Cuba March 23rd and 24th 2023; Pinar Del Rio days 7 and 8

There is no other way between Soroa and Pinar Del Rio than the A4 national highway which is very safe given the low traffic and the presence of shoulder almost everywhere. This was my longest stage (a little over 90 kilometers) which I did in an overwhelming heat, but fortunately with a good back wind. I easily found the Villa Manuela that I had booked the night before, but I didn’t see the available doorbell to attract the attention of someone who could open the door. After waiting for a few minutes, I went for a bike ride to pass the time. A cigar salesman who intercepted me helped me find a Internet access card for the Internet. I had shopped several options the day before with the cell phone of the clerck at the reception of Villa Soroa and I was no longer sure that it was at Villa Manuela that I had made my reservation. I wanted to confirm that this was correct by accessing my emails to see my booking confirmation. Reassured that I was not mistaken, my cigar seller helped me again by calling my host to inform her that I had arrived and would be at the casa shortly. Finally, after this little misunderstanding, I was received as a prince in a charming almost family atmosphere. The hostess (Ibelina) turned out to be a wonderful cook and my breakfasts and suppers were gourmet meals. Breakfast was composed of an omelette, natural fruit juice, toasts with mango marmalade, some seasonal fruits and a good coffee prepared with Italian espresso ! A whole fish for the first supper and lobster in sauce the next day with side dishes to feed a regiment. Ibelina even found a bottle of a decent red wine! I will most likely make another stop at this address on my return.

Pinar Del Rio is a charming little town that has kept its colonial style, but we see poverty almost everywhere, even if though there are few beggars on the street. People line up to buy necessities, and the import shops and the big stores are either closed or have bare shelves. A variety of micro shops offer everything in a complete absence of structure. And yet everyone finds what they need and things work out. I spent more than an hour wandering the streets of the city in search of a SIM card to learn that there were no more in the region and that I should have bought one in Havana ! In Pinar del Rio there is not much to do, apart from visiting the cigar factory, but it is a central point from which you can reach other places. In my case, it gave me a place to rest before leaving for Viñales. From there, you can also go to the end of the island at Maria La Gorda.

Here is the route I took with Strava followed as usual by my photos.

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