Cuba Road Trip Warriors pt 1

We were finally resting in the early portion of our journey to Eastern Cuba. We were a Pamananian-American family with 2 kids in the middle of Cuba on a bus for 14 hours. I was secretly nervous because I heard a lot about mechanical issues or malfunctioning with buses or dangerous terrain that would cause crashes. I was so uptight and concerned with what I read online. However, I was worrying so much and ruining the amazing road trip that unfolded.

Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

The bus was a simple shuttle bus that holds about 35-40 people. I woke up to Cuba’s countryside. There was a lush scenery with street corners popping up every few blocks we passed.

Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

The roads in some of theses areas were horrible with pot holes all over. The bus driver was truly a road warrior. I was real surprised as the driver was driving at high speeds on long damaged road streets. What was I thinking? What traveling adventure have I gotten us into this time? I focused on enjoying the journey while taking photos and videos. The restroom on the bus was out of order and we had to sprint and wait in line to take restrooms breaks when we made short 15-20 minute stops (I mean, its not like were already 4 and half hours late). I even had to pay 1 CUP which came to about 3 cents in U.S. dollars.

Stopping to take a restroom break. Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

The bus was air conditioned but was very uncomfortable. In Cuba, the buses use a more colloquial slang for buses called Guaguas. You are not going to find that in many educational books but I thought about it a lot while on this bus. I was really trying to get my mind off of things. On the other hand, my 2 year-old at the time, was enjoying the ride and the sightseeing. Unfortunately, the bus had 2 seats each row and was at full capacity. I sat away from my family. I checked on them each time the bus stopped. The bus included a free lunch in the price of the ticket so I was really anticipating it but not expecting anything spectacular due to Cuba’s current food conditions. We passed what seemed to be the only road to the Eastern portion of the island. One thing I learned about Cuba is that public transportation was definitely not complex but simple and overcrowded. I also noticed a lot of Cubans driving on mopeds and motorcycles. There were even people riding in chariot like vehicles.

Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.


Gradually, I became calmer as my attention diverted to my sense of adventure. My guards were finally down. The Cuban atmosphere was amazingly tranquil. I felt safe with my family. My family and I were the only non-Cuban throughout this journey with beautiful good-hearted Cubans on a modernized bus.

Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

As we cruised through the bumpy roads, I went into deep thought. I realized how my preconceived notions and prejudices of this island was far from reality. The mysterious Cuba that I once dreamed about, was being revealed before my eyes. I learned a valuable lesson to not allow other experiences to shape my own experience. I was finally at ease with still so many hours until we reached Santiago de Cuba.


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18 thoughts on “Cuba Road Trip Warriors pt 1

  1. It sounds like you had a great experience! I visited Cuba in 2007 and at the time the modernisation had hardly started. I didn’t use any buses, but with a couple of fellow travellers we rented a min-taxi that took us for a tour through the countryside – although it was a bit pricey. Visiting the island was a revelation on many levels, but the bright colours, the music, the people and the lush and green countryside will always stay in my mind. To date I still haven’t got my photos of Cuba up on my blogs, but will do so at some point in order to re-live the experience. Thanks for sharing – well written and informative.
    – Jean-Jacques


      1. I’d love to see more pictures. Regular people don’t generally care what the politicians are doing — they’d like to have income circulating and raise their families.


  2. This reminds me of when I went to Cuba! It’s a beautiful island with such kind and genuine people. I stayed with a family of Cubans for a month and I was treated like their daughter. And yes, it’s not an easy country to travel around in! Great post and thank you for the opportunity to reminisce 🙂


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