Varadero to Havana: Part II – Fusterlandia
Day-Tripping in Fusterlandia.
After a full day of traveling the streets of Havana, I didn’t think there was much left that could surprise me. However, I was about to be pleasantly surprised. I described this “trippy, mural place” to our tour guides, in hopes they knew what I was talking about. Thankfully, they knew I was referring to Fusterlandia, despite my extremely poor description.
Fusterlandia is quite the delightful trip! That is if you can find it. After cruising through the above-ground cemetery and sprawling gated mansions of Havana’s upper-class, we take a sharp right onto some narrow dirt roads. This road is unlike any of the others we’ve been down. Glinting in the sunlight is a large ruby-red heart comprised of broken mosaic tiles. Suddenly, everywhere we look there are vibrant murals and statues all made of tiny tiles and concrete. The colourful artwork spills over nearly every surface of this neighbourhood. And just like that, we are dead center in the middle of Fusterlandia.
The Cuban artist Fuster has completely transformed this small area of Havana into a delightful escape from the reality. What was once a poverty-stricken area is now an immersive work of art and bona fide tourist destination. Fuster’s work is fanciful yet deeply grounded in the reality of Cuban life. When I was younger, Salvador Dali paintings always captivated me. There is something about the surreal and the slightly unsettling that I have always loved about his work! And I feel the same way standing here inside Fusterlandia. There are elements that are whimsical and playful. but there are also strong reminders of what the Cuban people have been through and the difficulties they continue to face.
In the scorching heat, the characters of Fusterlwndia beckon you into their world. Vibrant red, blue, white, and yellow tiles are transformed into a dizzy Dr. Zeus-style theme park. It almost appears to be melting in the sun due to the organic shapes of all the structures.
Beyond the entrance lays a cool inviting pool surrounded by murals. And above that stretch archways, bridges, and patios for you to explore. I’m trying to think of an expression other than “tripping balls” to describe the feeling I get here. But… that seems fitting, so let’s just go with that, shall we!
Tassel Skirt: Vintage find
Pom Pom Purse: Aldo
Moon Necklace: Altar Ego – Save 15% with code thepurist
Sunglasses: truck stop find
Tennis Shoes: Keds
Havana to Varadero in a Bright Green Classic Car
All too soon, our time in this magical place is over. My ankles are hell’a swollen and Dusan is a little sun-burnt. But we are so happy we came here!
We say goodbye to the sunflower-hat woman and the farmer with his dogs. And then trace our steps back past the massive bleeding hearts and melting archways. I’m tempted to hop inside the bubble-gum pink car parked next to the exit. But we need to find the lime-green Ford to take us back home. It will be another 2 hours until we reach Varadero.
I hope you had fun coming along with us on our trip to Havana! I’ll be sharing more Travel Diaries in the future, so stay tuned!
This is part two of our full day in Havana, Cuba. We packed so much into this single day that I had to split it up into two posts. Check out our adventure from Varadero to Havana in Part I here.