Birthday and holiday plans!

Cuba street
Doug Wheller on Flickr


As I pull on my sweater, grab my tea and open the front door, I realize that colder weather will soon be coming. I was walking to my day job, when I was wished that I had taken my gloves with me.

The summer had flown by! Granted, I was recovering from my accident for most of it but I still can’t believe fall is here! It is sitting by a fire, sipping hot drinks and wearing rain gear season again. I do love winter in Vancouver but the rain can get to you. The temperature hardly ever goes below zero, and the snow usually stays on the mountains; the rest of Canada laughs at Vancouver at how we handle snow if it does fall in the city. This year, I’ve planned a winter escape as a celebration for a milestone birthday.

The big news is I’m going to Cuba for my 30th birthday!

I’m excited for this trip. As I enter into a new decade, I want to do something memorable. I could have booked an all-inclusive package for the two weeks but I wanted to see Cuba that is outside of a resort. Since my birthday falls between Christmas and New Year Eve, I will celebrate my birthday and Christmas holidays there. I will be taking the trip solo, as no one was able to take holidays at that time.

By staying in casa’s (similar to a B & B), eating local food and by exploring different rural, urban and beach areas, I’m looking forward to learning more about Cuba. I have spent hours researching multiple trip options, and created a pro and con list. I was able to narrow down my choices. I chose to go with Cuban Adventures on their New Year’s Rumba tour! Cuban Adventures is a small group travel company, focusing exclusively on Cuba. My communications with them via e-mail were very positive and they went the extra mile with their responses. Plus, their responsible tourism policy is something I support and agree with. This trip provides a good balance of independent time to do with what I wish but also have a group of like-minded travel companions for group activities and the logistics are taken care of. You never know who you will meet travelling and that is part of the fun.

Photo by Zoriah on Flickr

I’m adding extra time at the end of the trip to have a couple of days of relaxing and light exploring in Varadaro. I can’t wait to hop on the plane. Here is itinerary:

  • December 22 – Arrive in Havana –Check in to my casa, grab dinner and get settled.
  • December 23 –Explore Havana on my own and meet up with the tour guide and group for dinner and drinks.
  • December 24 – Santa Clara – Attend the Parrandas de Remedios Festival.
  • December 25-27 – Trinidad (UNESCOs World Heritage site) –Christmas group dinner party, explore the town, visit sugar mills, hike to waterfalls and beaches.
  • December 28 – Cienfuegos –A port city, I’m hoping to visit Castillo de Jagua.
  • December 29 to 30 – Viñales –via Bay of Pigs. One of the places that I wanted to go to for years, I will celebrate my birthday here. I will walk around in the tobacco fields and farm lands.
  • December 31 – Havana –Celebrating New Years at Cathedral Plaza.
  • January 1 – Havana –walking tour of Old Havana plus afternoon time to explore or tour. This is the last evening of the tour.
  • January 2-4 –Varadaro –Check into casa, beach time and relaxation.
  • January 5 –Fly home

I will share my adventures in Cuba once I return home in mid January as I won’t have access to the Internet for my two weeks abroad. A digital detox!

Pescadores en La Habana
César Fernández López on Flickr

I would love to hear about any experiences or tips you have when you have visited Cuba or if you have taken a small group tour in any destination.

3 thoughts on “Birthday and holiday plans!

  1. First of all, advance happy birthday! Good luck on your trip. would look forward on your post after you’ve gone to Cuba. Many people would definitely want to hear your experience after. Enjoy your trip!

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