Last Day in Havana, Pit Stop in Cancun to a Day in Palenque...

Havana Travel Blog

 › entry 18 of 21 › view all entries
The entrance to the Museo de le Revolucion - the guards waving at me as I took the photo.

Our last full day in Havana was a busy one.  We started with breakfast at Casa Maribel, which was okay - not as amazing as some of the other casa breakfasts we'd had in Cuba.  We then walked in to town - which we were now used to doing - to get some more local currency.  Our first stop was the Museum de la Revolucion, which we spent a few hours wondering around.  It gave great insight in to Cuba's history i.e. Fidel and Che/ How Cuba was colonised by Spain/ How they were taken over by the United States/ Granted 'independance' which allowed US military intervention at any time/ Lots of corruption/ Fidel leading the Revolution - training up in Mexico where he met Che who wanted to fight 'for the people' after travelling from his home country - Argentina.

Che and co preparing for attack during the revolucion.
  The Cuban Revolution was in 1959.  Interestingly there was no mention of the 1000s of Cubans that fled Cuba, only of all the Government initiatives introduced to improve the general welfare of the Cuban people, such as the literacy and health programmes.  Plus there was the nationalisation of all goods - everything in Cuba is Cuban i.e. Cubataxi and Cubacell, although this is also partly due to the trade embargoes placed on Cuba.  Strangely they also mention their involvement in the Angola War and state how they helped to defeat South Africa... which in turn aided in the start of the end of Apartheid.  Hmmmm... somehow... I think not. 

Outside the museum were a lot of the vehicles used during the revolution - both for land and air.

Walking around the outside of the Museo de la Revolucion.
  Once we were done we went to grab some more peso pizza and made tracks to the tobacco factory - Partagas Tobacco Factory.  Unfortunately they had changed their tour times, and weren't letting any more tours through that afternoon.  After all that walking we couldn't face heading back in to town for dinner, so walked to the bus terminal had some crappy pizzas there instead... way way too much melted 'plastic' cheese.

We headed off early the following morning to fit in the Partagas Tobacco Factory before leaving for our flight back to Cancun.  We got to the factory for the first tour at 9am, our guide was a lovely local girl who part way through the tour announced that "all the supervisors were bastards".  Overall it was a really interesting tour - we went through the factory visiting each stage of the cigar rolling process.

The Partagas Tobacco Factory.
  We visited the tobacco leaf grading areas - i.e. which leaves they use for rolling inside and outside and how they test the quality for the different cigar types - all of which are made at the same factory.  Our guide frequently told us that "today the workers are not happy", that they are complaining about the rates of pay etc.  The Cuban Government makes a lot of money on the cigars and the workers only get something like US$25/month. 

Our guide explained that the workers are entertained every day by a 'Reader', who reads stories and the daily news.  She also explained that each worker is specifically trained in their particular area of the cigar rolling process, that in fact new cigar rollers come on board for 6-months of training before they move on to making cigars for store sales.

The cigar shop at the Partagas Tobacco Factory - me checking out cigars.
  In addition workers are allowed to take a certain amount of cigars home each day from those that do not pass their stringent quality checks.  This is how you find people selling Cuban cigars for much cheaper than in the shops.... they're essentially the "reject cigars" that the workers are allowed to take home.

Our guide also explained to us that the Partagas Tobacco Factory was closing down that week for renovations, that all the workers were relocating and had to work extra hard to pack up all the cigars in the factory.  Apparently the government have an agreement to restore historical buildings such as the Partagas Tobacco Factory, but our guide wasn't convinced it would happen, or that if it did it would take a very very long time to complete.

At cool statue at another cigar shop near the old part of town.
  So, I'm really pleased that we got a chance to go there - in case what they have been told is true... that it will be a long long time before more tours pass through the doors of the Partagas Tobacco Factory.

After the tour we went back to the casa to wait for a taxi to the airport.  At the airport we struggled to spend the last of our CUCs, which weren't really worth exchanging and can't be exchanged outside of Cuba.  How ironic... a backpacker that couldn't spend money!  Needless to say I bought some rum and come more cigars. :)

Arriving back in Cancun, we came out of the airport to find Jules waiting for us... which was a real surprise as we weren't sure how we were going to hook up once back in Mexico.  After a bit of missioning we got a transfer bus to the station in down town Cancun and from there we walked to the Las Palmas Hotel - where we stayed previously.

Me looking out over Palenque.
  The following day we just did admin as we were catching a night bus down to Palenque, which luckily wasn't too painful... I slept for most of it!

