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I was born in 1981, and I have been travelling through the island with my friends since I was 18. On holidays, whether long or short, I always visit some new spot or return back to a place I liked.
I have other hobbies like reading, music and robotics (oh, wait! I'm sorry, that's not a hobby; it's my job as a Engineering teacher at the Technical University of Havana). No matter how much I enjoy these other hobbies, I never hesitate to pack my backpack and travel with my friends to any place in Cuba that is worth visiting.
We have made many of these tours in a "guerrilla" style - nothing to do with warfare though! In Cuba, we use this word to refer to going camping with friends and walking around natural and rural areas foregoing every luxury or comfort. We usually hitchhike (when we cannot afford the cost of a regular bus line) and carry our tents and supplies for several days (to save on the cost of food). No matter how heavy the baggage might be, this is how we feel freer.
Travelling in this fashion means that we do not follow the usual tourist routes, and go away from the regular tours by bus or with a tour guide. This allows us to make a stop whenever and wherever we want and get in direct contact with the locals; learning from their customs and way of life.
From the Cuchillas of Toa River (the word "Cuchillas" refers to the low-lying hills running along the river delta and they are named after the way their hilltops look, as if sharply cut with a blade) in the easternmost part of the country to the organos Mountain Range in the west, I have been to many good hiking areas. They are very picturesque and are seldom visited by tourist groups. In my blog, I will describe these beautiful landscapes out of the beaten path and away from the main tourist trail; I want to share my experiences with you.
I also want to tell you about my personal views on the things you can enjoy in the packaged tourist tours. They can take you to some spectacular sites in a safer, more comfortable and faster way.
Escambray is my favourite place, so I will probably write more about this part of Cuba, although I also hike through the mountains of Pinar del Rio and some parts of Sierra Maestra mountain range.
My second favourite thing I like to experience during my travels is the open-air festivals of different towns in Cuba. Ever since I first attended the Parrandas of Remedios in 2004, I regularly go to many events like this in different towns and cities around the country. The Romerias in Holguin, the Parrandas in Chambas and Remedios, the Charangas in Bejucal and Quivican and the carnivals in Santiago de Cuba are crowd-pleasing festivals. They are true examples of the talent and character of each city's residents and of Cubans' lively flair and fun-loving attitude in general.
By writing this blog, I'm making a dream of my "guerrilla" gang come true: unveiling all this hidden beauty. Therefore, I will include photos, maps, guides, tips and all the necessary information for you to plan your next holidays hiking in Cuba. It would be great to meet you in one of these adventures, hiking up and down a nature route of the Island.