How do Speed boats, horse riding and jeeps sound? We recently spent a week in Holguin Cuba over Christmas. It wasn’t all lazing by the pool, Margarita, in hand though. I find that ‘R’ word, really hard to do, what is it again? Oh yeah, relax!! With the opportunity to go out explore and have a family adventure, we took it and booked a ‘4×4 Challenge Adventure’ excursion.
Our day trip started by being picked up from our hotel by a guide in a Jeep and we joined a little convoy to the harbour where our first challenge would be. We drove through the lush Cuban countryside and little villages with Danny Lou, our guide, telling us all about how the local people lived, pointing things out of interest and showing us plants growing mangoes and bananas. Apparently, there are about 46 different varieties of Mango that they grow in Cuba!
We made our way to the harbour at Sama bay for our speed boat ride. All togged up in our life jackets, we grinned for the camera and the kids were so excited. It wasn’t until we walked down the jetty, I realised we would be driving the speed boats ourselves! Hubby (thankfully) took the wheel, I think he thought he was in a James Bond movie, as we followed a guide boat in front, zigzagging around the bay. Me and My Daughter clung on for dear life in the back screaming as we were hit by the spray. Hence no photos or video! It was absolutely exhilarating and after 15 minutes we had the opportunity to swap drivers. Er, no, not in the middle of the bay with my two kids in the boat was I about to swap places with hubby in the front. I wouldn’t have dared go so fast either! After 30 minutes our speed boat fun was over and with jelly legs we were back on dry land. Scary at times and with lots of screaming from the girls, we’d had a great time.
From the harbour we visited a local farmer and were shown their way of life and sampled their home-made rum and fresh produce. My Son helped grind the coffee to go with our snack, it looked hard work but was delicious.
Back in the jeeps we went off roading in the countryside, making our way to the Bariay National monument park and the place where Christopher Columbus is said to have first stepped on Cuban soil in 1492. We were treated to an Indigenous dance performance in the mocked-up village and had our faces painted as we posed for photos.
Then it was time for the next challenge and our next stop. After a coconut drink stop and having met Maria the cat, who liked fresh coconut flesh, it was time to meet our horses. I have a history of riding horses and them running off with me so usually stay away from them. A twenty-minute ride was planned to the Cayo Briay where Christopher Columbus is said to have actually landed. I was fine on my horse, Paloma, apart from there’s obviously a pecking order in the group and my horse wanted to be right next to another. That horse was being ridden by the only single guy on the trip. I was mortified as Paloma insisted on rubbing up right against his horse! After stopping to admire the view of the bay we stopped for a lunch of rice, beans and chicken. It was delicious and the view over the bay was amazing. Full tummies we got back in the jeeps riding through the wonderful countryside back to the hotel. It was a great day, we saw all sorts and I loved hearing the kids squeal in excitement on our various challenges. Apart from the speed boats and horses, we got to see some of the real Cuba and you just can’t get that from being sat around the pool.
Have you visited Cuba? Do you go away at Christmas? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing what you think.
You might be interested in our previous Christmas trips to Scotland and Amsterdam: