Yesterday afternoon I had to figure out what I was doing today.

I had a 9pm bus ticket to Trinidad paid for and ready for me to arrive there around midnight tonight.

Problem was, well, first of all, I would be arriving after midnight and who the hell wants that, but secondly, I had to checkout of my casa this morning which would mean I would have all day without a “home”.

I’d have nowhere to just relax and sit in a nice air conditioned room between adventures out in the city for the whole day.   Plus, I had nothing else planned for Cienfuegos.

So, it became a question of what am I doing today.

As I was looking up things to do, I found a trip you can do in the morning to Laguna Guanaroca where you go on a rowboat and row out to where there are flamingos nestled on the lake.

I thought that would be pretty cool but, again, the question was what do I do for the rest of the day when I return at noon.

And then I thought maybe there’d be a collectivo I could take in the early afternoon (around 2ish) that would take me to Trinidad in the early evening instead.   I’d throw out yet another bus ticket but not have this big gap of time with no home and arrive in Trinidad at a reasonable hour.

So, this was the plan I chose.

No sooner had I figured it all out, the plans were dashed.   Turns out the collectivos only go at 8:30 in the morning.

So, what to do, what to do?

Do I go see the flamingos and kill 9 hours here in Cienfuegos with nowhere to hang out or do I throw away the bus ticket yet again and take an early morning collectivo to Trinidad?

Why can’t it just be easy?

I know, first world problems.   I know.

To make the decision even more interesting, there was an option for the collectivo to stop for two hours at El Nicho park on the way to Trinidad to see the waterfalls.

What to do?   What to do?

I was really torn because, honestly, waterfalls, well, been there done that.

But flamingos?


In the end it just didn’t make sense to be stuck in Cienfuegos for nine hours with nothing to do and nowhere to call home.

So, I took the 8:30 collectivo this morning.

Wow, that was alot of writing just to say “hey, I left Cienfuegos at 8:30 this morning”

But first…

The great art adventure continues

Ah, yes, when we last left the art adventure yesterday, the plan was to swing by the gallery at 8:00 this morning and hurry back to my casa to load up onto my collectivo.

I set my alarm for 7am giving me plenty of time to get ready, finish packing, grab a quick breakfast, and go to the art gallery to pick up my art.

Yeah, I slept through the alarm and woke up at 8am.


Well, there was no way in God’s green earth that I’d be able to get to get ready and packed and still have time to get the art.

Sadly, the art would just have to stay hanging on the wall here in Cuba.

Or would it?

I did have one more ace up my leave…

The two couples I had dinner with last night were going on the same walking tour later in the morning which means they would also be stopping by the art gallery.

And they’d be arriving in Trinidad in the next couple of days…

I mean, I have to give it a try, right?

I sent Patrick a photo I took of the painting and asked if he could pick it up for me and transport it to Trinidad with him.

I also messaged Hector, the tour guide from yesterday, about the plan since he knew which print I wanted and I also messaged the gallery owner about the plan as well.

Well, I did all I could do.   I went above and beyond to procure this piece of art.

We’ll just have to see what happens…

Adios Cienfuegos

At 8:30 my casa host knocked on my door to tell me my collectivo was here.

Would it be another big car or a taxi?

Turns out, neither.

It was just some dude and his Peugeot.   The ride to Trinidad costs $20 but for an extra $5 they do a pitstop at the waterfalls.

Along with myself, there was also Mariano, a lawyer from Argentina and Thomas, a police officer from Leipzig, Germany.

Marino sat in the front seat and while he chatted in Spanish with the driver, Thomas and I had a long conversation in English in the back seat.

Thomas has been a police officer for 13 years placing him in the senior ranks.   After spending three years in the academy, he worked his way up to senior leader of a riot squad of 30 people but now works in the office.

I was actually fascinated with his story because I’ve never really met a police officer before which made for a unique conversation.

While we talked, we hurled down the road at speeds up to 120km/hr which I wouldn’t normally care about except for the lack of seat belts in back seat.

Regardless, obviously we made it in one piece but it’s funny how back home you would never consider driving without a seatbelt but when you’re traveling, it seems, all the rules are thrown out the window.

El Nicho waterfall

El Nicho park is about a 35km detour out of the way from going to Trinidad adding not only a couple hours to the trip while at the park but another couple of hours to go the long way around to Trinidad.

Instead of a 2-3 hour trip, the trip ends up being about 6 hours.

Honestly, though, I didn’t care.   I had nowhere to be and nothing to do.

To enter the park it costs an additional $10 with an option for another 300 pesos ($1.25) to go further along the path to see the caves.

Caves and waterfalls, hmmm, where have I seen that before?

Oh yeah, literally a couple of days ago…

Damn, I wish the detour was to the flamingos!

Oh well, first world problems, amiright?

Poor little guy can’t see his flamingos and has to settle for waterfalls and caves.

Oh, the humanity!

Anyway, like I said, we were there for two hours.

The hike up to the waterfall was a little bit iffy since the path was on a jagged path with rocks which from time to time were very slippery from the mist coming off the falls.

Let’s just say I walked very, very carefully.

This would be an easy place to twist an ankle or faceplant (again).

Luckily the trek was through a densely covered forest so we were in the shade the whole time.

