Most tourists cross the Peru-Ecuador border near the Pacific Coast at Aguas Verdes. However, if you are adventurous, have time and speak some Spanish, I recommend crossing inland at La Balsa and seeing the region’s spectacular sites.
Standing in front of Yumbilla Falls, the world’s 5th highest waterfall
A post about my May 2017 visit to the area, part of a 2 year trip around South America and Cuba.
After a night bus from Huaraz, I enjoyed a day in Trujillo before another overnight Movil Tours coach ride to Pedro Ruiz. Adventures began early morning when the bus stopped face to face with an oncoming truck. Rain-induced landslides had narrowed the road to one lane. Continue reading →
I grew up with Julio Iglesias’ music in the family home. His third child Enrique is now a mega famous singer himself.
Video production people milling around on Cárdenas Street, Old Havana
Returning from Soroa, Rocío and I were walking to our accommodation in Old Havana (Habana Vieja) when we arrived to a closed road. On Cárdenas Street people and film production equipment surrounded its notable art nouveau houses.
Sign on a production van parked on a side street; the Liverpool production was in association with Ogilvy, Oxígeno, TV Casa Productora and Island Film
After the shooting gallery, Rocío and I came across a bar operating. A functioning bar is usually inconspicuous in touristy Old Havana (Havana Vieja). However, after Fidel Castro’s death all alcohol sales and entertainment officially stopped for 9 days and this was the only disobedient venue seen.
Enjoying a prohibited drink at the reggae bar gets Bob Marley’s approval
The small bar’s stereo played but not blasted and strong 2 for 1 mojitos cost 3 CUC (US$3). The NKOTB t-shirt-wearing manager’s view was that people should be able to mourn Fidel Castro’s passing how they liked. If they wanted to remember Fidel by playing music, they should be able to play music. He also gave us a different Fidel’s CD: Fuego Caliente by Argentinean reggae artist Fidel Nadal.
In the rear kitchen an empty burner kept flaming and I would not be surprised if communist Cuba provided free gas but not matches.
Fidel Nadal’s ‘Fuego Caliente’ CD the bar manager gave us; through the back door is a stove burning gas for no apparent reason
A Japanese tourist and her jinetero were the bar’s only other guests and we all joined in conversation, enjoying the bar’s rebellious spirit.
The Great Cavern of Saint Thomas (Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás) is Cuba’s largest cave system. Near the town of El Moncada 18 kilometres’ drive west of Viñales, the cave belongs to Parque Nacional Viñales.
The Santo Tomás Cave path is 2.8km long
As a geology lover, Rocío was keen to see the cave, especially after seeing artefacts from it in Havana’s Fundacion de la Naturaleza y el Hombre museum. From Viñales we hired a car and driver for 20 CUC (US$20), waiting time and return journey included. Continue reading →
Cuba’s second city Santiago de Cuba lies far from Havana and is known for both its music and rebellious streak. Rocío and I visited Santiago twice in December 2016, firstly for Fidel Castro’s memorial rally and funeral and later, returning from Baracoa. While based in Santiago we had an epic day trip to La Gran Piedra I blogged about here.
Moncada Barracks and the 26th of July Revolutionary Movement
Children at a school that used to be the Moncada Barracks, where the Cuban Revolution began; note the bullet holes in the walls
On 26 July 1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful armed attack on Santiago de Cuba’s Moncada army barracks. This is regarded as the start of the Cuban Revolution and the official revolutionary movement is named 26 de Julio (26th of July) after this date. The former barracks was converted to a school although some of the battle’s bullet holes remain. Continue reading →
Havana’s grand Great Theatre has amazing architecture
Havana is a special city in which anything can happen.
On Thursday, 24 November 2016, Rocío’s and my first full day in Cuba, we were walking along Paseo del Prado, the border between Old Havana and Centro Havana. Coming to the Great Theatre (Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso), we saw a crowd near the entrance. Just as we get there, modern Mercedes Benz sedans (a rarity in Cuba) arrive and out step opera singer Plácido Domingo and wife Marta Domingo.
Plácido Domingo and wife Marta Domingo get out in front of Havana’s Great Theatre
Festi Sabores, Festival of Flavours in English, is southern Peru’s most important food festival and a highlight of the Arequipa calendar. With free entry, Festi Sabores is held at Plaza Yanahuara over multiple days around October-November each year. Rocío and I enjoyed the 2016 festival enough to attend two days.
Cuyassic Park: like Jurassic Park but selling roasted guinea pigs instead (cuy in Spanish is guinea pig)Continue reading →
A poster in Macusani promoting the 1st Esquilaya Coffee Festival (I Festival de Café Esquilaya) held in Ayapata on 25 September 2016
Peru is a significant producer and exporter of coffee, with its crop primarily grown on the Andes’ eastern slopes. At 3,475 metres, the town of Ayapata is too high to grow coffee. Why then does it have a coffee festival? Continue reading →