ALL IPHONE SNAPS | HAVANA CUBA
Ahhh finally, the long overdue Havana diary! First and most importantly- GO, and go as soon as you can. No words can describe this place!
Amazing country, incredible people, and by far one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been to. It was a special trip, for more reasons than one . . .
Rarely does my job allow me to completely disconnect, but in an attempt to end 2016 with a work free trip, I made plans to be completely off-the-grid. Four days with an iPhone-only rule to snap quick pics and check in with family.
Peeling paint, beautiful Spanish architecture, romantic old cars to ride around in- we spent our days wandering the streets, feeling welcomed by locals and inspired by the culture.
I was lucky to have someone special to roam with! It was the perfect for a getaway with this guy . . . such a romantic city!
Okay! So here it is! Everything you need to know…
Buy Cuba Travel Visa. You have to have this — http://www.cubatravelservices.com/ – I paid $50. I selected “Educational: People to People” and had no problem. I flew Southwest and, picked up my travel visa at the gate before departing. This was instructions per Southwest so could vary depending on airline, however you will need a travel visa.
Get all of the cash you will spend on the trip out prior to leaving US. Convert it to CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos). This was the biggest mistake I made. I assumed I would be able to convert currency in Cuba, however at the time we were there they would not accept ANY US cards. I would budget 80 – 100 CUC per day, 150-250 CUC on the high end.
There is no free Wifi in Cuba. Internet access is still restricted and controlled by the government. You have to have access wifi cards (1-5 hours of access per card) and then find a hotel that has wifi. Wifi cards were $5 CUC for one hour. We found these (plus currency exchange and souvenirs) at Almacenes San José Artisans’ Market. The card you have will have an access code and password on the back of it.
Download “Cuba” & maps.Me (then download map of Havana). If you’re traveling more than 20-30 minutes outside of Havana, go to the Viazule Bus Station to get a cab. There are numerous cabs outside of the bus station. We made the mistake of having a hotel call a cab to go to Veradero. Paid 150 CUC one way.. Should have been no more than 30 CUC
Where to stay?!
We stayed in Airbnb, Alameda Suite. We booked for less than $200/night, nice modern apartment, clean, good area. If you do Airbnb, ask if they will pick you up at Airport. Airbnb was a true Cuban experience, but I would probably recommend a hotel if you don’t mind spending a bit more…peace of mind, wifi, amenities, etc =)
FYI -Airport – Southwest is in Terminal 2. American in Terminal 1
Where to eat?!
· La Gardillia – In Habana Vieja, go for drinks and app at 5pm if you can get one of the 2 small tables on porch, amazing view!
· Doña Eutimia – a cozy paladar located down a blind alley in Habana Vieja. Make reservation. Try its twist on ropa vieja, made with stewed lamb. YUM!
· La Bodeguita Del Medio – Habana Vieja
· El Cocinero – restaurant, cool bar next door
· La Guaridia – really cool rooftop bar, go at sunset, make reservation for dinner
Where to drink?!
· El Floridita Bar – one of my favorite spots! Hemingway’s Bar
· Iberostar Parque Central – nice hotel with rooftop pool
· Siá Kará – really cool bar
Needless to say I was totally charmed, and can not wait to find my way back to this city! Let me know if you have any experience with travel in Cuba . . . I would love some tips for the next trip! XX M