Robaina's plantation

Monday, 16 January 2017

LCDH Varadero 63rd Street (Nov.2016)

               On my previous two trips to Cuba I spent the last 2-3 nights in Varadero and will do so again on my next trip. On these two occasions I made a point of befriending the people who work at the Calle 63 LCDH. I have conflicting reports on their conduct with customers but I myself have nothing but good things to say about the staff here. I have been allowed to enter their humidor, as you can see, and I've even photographed it. Upon a casual look, they have a good stock with a couple of hidden nuggets. Although I only bought one cigar on each of the occasions, which I smoked on the property, they treated me like I was a regular. I will purchase at least a couple boxes on my next visit, for sure.
                The store is a two story building, upon entering you'll have the counter directly in front of you with the walk-in humidor behind it. To the left of the entrance the counter wraps around to a space that has display cases with humidors and other paraphernalia. To the right of the entrance more display cases and a shop selling Rum, Cuban Coffee and more. Upstairs you have the bar, patio and A/C smoking lounge. Smoking is only allowed in the smoking lounge and patio but I have seen people smoking in the bar area as well on one occasion. I'm looking forward to my next visit.

La Casa del Habano
Calle 63 y 1ra Avenida
Varadero, Cuba

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Museo del Ferrocarril de Cuba (Estación de Cristina) Havana

                Cuba's place in history when it comes to Railroads should not be judged by it's less than perfect state today. The Train arrived in Cuba in 1837, it was the 7th country to have obtained it (1825- England, 1828- United States, 1832- France, 1835- Germany, 1835- Belgium & 1837- Russia) & 11 years before Spain which didn't have it until 1848. Of course the train came to Cuba, as it did for most other places, because it served the interests of some kind of business, in this case the Sugar industry. At that time, Cuba was one of the leading producers of sugar. The train would resolve all transportation issues between fields, refineries and ports of embarkation.
                 The old Cristina Train Station in Centro Habana, where the museum can be found, was built in 1859. I can't find any information about this property on the internet but I will assume that it was named after the queen of Spain Maria Christina who in 1834 approved the building of the first railway line. The museum has a great collection of trains and curiosities that make it a must visit if you're a train buff. Even myself, who neither likes or dislikes trains, found it interesting. The La Junta de Fomento Locomotive, which was bought from the US in 1842, is housed in this museum, as is a Locomotive that was conducted by Fidel Castro on it's inauguration on January 1975. You'll find a guide on site as well as a library on the topic.

Prior to the revolution there was a train ferry between Miami and Havana.
Havana had its first streetcar in operation on 3 February 1859.  

Museo del Ferrocarril de Cuba
Estación de Cristina
Avenida de México, esq. Arroyo,
Habana Vieja, La Habana
Hours of Operation: 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Admission: 2 CUC.
(+53 7) 8734414

Cuba's 1st Locomotive

Conducted by Fidel Castro

Across the Street

Monday, 9 January 2017

Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso (Vinales) Pinar del Rio

                 Some time ago on one of my visits to Vinales we came upon this place through our taxi driver. At the time it wasn't frequented by many people but with the increase in tourism throughout Cuba, especially in the Vinales area, it seems to have become a bit more popular. This would be a good place for Americans to visit, as it falls under their 'people to people' obligation set forth by their government for traveling to the island.
                This is an agro-ecological farm that's just a few minutes outside the town of Viñales (1 1/2 km.). The 8.9 hectare farm was once fallow ground left unattended. Wilfredo, the owner, started working here in 2005 operating it strictly as a crop site. With the help of his daughters they opened the restaurant portion in 2008. Everything here is natural and organic, our juices were prepared from scratch when ordered. The fertilizer used on the plants grown here is organic, they apply various agro-ecological techniques. The charcoal they use for their grill is natural and without any chemicals and I wish we would have eaten time. If you're going to spend some time in Vinales I suggest you drop in and look around. It's definitely worth getting the different view of the Valley, I took some great pics here.

Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso
Open Every day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Carretera al Cementerio KM 1 1/2, Viñales
Phone (+53) 5818 8581

Main House

Eating Area

Our Ride

Drive back to Vinales