We started our trip in South America and it was definitely something!! But after 3 awesome months we headed north to the Caribbean area.
Cancun, beautiful beaches in Mexico
Our first Caribbean stop was in Cancun for a week. As it was one of Karol’s longtime dreams, we decided to book an all-inclusive hotel to get the best of our Cancun experience. Our hotel was really luxurious and right in front of a beautiful white sand sandy beach that made the city famous.
There we met a very good Swiss friend that would follow our journey with us till Miami. We were all set to spend a dreamy week full of delicious food and cocktails near the pool, and gosh … we enjoyed it (we make our money worth it)! We mostly stayed inside the hotel and at the beach, but we took one day out to go to Isla Mujeres nearby. We took a local bus and a ferry to get there, which is much cheaper than any tours offered in the hotels. There we rented an electric car to discover the Island and it was quite fun. We visited a place for rescued sea animals (saw some dolphins) and spent some time at a beach that would make anyone jealous! The Island is quite small, so you do the whole tour in a couple of hours. We turned down the famous pictures kissing dolphins for several reasons…
La Havana, Cuba
Cuba is an amazing destination as it is so different from everything else. It is such an exotic but in its own way beautiful country, we loved it! If you are flying from the US, you can only get there through Miami and you’ll have to pay extra 100$ per person for a tourist card plus you may also pay around 25$ for each piece of luggage. Be prepared to spend some cash, Cuba is not cheap for tourists!
Once we arrived by night in La Havana and after waiting for a long time in the only belt they had for our luggage at Havana airport, we took a taxi to our “casa” and we were quite impressed on the way as everything looked so poor which make us feel unsafe. However we quickly understood that there was no criminality there and that we were probably the safest we will ever be in this trip. This is probably the best thing about Cuba, the locals are so nice and with good intentions, it is heartwarming (except maybe for some taxi drivers).
The second best thing about Cuba is probably its culture and history. It was our first time in a communist country and it was quite interesting and surprising. To get to know the city better, we rented an old car car with a driver and had a little tour around:
Of course we were careful with what we can do and what we can’t do as foreigners, but we tried to discover Cuban lifestyle from the inside. You need to know that there are actually 2 currencies in Cuba, one for locals and one for tourists, which leads to 2 economies (one really cheap for Cubans, and one as expensive as in the US for tourists) and therefore 2 lifestyles. The more “Cuban” you go, the more you’ll discover the culture and enjoy your trip. We met a Cuban doctor by the beach that took us for a little “true Cuba” tour in exchange of a coffee and a cigar!
The third best thing is probably the amazing beaches. Varadero is probably the most famous one, but you can enjoy some really beautiful beaches near the capital city. We went to Santa Maria del Mar which was beautiful but very crowded as well. We enjoyed it a lot with the fourth and fifth best things of Cuba, tabaco (cigar) and a Cuba Libre.
We stayed only 5 days in Cuba, in a nice Casa Particular (Casa El Mirador, San Rafael 752). 5 days was quite short to go around Cuba, so we mainly visited Havana and Vinales, where tobaccos are made… we wish we had visited more, but better for our bank account as things can get really expensive there. If we could have stayed more, we would have traveled more on the Island as there is a lot more to be seen.
Miami Beach and Orlando Amusement Parks in Florida
To end our Caribbean experience and get ready for the following steps in the US, we spent a couple of days in Florida. We went first to Miami Beach, where we enjoyed the beach front and its many bars and restaurants.
We were there for Memorial Day weekend (everything was so expensive!!) and enjoyed a yacht party leaving from the bay. What we didn’t know is that it would be a fully Hip-Hop party with drugs and twerks in a way we had only seen in videoclips… we were not prepared for it and as we didn’t know the songs or how to dance to that, we did not enjoyed as much and stayed on the corner till it was time for the boat to go back to the port. We will pay more attention to the line up next time! 🙂 Anyways, it was something and at least we could take this amazing picture of Miami skyline at night (picture taken with our phone #nofilter):
After leaving our Swiss friend at the airport we took a bus to Orlando where we stayed for 2 days to enjoy the Universal parks. It was so much fun between all the rides and the different universes. Our favorite one was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, giving the feeling to be in the movies (you can even take a ride in the Hogwarts Express!!!!!). Springfield was also quite cool!
Although it was very expensive we had a really great time there and we have no regrets. After 2 full days at the park we took a 24h very uncomfortable bus from Orlando to Newark, New Jersey (near NYC), expecting to see all the beautiful landscapes on the way (which we failed, most highways in the USA are pretty boring with no views). In Newark we started a new chapter of our trip by volunteering again with kids. Learn more about it in our next article.