Kayaking Cuba: Guajimico and Hanabanilla


This is Part Three of a series on kayaking in Cuba by O. Ross McIntyre and Helen Whyte. You may also enjoy reading “Kayaking Cuba, Part One: Bay of Pigs and the Flats” (Part One, the Bay of Pigs) and “Kayaking Cuba, Part Two: Exploring Guama and Cienfuegos” Part Two, Guama and Cienfuegos. Many thanks to kayaker and artist Valerie Storfer for bringing this item to our attention. Here are just a few excerpts:

Southeast of Cienfuegos the mountains push up to the coast and the geography changes dramatically from that we had been paddling in. We turned off the highway to Trinidad onto a short gravel road that dropped fast into a thin strip of land along a diminutive estuary, Guajimico. At its upper end, hidden from the highway and casual viewers, a minute stream enters the sea from amongst the brush. A fine sandy beach that has resulted from its action lies at the head of the estuary. The sloshing of the incoming swells against the rocky sides of the inlet on their way to the sand was music to our ears, and we eagerly climbed the many steps from the parking area to a place where the full sweep of the estuary was visible as it meets sea beyond. Yes, this would be a different type of paddling.

[. . .] Below us on a small mostly level area was the building holding a restaurant and, of course, the bar. Just beyond it a small flock of chickens pecked away at the base of a tree in which some were already roosting. Beyond the tree the land dropped precipitously into the inlet that bent west in a gentle curve towards the sea.

[. . .] The lake is surrounded by a roadless preserve with a hotel and other facilities located at its west end. After a lunch at the hotel we put in the kayaks and headed down the lake into the face of an increasing afternoon wind. We were aiming for a restaurant, Rio Negro, located on the south shore about a third of the way down the lake. As we paddled, we were in the company of heavy fiberglass boats that had been fitted with inboard engines, small four-cycle air cooled gasoline motors, each carrying several passengers. Most of these were returning from Rio Negro where their passengers had been served lunch on a day outing. We were going to spend the night at Rio Negro.

After a tiring paddle into the wind we arrived at the covered dock for the restaurant and ascended the steep path to another example of a “Tahitian palm thatched” restaurant. The complex sits on a small plateau with a lovely view over the lake; it consists of several conical thatched dining rooms and bars on a concrete plaza. Overhanging trees and flowing plants contribute nicely to the ambiance. [. . .]

For full article, see http://playak.com/news.php?idd=6743224819985

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