Turns out my option to spray myself this morning with mosquito repellant instead of sun tan lotion was the smart way to go.

There was some time before we were to meet up with our driver and by now I was on my own as the other two were still exploring.

I came upon an empty restaurant at the foot of the park.

It was almost noon and I hadn’t eaten yet.

In the restaurant you could see a couple of bus drivers waiting in one corner table and a few servers sitting around at another table.

Other than that, there were a bunch of tables all completely set with plates and cutlery obviously waiting for tour groups to stop in for lunch later.

Despite it being empty, I still went inside and asked the waiter if I could eat and he happily sat me at a small empty table.

Lamb and rice, please!

The meal actually included a plate of sliced papaya to start and both bread and coffee which I passed on.

There was a stray cat and dog just hanging around my table waiting for scraps and, you know, me being me, they did not have to wait long.

As I was eating, both Mariano and Thomas came down the path and joined me and, at 12:15, we went out to the parking lot to meet back up with our driver.

Hola Trinidad!

By 2pm we had finally arrived at my home for the next 3 days, Trinidad.

As I was checking in, Mick, the man I met on the bus the other day on our way out of Havana randomly messaged me wanting to ask about Cienfuegos since he knew I had been there.

Little did he know I had just arrived here in Trinidad where he also still was so we made plans to meet up for dinner at 7pm tonight.

I got all settled in and just kind of relaxed for awhile.

While I was just hanging out, I finally got the message I was waiting for.

Patrick and the others had been able to purchase my artwork ($50) and were going to bring it to Trinidad with them.

Hooray!   Not only did I have a unique print, but I also had a great story to tell about how I was able to get it.

At 5pm I was a bit hungry so I went out to explore looking for something small to eat before we were to go for dinner a couple of hours later.

Walking through the town felt different from the other cities I had visited in Cuba.

The streets weren’t in an orderly crossing manner running parallel to each other but in a crazy zig-zag kind of way and they were almost entirely cobblestone.

As for the town, it seemed much smaller than I was expecting and didn’t seem to have a central part to it.

I poked my head into an empty restaurant I had marked on my map to take a look at their menu.

Hmm, they have pina coladas…

But the real question, was, did they use clean ice for their drink?

Yes, this is the first thing I ask now when I enter a restaurant.

They did and they did so in I went!

I also ordered a side of rice to tide me over til dinner.

After my pre-dinner, if you can call it that, I continued walking down the streets on a mission to explore the menus of the other places I had marked on my map.

Yup, this is my life.   Scoping out menus at restaurants while killing time before going out to dinner.

It was a little more complicated here because most of the menus were actually priced in USD instead of the pesos I’ve been used to seeing.

After eating out for awhile you kind of get to know what prices should be for different items on the menu so, all of a sudden seeing everything in different prices made me to the quick conversions in my head to pesos.

At 6:30 I headed to the meeting point Mick and I had set to meet at 7pm.

Drinks with Mick

At 7pm Mick and I met up to grab drinks and dinner.

I had met Mick a couple of days ago on my bus ride from Havana to Cienfuegos.

While I was stopping in Cienfuegos, he was going onward to here in Trinidad.

When he messaged me this afternoon, I was more than happy accept his offer to join him for dinner tonight as I could pick his brain about Trinidad and, as it turns out, he could pick mine about Cienfuegos as he plans to go there tomorrow.

Our first stop was a place around the corner for drinks.

One pina colada please cause, ya know, it’s always #pinaoclock.

Oh, they didn’t have pina coladas.

Guess I’ll have to settle for a daquiri.

Afterwards, we went down the street to a little hole in the wall restaurant he had been to the night before.

He asked if it was okay if we went there and I was all for it.   Lead the way, my friend.

You take me to where I should go and I’ll go.

For dinner it was pork and rice and, well, a Pina Colada por favor…

Oh, no pina colada?!?

Sigh, another daquiri, please.

On our way to our next stop, amazingly enough, I ran into Patrick, Jenson, Anne, and Catherine who had just arrived here in Trinidad.

I was dumbstruck.   I really wasn’t expecting them until tomorrow or the next day.

We made plans to meet up for lunch tomorrow where, along with a great meal, I’d be able to finally get my hands on my coveted art piece.

They went on their way and Mick and I continued on to our final stop of the night.

For a 50 peso entrance fee (20 cents), we went inside a little room where there was a bar in the corner, a bunch of tables setup close to each other and a space for musicians to play in the other corner.

One pina colada please!

What?   No pina coladas available?

Alright, alright, daquiri it is, I guess.

We sat and watched the show for awhile before we called it a night.

It’s actually how much I did today and at the end of the day, I’m happy with my decision to throw away my bus ticket and take the collectivo this morning instead.

Along the way, I got to meet more great people and catch up with Mick for dinner and drinks which I would have never done as the bus wouldn’t have even arrived in town by the time we were all done.

So, yeah, it was a good day.

It’s crazy to think that this is the tail stretch of the trip and I’ll be home this time next week.

I’m trying hard not to think about it though and ready to enjoy the last week of my trip.

Many more adventures are in store, I’m sure…

Cuba Trip 2024, Trip Journal, Trinidad, Cuba
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