Oops. There's a highway bridge closed. Ask a friendly local for directions. Backtrack and find the unmarked detour route.
Follow the twists and turns of the jungle road. See the backbone of Cuba, the Sierra Maestra Mountains, marking the center of the islands to your right. Watch for glimpses of the Caribbean Sea on the left.
Take note of the entrepreneurs selling cheese along the side of the road. Here and there, a hopeful Cuban holding a hunk of homemade cheese on a piece of wood, standing on the side of a not-that-busy jungle track. Imagine what they would say if they could see the cheese selection at the average first-world grocery store.
Loop back to the main highway and zoom on. Two hours into the trip, descend a smooth hill into the cultured city of Matanzas. Roll out to the Hicacos Peninsula where the resort town of Varaderos sits, poised just above the waters of the Caribbean.
Park the car, grab the cooler, and climb over the ridge of dunes to find this.
After the sun has set, slip back into the car. And still wearing a soggy swimsuit under sandy clothes, reverse the trip. Drive all the way back home in another wild torrent, knowing that this is a day you will never, ever forget.
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Check out more stories about my once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cuba and my wonderful friends who lived there: