Havana on my mind! By our Cuba expert Amanda
I love to travel and have travelled fairly extensively throughout The Caribbean. I felt inspired to write a little about it.
If Cuba is on your bucket-list, then do it; you won’t regret it!
I worked as a tour leader taking groups to Cuba for ten years when I decided to move from London to Havana. My aim was to concentrate on studying the language and culture, when the enquiries from people wanting help and advice came in whilst they holidayed in this truly unique country. I have been a paid contributor for Trip Advisor, I ran a ‘casa particular’ (Private B&B), tailor made itineraries and then in 2018, I started to work for a Travel Company, based in Havana putting together bespoke holidays for the discerning traveller, using my knowledge of the country I had fallen in love with.
Whilst it is difficult to even think about planning foreign travel at the moment with Covid-19 in the picture, we will someday soon be able to travel, so start planning NOW. The testament of how a country has dealt with this pandemic is proven by their results. We have to congratulate Cuba for its efforts and its success so far, as the country is beginning to open up again, boasting comparatively few mortalities. There are calls for the Cuban Doctors to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to assist health globally, including their work in more than 25 countries to control Coronavirus.
All approximate prices mentioned are in USD as it is easier to convert into whichever currency you are using, but remember that Cuba is in the process of changing their usable currency from Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) to Cuban Pesos (CUP), unsure when this will happen exactly, but you will be given the usable currency when you change your currency when you arrive, either at the bank, money change (Cadeca) or hotel.
Havana, the inside track
No trip to Cuba is complete without spending time in the fascinating capital city of Havana. There are lots of things to do from beach visits, classic car rides, day trips to the tobacco growing region of the Island, historical tours, architecture tours, dancing and music lessons and the list goes on! There is certainly no reason to be bored! There are fantastic museums, from art, dance, cars, cigars, rum and then of course there are the restaurants (more on that later).
I suggest doing an open top bus tour! If you can, do it on your first evening or day of arrival. It is a great way to orientate your-self around the City. It costs around $10.00 USD and you can jump on and jump off, but remember it does not run when it is dark, so don’t get stranded with no-way to get back to base, unless of course you want to?
You could also take a Classic car, but that is considerably more expensive and at the cost of around $30-$35 USD per hour, you might want to do that another day, when you are not so tired?
I would definitely recommend a City Walking Tour with a guide who speaks your language. English, French, German, Italian are all available & some Russian Guides too. They are well worth it and I would recommend a private guide. It’s not much fun when you are with a large group and you have people being slow or asking questions that you know the answer to.
Museums are an absolute must! There are so many of them: just decide what interests you and make a plan. They range from History of the Revolution, dance, art (both International and Cuban), rum, cigars, Decorative Arts (furniture & jewellery), Hemingway or if you are interested there is even an excursion to visit a classic car restoration garage, but really the cars you will see in Havana are museum enough!
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba does a great morning tour that starts at 10.00am Monday to Friday. It is a national monument and the iconic landmark building that has plenty of history. It’s well worth it and costs around $5.00 USD. Most of the Museums are closed on Mondays, so bare that in mind when planning and they can cost between $5 and $10 USD.
Restaurants are good places to go and hang out and also soak up some of the architecture, culture as well as sampling the famous cocktails and filling your stomach. I’d always recommend a trip to the famous Floridita, not to eat but for a daiquiri and to soak up the music. It was a famous haunt of Ernest Hemingway, whose famous novel ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, won him both a Pulitzer Prize and a Nobel Prize for literature.
We regularly post new tips and information about this captivating and intoxicating destination. Also you can see Amanda’s apartment rental in this link. If you would like to stay in this authentic and stylish Cuban Casa Particular (homestay or B&B), or a similar one, ask your Travel Designer to include it in your tailor made holiday to Cuba.
More Holiday Destinations
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- Costa Rica
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- New Zealand
- US Southern States
- Argentina & Uruguay
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- Western USA
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