We decided to spend just the one night in Palenque, so once checked in to the hostel we bounced right on to the Palenque ruins.  Jules decided he'd seen enough Mayan ruins so headed that afternoon to a coastal town for some more beach time.  We didn't bother with a guide at Palenque as on our previous visits to Mayan ruins the guides had the same sort of things to say about the Mayans and how they built their temples in line with the stars etc.  So we just missioned around ourselves, and despite having gone to several Mayan ruins previously we still found the Palenque ruins to be pretty impressive and well maintained.

The next day we caught a bus down to San Cristobal where we hoped to meet back up with Jules.

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The entrance to the Museo de le Re…
The entrance to the Museo de le R…
Che and co preparing for attack du…
Che and co preparing for attack d…
Walking around the outside of the …
Walking around the outside of the…
The Partagas Tobacco Factory.
The Partagas Tobacco Factory.
The cigar shop at the Partagas Tob…
The cigar shop at the Partagas To…
At cool statue at another cigar sh…
At cool statue at another cigar s…
Me looking out over Palenque.
Me looking out over Palenque.
The main stair case inside the mus…
The main stair case inside the mu…
A mural on the wall rincon de los…
A mural on the wall "rincon de lo…
The Hall of Mirrors - built to rep…
The Hall of Mirrors - built to re…
Me in the Hall of Mirrors.
Me in the Hall of Mirrors.
Government office.
Government office.
Government boardroom.
Government boardroom.
The flame of remembrance.
The flame of remembrance.
Walking around the outside of the …
Walking around the outside of the…
Walking around the outside of the …
Walking around the outside of the…
Walking around the outside of the …
Walking around the outside of the…
Walking around the outside of the …
Walking around the outside of the…
Fargo Truck - you can clearly see …
Fargo Truck - you can clearly see…
Info on - Fargo Truck.
Info on - Fargo Truck.
Dragon 1 - Tractor turned armoured…
Dragon 1 - Tractor turned armoure…
Info on - Dragon 1 - Tractor turne…
Info on - Dragon 1 - Tractor turn…
Remains of Bombardier B-26
Remains of Bombardier B-26
Info on Remains of Bombardier B-26
Info on Remains of Bombardier B-26
Remains of Bombardier B-26
Remains of Bombardier B-26
The Partagas Tobacco Factory.
The Partagas Tobacco Factory.
The cigar shop at the Partagas Tob…
The cigar shop at the Partagas To…
The cigar shop at the Partagas Tob…
The cigar shop at the Partagas To…
The bar at the cigar shop.
The bar at the cigar shop.
The cigar shop.
The cigar shop.
The cigar shop.
The cigar shop.
Some of the cigars on sale.
Some of the cigars on sale.
Some of the cigars on sale.
Some of the cigars on sale.
Arriving in Palenque.
Arriving in Palenque.
Arriving in Palenque.
Arriving in Palenque.
Santa outside our hostel.
Santa outside our hostel.
The Palenque Ruins.
The Palenque Ruins.
The Palenque Ruins.
The Palenque Ruins.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
The Templo de la Calavera.
The Templo de la Calavera.
Me climbing up the Templos de la C…
Me climbing up the Templos de la …
A freaky skull carving on the temp…
A freaky skull carving on the tem…
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Me at the Palenque ruins.
Me at the Palenque ruins.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Exploring the Palenque ruins.
Exploring the Palenque ruins.
Walking through a tunnel...
Walking through a tunnel...
Coming out of the tunnel... lookin…
Coming out of the tunnel... looki…
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Me at Palenque.
Me at Palenque.
Another skull carving... but not a…
Another skull carving... but not …
Al doing... the underwater wild t…
Al doing... the 'underwater wild …
The courtyard area.
The courtyard area.
Some Mayan carvings at the courtya…
Some Mayan carvings at the courty…
Some more Mayan carvings.
Some more Mayan carvings.
Exploring the Palenque ruins.
Exploring the Palenque ruins.
Views of Palenque.
Views of Palenque.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Some of the craft sellers at Palen…
Some of the craft sellers at Pale…
Maree checking out some of the cra…
Maree checking out some of the cr…
Al walking around the Palenque rui…
Al walking around the Palenque ru…
Me walking around the Palenque rui…
Me walking around the Palenque ru…
Views of Palenque.
Views of Palenque.
Views of Palenque.
Views of Palenque.
Me at Palenque.
Me at Palenque.
Views of Palenque.
Views of Palenque.
Views of Palenque.
Views of Palenque.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Walking around the Palenque ruins.
Trees... yes... had to be at least…
Trees... yes... had to be at leas…
Waterfall as we were leaving Palen…
Waterfall as we were leaving Pale…
Waterfall as we were leaving Palen…
Waterfall as we were leaving Pale…
Me at the waterfall.
Me at the waterfall.
Waterfall as we were leaving Palen…
Waterfall as we were leaving Pale…
Waterfall as we were leaving Palen…
Waterfall as we were leaving Pale…
Havana
photo by: mario26