This Cuba vlog is long overdue — we went in May and I’m just now getting around to publishing the video; I hope the information below is helpful!
I’m not going to necessarily list everything consecutively, day-by-day, instead I’m just going to tell you what we did in general and I’ll also list some helpful tips for traveling to Cuba and while you’re there.
Sites to see
1. Plaza De La Cathedral
It’s one of the five main squares in Old Havana. Here you’ll fine the Cathedral of Havana, which is a beautiful church. The square is perfect for photos and theres even a nearby street with a lot of cute restaurants.
2. Plaza Vieja
This is another one of the squares in Old Havana. The day we went here it was raining like crazy so we ended up eating at a bunch of different restaurants. I must say, the food in Havana wasn’t that great. Personally, the Cuban food in Miami is so much better.
3. Paseo Del Prado
This was walking distance from our AirBNB so we went there a few times. It’s home to a lot of street art, fancy hotels, the Capitol building (which is modeled after the U.S. Capitol building), and a number of vintage cars that you can take on tours. It’s also walking distance to Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar, Floridita.
4. Santa Maria beach
We wanted to go to the famous Varadero beach, but it was four hours from where we were. Instead, we had our driver take us to Santa Maria beach, which is approximately 12 miles from Havana.
5. El Malecon
This boardwalk right along the highway turns into a party at night. We went here on our last night and it was so much fun. There was a guy with a speaker in his truck blasting music, people making and selling food, and the folks were just dancing in the street.
Places to eat
1. La Guarida
We went early so we were able to get a seat, but it usually requires reservations. The views of the city are breathtaking and the food was pretty good, too.
2. Hotel Nacional
The restaurant had a live opera during dinner. I felt like I was in a 1940s film. This was the fanciest place we ate for dinner, but like I said, the food in Cuba is so-so.
The best food we had in Cuba was here. It’s like a European style cafe, the owner was nice enough to come and chat with us, too. Also, this was the only place that had toilet paper.
1. Make sure you convert enough money, they don’t take any credit or debit cards there. Also, if you’re traveling from the United States, I recommend that you get Euros or Canadian dollars to exchange, you’ll get a better rate with those currencies instead of the American dollar.
2. Go to a proper money exchange place rather than the airport since they charge a fee.
3. There are two kinds of currency in Cuba: moneda nacional, which is the currency for the locals; and the convertible peso, also known as the CUC, which is the tourist one.
4. Check your receipts closely — a lot of places will automatically charge a tip.
5. The classic cars are more expensive than the regular cars, but you can take one around the city for a tour, which will cost you around 20 -30 CUC’s.
6. Taking a rickshaw is cheaper and more convenient. Most trips around Havana Vieja should only cost $4-$7 CUC’s. You can also look into taking a coco taxi — it’s sort of a auto rickshaw-type taxi vehicle in Cuba.
7. Walk with toilet paper. None of the public bathrooms had it and if you needed some you had to tip the attendant to get some.
8. It’s also not recommended that you buy cigars off of the street. Many people will try to sell them as brand name Cubans, but they are not. We got ours from our AirBNB host. The same goes for souvenirs and cigar accessories. The nicer and better quality ones are in the cigar shops and hotels.
9. Know a little bit of Spanish or download an offline Spanish translator to your phone. I speak Spanish pretty well so it was easy for us to get around.
Thanks for reading and watching. I hope this was helpful! Until our next vacation vlog, which will probably be our honeymoon — ¡adiós!