27.2.14

Cuba: days 5 and 6 - by catamaran to Iguana Island and up into the mountains

Day 5: Monday 17 February 2014

Brekky at the casa

Vania, our landlady at Hostal Manaca made us a huge amount of breakfast and, as it wasn't a buffet for once, we had to try. We got two boiled eggs on sauerkraut, a cheese and ham roll (!), lots of fruit and a few extra bread rolls. But she did my washing, for which I was charged 8 cuc; I also has a beer (not for breakfast) and a bottle of water from the fridge. It was a rest day so I opted for the optional 30 cuc catamaran trip to Iguana Island, but first had to find a bank to repay my debts and the PO to post my postcards. Some of the hardier types, including Anne, opted for extra cycling, but it was apparently hard and mainly uphill! See Anne's write up of the trip on the Clarion website.

Catamaran

At the marina, we took off our shoes and climbed aboard the boat for a brief trip to the island of Cayo Macho. The bar opened almost immediately and was hard to resist a Cuba Libre - Rob was first in line! At the island, Rob and I plus the Australians David and Di disembarked, while the others went off snorkelling the other side of the island. We saw just one iguana, which eventually ended up under a table, but many hermit crabs, scurrying hither and thither. The lunch, when the others got back, was paella, which I'm pretty sure had chicken in it! Ah well.

Iguana

Dinner that night was at the Restaurant Paladar Malibran, off the main square, which was the best so far. A huge platter of lobster appeared at one point (I had about three halves) after the rice and beans. There was also fried plantain, and cassava, though it wasn't as popular!  The cowboy band was great too and the chef came out of the kitchen to do a couple of numbers. Elise the driver also spring into action to join in, then it was Rob's turn. This was the only time I was without my camera. Afterwards we paid a cuc to enter the Casa de la Musica, where Rob had discovered an old rum cost just 1 cuc! We saw two bands, then it was off to bed.


Paella at Iguana Island

Day 6: Tuesday 18 February 2014
It was cock-a-doodle-do and wakey wakey at the casa. This morning it was an omelette, plus the usual cheese and ham roll, etc.

Hostal Manaca breakfast area

Soon it was on the coach again and up to the mountains. Eglise negotiated some hairy hairpin bends until we reached an observation platform and lots of steps leading up to it. I stayed at the foot of them. It was onwards to a small settlement on the plateau and it was out with the bikes. I cycled most of the way to the lunch stop (tuna sandwiches) but at the thought of a big hill (down then up) gave in. Amanda and Anne were peeved that they gave up just yards from the end of the hill, and the ride.

Viewing platform

Hotel Hanabanilla was another Soviet style hotel, but with stunning views of the lake beyond the pool. We spent the afternoon by the pool drinking beer; Anne and Fran even had a dip in the lake. For dinner we crossed the dam and ate at a paladar, whose name I forgot to take, suffice to say it had a sleeping cock in a tree!

Hotel Hanabanilla, in the mountains

The food was fine, more fish! And I finished off Rob's plate of thinly sliced tomatoes with an interesting dressing.

Paladar with cock in tree

Lots more photos on Flickr.

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