North America

When a trip doesn’t go as planned

The plan was that we spend eight days in Cuba. The three of us organized a meeting, everyone suggested what they would like to see. We quickly came up with a list of 6 places to visit in Cuba. We booked entire accommodation through Airbnb in advance, and decided to deal with transportation once we arrive to Cuba. Organizing transportation from one place to another is simple. You will be stopped everywhere with an offer for Taxi Colectivo that can take you to another city. You can expect more passengers to join you because the taxi leaves when it is full. It’s a nice thing because you can always chat with other people, exchange experiences, or mention your blog. Why not?

Our original plan was that after Havana we go to Santiago de Cuba, on the opposite side of the island and after Trinidad, Santa Clara, Varadero and Vinales we come back to Havana, because from there we had a flight to Cancun. Travelling from Havana to Santiago takes 10 hours by car, 16 hours by bus. We were warned this would be very difficult, but we didn’t want to be swayed and persuaded to give up. We could do it!

It is very difficult finding tickets for Santiago. We went to the bus station Viazul, the station for tourists, the day before our planned departure, and there were no tickets left. They told us to come on the day of the departure for Santiago, that maybe someone would cancel, but we didn’t dare take a chance. Later we heard from our fellow travelers from Trinidad to Varadero that it often happened that people didn’t know they needed to check in an hour before the bus left and that their tickets would then be sold again. I left you a link to the site of Viazul so that you can get organized better than us, because only today I discovered that you can book the tickets in advance.

After an unsuccessful attempt to buy tickets, we entered into negotiations for a taxi ride to Santiago, for the price of CUC 280, for the three of us. A bus ticket is CUC 51 per person, but we were ready to give almost double just to get to Santiago. So, here we used our mean knowledge of Spanish, we barely found a person willing to drive us for a decent amount, and we agreed on everything, gave our address, but the man had given us the wrong phone number. And so, our plan to go to Santiago completely failed. Still, we asked our landlady to try and find us transportation, but it was too late for that and no one wanted to drive that much. We quickly had to organize another sleepover in Havana, find a taxi driver that would take us to Trinidad, and find additional accommodation in Trinidad. An acquaintance from Havana helped us, a Serbian lady, and we are immensely grateful for that. For some personal reasons, we will not mention her name.

That’s lost CUC 15 for accommodation in Santiago, additional CUC 30 for accommodation in Havana and Trinidad, but instead of almost CUC 100 per person, we gave 30 for a ride to Trinidad. It was not the end of the world. We were sorry, we wanted to round up our visit to Cuba, to do everything we planned, but despite all the efforts, we had no luck. We will organize better next time. Santiago must be conquered. Perhaps we will visit it one day from Jamaica, why not.

Bear in mind that when you travel alone, but this also happens if you travel with an agency, not everything goes as planned. We can’t control everything, not everything turns out as planned, but there’s no need to make a big deal out of it. Sit down and think about your options, do you want to take a risk or play it safe. My advice is don’t despair. Keep your cool and don’t lose your head. The solution will come to you.

All photos by: Danica, Vlada, Milica

Camera used: Nikon D3000, HTC 10

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