Thanks for visiting our Cuba blog!
We walked through a lot of forest. Or it may have been jungle. For two girls from London it’s hard to tell the difference!
Shockingly enough (it really is when you’re only used to pavement and the occasional pigeon), this forest/jungle had a lot of wildlife.
There were pigs (cute), bugs (terrifying) and chickens (oddly disconcerting) to contend with. And as we got closer to the cave, we were dwarfed by coconut trees which became breathtakingly tall – check out these photos:
We also noticed that the earth was becoming redder and redder, staining our shoes, clothes – Rosie’s formerly white t-shirt is still an earthy hue – and even the walls of a farmer’s hut we walked past on the way. We were entering the fertile land which produces fruit, coffee, and all of Cuba’s chocolate:
Our guide also pointed out some beautiful snails called ‘polymitas‘. They come in an array of vibrant colours and are now unfortunately endangered, as many locals collect them to sell to tourists. It’s strictly forbidden to take any out of Cuba with you so keep an eye out and don’t buy any by mistake – it would be such a shame for them to vanish all together.
Having just graduated from a
colouring Geography degree, Rosie also noticed that the raised rock path we walked on as we looped back around towards the coast was razor sharp and coral-like, as if it had been formed under the sea. We asked our guide about this, and he said they often do find marine fossils, indicating that the area was indeed entirely submerged at one point:
A pretty tough journey down a sheer cliff and we finally made it to this.
Our guide’s back?
No! Not so! This, amigos, is an underground lake.
Have another look and come back. We’ll wait.
The reason it doesn’t look like there’s a lake down there is that the water is so crystal clear it’s invisible as you go in. You just walk down some steps which gradually get more slippery, the hand rail disappears all together and suddenly you have wet feet.
We splashed around for a bit and just generally relaxed.The sound of the water lapping against the rocks is so therapeutic, and being deep underground means the air has this heavy quality to it – like every sound is muffled by the weight of the hill pressing down around you. Definitely worth a visit to de-stress after the hard work of…um…climbing up a mountain to swim in a cave. Our guide was also pretty cool – he came in with us to hold the torch and before letting us relax gave us a huge heart attack, switching the light off and pretending he was a crocodile!
Eventually we hopped out and towelled off. A little more walking and we were back by the farmer’s hut we’d come by on the way down.
This, right here, is the point at which the phrase ‘casual machete’ – if you remember from before – was coined.
People in Cuba can be so laissez faire about machetes. You quickly get to the point where you stop panicking every time someone picks one up when you’re literally miles away from the nearest hospital. Some people may accidentally brutally mutilate themselves with the huge knife they seem to view as a casual accessory, but they seem pretty relaxed about it and you’d be pretty unlucky for this to be the time it goes wrong. The guy walking down the street with what is essentially a massive, sharp knife, is probably fine too. Note to selves not to view a man with a machete walking down the street as nonchalantly in London, as we did in Cuba.
Side track complete, resume path of actual story.
We were given some fruit which was predictably delicious, made a huge mess of it getting juice all over ourselves, and saw this chicken in a bucket – blissfully unaware of the deadly weapon which would probably be used to cook it for dinner, sitting right beside it.
We tipped the farmer’s wife for the fruit and headed back to wobbly bridge, full and happy and still giggling a bit about the chicken.
Tune in to our blog again next Sunday, for more photos, tips and fun from our adventures in Cuba!