Last Day in Havana, Pit Stop in Cancun to a Day in Palenque...
Havana Travel Blog› entry 18 of 21 › view all entries
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.
Outside the museum were a lot of the vehicles used during the revolution - both for land and air.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.