Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The drive to Santiago de Cuba and our strategically located hotel—Casa Granda

The drive from Bayamo to Santiago de Cuba is approximately 2 hours. I recall the drive as an uneventful one. We saw the same stuff—old trucks and horse carts on the highways and coconut trees.

Upon arriving in Santiago de Cuba, we were received by a stream of traffic and noise. We are now 870+ kilometres south of Havana. Wow, we have driven that far already! The second largest city of Cuba is a throbbing and colourful metropolis in the south. Because of its proximity to Haiti, the city has Haitian influences. It is as well the birthplace of the Afro-Cuban musical style ‘Son’ and the world-famous alcoholic drink ‘Bacardi’.

Our hotel, Casa Granda Hotel in the heart of Santiago de Cuba. That is our rental car parked in front of the hotel, the 3rd one, and the whitest. We paid CUC$3 per day for parking.

We booked our hotel at the restored 1920's historical hotel Casa Granda. They say that the 4-star Hotel Casa Granda is a tourist attraction in itself. Reaching the town centre, we quickly found the hotel. There is no better hotel spot than Casa Granda in Santiago de Cuba so we were quite happy with this choice. Its location is strategically situated in the heart of the city, across Parque Cespedes, the municipal town hall and the Santiago de Cuba Cathedral.

Our hotel room was quite spacious and the bathroom as well. However, like any (crumbling) historical hotel in Cuba, this building has seen much better days and is in dire need of a massive renovation. The bathroom may be spacious but I can feel moulds lurking inconspicuously in the corners and between the tiles. Just plain EWW. The lift is not working as well so we had to lug our bags via the stairs to the first floor. Luckily, we had help.

After checking in we settled for some mojitos at the restaurant lobby that has the best view of town, the beautiful Parque Cespedes. I swear that Casa Granda have the best mojitos in Cuba!

The photos of the drive from Bayamo to Santiago de Cuba:

And upon arriving in Santiago de Cuba, as we searched for our hotel:

Hotel Casa Granda, our room (the beds were nice to sleep on):

This is the view from our hotel room window:

Outside of our hotel room, on the hallway:

Here we are at the restaurant's lobby enjoying our mojitos on a hot afternoon. The mojitos at this hotel are the best in Cuba (and we have tasted mojitos everywhere in the country).

More of Santiago de Cuba next! Besos people.

Travel Period: May 2012
Destination: Santiago de Cuba (Santiago de Cuba), Cuba

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