden and the best home made dinner we have had in Cuba. (The meal consisted of fish, pulled pork, bean soup, vegetable rice, avocado salad and freshly squeezed mango juice… YUM!)
Here are the most popular posts from the blog published in July:
- 30 Things You Didn’t Know About Max – I decided to celebrate Max’s 30th birthday by making him the centre of attention and sharing 30 things most of you probably don’t know about him
- What to Budget for Your Trip to Indonesia – we break down how we managed to travel through Indonesia for $25/30/person/per day.
- 12 Reasons to Visit Costa Ballena: Uvita, Dominical, & Ojochal – we share the highlights of our trip to the area and give you lots of reasons to add it to your Costa Rican wish list.
- Tips for Visiting Manuel Antonio – in which we share our advice for visiting one of Costa Rica’s biggest attractions
July marked the launch of our brand new Vlog Video Diary on YouTube. We’ve been creating weekly 5-10 min videos with highlights of our travels and posting them to our new YouTube Channel. We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback so it’s definitely something we’ll continue doing for months (and hopefully years) to come.
Please show us some love and subscribe to our channel!
We are spending the first 2 weeks of August in Cuba. We are finishing up our time here with a few days at the beach and a journey out to Vinales Valley, home to beautiful mountains, red farmlands, and fascinating caves.
From there, we set off for Brazil! We’ll catch the last week of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio before heading South to admire the beauty of Iguazu Falls and then north to explore the rest of the Brazilian coast.