Travels

Cuba Tips!

I had a wonderful whirlwind trip through Havana with Alex last Thursday – Sunday. While the borders are open to Americans, I was still nervous about going through immigration, and had a difficult time gathering information about what to expect, what to do, and what documents we needed in order to travel. Sooooo, I wanted to share my learnings and some of my favorite things we did there!
~Cuba Tips~
My favorite thing to do was just walk through the streets and people watch. Everyone lives in the streets – there’s no internet and the weather is perfect, so there’s a lot of hustle and bustle and activity. You never know what you’ll stumble upon. 🙂
Here’s a few highlights though!
Going out at night:
– Fabrica del Arte
– Cabaret show at the Tropicana
Touristy things:
– Ride in a pink convertible classic car (everywhere in the old town), the driver will tour you around to the Plaza of the Revolution, John Lennon Park, and other sites that are out of walking distance
– The Revolution Museum
– Walk to all of the four plazas
– Walk along the Malecon (sea wall surrounding Havana)
– Walk through China Town
Places to drink:
– 303 O’Reilly – rooftop bar
– Hotel Nacional (open 24 hours) <– best mojitos
Places to eat:
– Fabrica del Arte rooftop restaurant (need to call ahead for a reservation)
– Breakfast near our AirBnb, I’m not sure the name but it’s near 101 Calzada, Entre L y M
**In general the food was not spectacular (honestly), so go with whatever looks good! 🙂 The menu generally has grilled fish, chicken, and pork, with sides of fried potatoes. None of it is bad, just can be a bit over cooked.
Places to stay:
– We stayed in the Vedado neighborhood, in an AirBnb with a view overlooking the ocean. It was gorgeous, but it was a little far to walk to the old town. If you want an authentic Cuban neighborhood experience, I would recommend this neighborhood. However, if you want to save some money on taxis and be more in the center of the tourist activities, I would recommend the ‘Old Town’ of Havana.
Places to change money:
– Hotels i.e. Hotel Nacional (Bring Euros instead of US Dollars)
**Try to get small change if possible, many people claim they don’t have change.
**Always ask cab drivers for a lower price than the one they first give you, but generally you’ll pay 5-10 CUC for rides around town, and 25 each way to/from the airport.
Things we didn’t do but that I’d like to next time:
– Casa de la Musica (Live music & Salsa dancing)
– Santa Maria Beach (30 min outside of Havana)
– El Morro (take a boat across the Havana harbor to the fort)
– Cuban Art Museum
– Art street
– Tobacco Factory Tour
Things to take care of before you travel:
– get a Visa (purchased through Southwest.com, and also available at the airport, but was nice to take care of beforehand for peace of mind)
– get health insurance that is valid in Cuba (covered by our roundtrip Southwest ticket)
– say you’re there for People to People/Educational purposes (we didn’t have to show any proof of this, but were asked verbally when getting our Visa at the airport – I had an itinerary just in case)
– download maps since you won’t have internet while your’e there, we used the app GuidePal
– get Euros
Hope this is helpful/useful and happy traveling!

 

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