1 February 2015

My sister (pedestrian) and I (wheelchairtraveller) made this trip in November 2013. I use an active wheelchair, which you can fold. Also I use a breathing support at night, so I need electricity provision throughout the whole night.

This journey was so amazing and much less stress as I had feared.

This trip made ​​my sister ( pedestrian ) and I ( wheelchair ) in November , 2013 by Cuba. Sitting in a wheelchair for active units that can be folded , need support while sleeping by a respirator and therefore need more power at night . The whole trip was much nicer and less stressful than I feared!

 

Flights to Cuba

Due to the still existing US embargo in 2013 you could not take any flight with stopover or coming from the US. Air Canada offers flights from Europe to Toronto. From France, Air France flies daily to Havana Jose Martin. The flight costs can range from 750 – 1300 Euro(October 2014). For cheaper flights (for example to Santa Clara) please check via www.opodo.com.

Havana – the capital of Cuba

Accommodation in Havana

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Dinning room at David’s

Casa de David y Lidia Dias

In Havana, we recommend the Casa de David y Lidia Diaz. The breakfast buffet is huge and if you demand you can also have a delicious home cooked dinner. David’s second house on the ‘Calle Manrique’ is more appropriate for wheelchairtravellers, as the room has a big bathroom. Even though there are two big stairs at the entrance, the caretaker or another guest always helped us to get in. The location is near the old town, which you can reach with the wheelchair in 15 min. without too much gradients.

Attractions in Havana

One of the sites, namely ‘Havana Vieja’ is not easy to deal with on four wheels, due to the historic cobblestones. If you need to go into ‘Havana Vieja’ it might be easier to approach it via the smooth road along the coast and then choose the shortest path to get to your destination. However, the touistic ‘Calle Obispo’ is a must as the buzz of bars and people is quite extraordinary. Watch out for the potholes!

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Camera Obscura

The ‘Museo de la Revolución’ id inaccessible due to steep steps and no lift at the entrance. But the ‘Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes’ (art museum) has besides a lift (which most of the time is out of service) wide ramps leading up to artworks at all floors. The ‘Castillo de la Real Fuerza Plaza de Armas’ (fort) is accessible. The thick walls are testimony to how fierce the fight was to retain the island. Tip: Some of the security staff, might we very happy to guide you through the exhibition if you give them a view dollars after. Also you have to visit one of the only two “Camera Obscura’ there is in the South Americas. Not situated far from the ‘Plaza Vieja’ is except the two stairs right at the entrance accessible. There is a lift and the staff are very accommodative. Not far from the Plaza Vieja attracts a sight that there are only two in South America: the Camera Obscura on the eighth floor is two steps at the entrance and lift away (the staff at the entrance is very helpful). The “dark chamber” has a kind of telescope and a round mirror, on which the buildings of Havana are projected from outside. The presenter explains in a 10-minute talk how the device functions and points out the main buildings. Then you can make pictures from the old town from the large rooftop terrace.

 

In the evening,everybody meets at the Malecón, the beach promenade of Havana. However, if you expect a beach boulevard like in Cannes, you will be disappointed. Thick and high walls spoil the view onto the surf and only a view bars and restaurants can be found. However, if you still make the effort to roll along the pathway, you will discover Cuban way of life: Street vendors, who sell chilled drinks, chips and peanuts, couples who romantically watch the waves, entire families that have picknicks of the thick walls, young lads, who together with the old generation fish for the evening meal and of course youth with their portable stereos who might perform a breakdance for you.

Viñales

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The view from the Resort Emitia

The village of ‘Viñales’, situated in the southwest of the island is a must The peculiar landscape is characterized by high, hump-like mountains that were once part of a huge cave that collapsed million years ago. Even today you can visit some of the caves- even in a wheelchair. Our guide and taxi driver Leonardo even arranged a ride in a horse cart through the ‘Valley of Silence’, where no cars are allowed.

Accommodation in Vinales

Overlooking the valley, on top of the village is a beautiful resort, called Ermita (heritage). From the pool and the rooms you can enjoy a fantastic view of the mountains of Viñales hump. The hotel owner said that there is one room which is better accessible, but we could not see it at the time of our visit. However, if your wheelchair is foldable and less than 70cm wide, you should not have one problem.

 

It took us the whole day until we found a suitable Casa Particular that we could stay in. However, “El moro” was perfect. It is within walking distance of the city centre. There are two wide steps to get to the back where there is one spacious room. The bathroom is small but has a 70 cm wide door and a drain in the floor. So I could take a shower in the bathroom. The owners Julian and Magadi were so welcoming and helpful that after two days we felt very sad to leave.