Friday, 6 April 2012

Havana, Cuba at the last minute

by Keith and Heather Nicol
       While in Varadero, Cuba on an impromptu last minute trip (see previous post) we decided to do one of the tours offered by Sunwing to Havana. They had 2 trips offered while we were there- a day tour and an afternoon/evening tour which included the famous Tropicana Cabaret show. We opted for the second one since we thought the music-dance show would be a very different experience. We headed out around 1:30 pm and enroute to Havana we stopped for what are claimed to be the best Pina Coladas in Cuba. "They are made with the freshest ingredients which is why they are so highly rated" our guide told us. Once in Havana we made several stops to see Revolution Square, the old town, a cigar/rum/coffee shop, and the Capitol building.

One of the oldest churches in Cuba in the old town of Havana

        We were taken with the great architecture of Havana and it is nice to see some of it being restored. This place must have been very impressive in its heyday. We were there on a Saturday and so the parks and squares were teeming with people and everyone seemed to be out walking and talking. After a quick visit to the Hotel Nacional, which has hosted lots of entertainers and politicians over the years, it was off to dinner and the show at the Tropicana.

An open air second hand book market in Havana
        We got our only rain of the week just before the show started which must have had the show organizers anxious but the downpour ended after 20 minutes and then as they say "They show must go on" so out came the squeegee crew to clean the water off the stage platform and then the show started. The show has been running for over 70 years and is a spectacle with amazing costumes and a lots of good music. The only downside was that we didn't get back to Varadero until 3:30 am, due in part the summer time change that occurred at the end of the show.
Dancers at the Tropicana Show


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