Long overdue recap of my trip to the beautiful island of Cuba! This is one of my favorite adventures and I can't wait to share it with you. Before I show you the photos, I want to provide some tips as you possibly plan a trip to Cuba. You can find a ton of blogs that go over in detail but I'll give you some tips that really helped me in planning and while I was on the island.
TIPS & INFORMATION
TRAVELING FROM TO CUBA FROM THE STATES:
ARRIVING TO CUBA
We only took carry-on luggage because we heard the baggage claim area was extremely slow. Our host arranged for a local driver to pick us up from the airport, we walked out and were greeted with a hundred people waiting for people LOL.
El Malecón - Havana
A must - catch the sunset by the Malecón! Once we checked-in, we went right back outside to enjoy the sunset with the locals. View photos below along with the captions.
Photos above: View from our Casa Particular room/deck, Panoramic view from our Casa Particular room/deck, View from our Casa Particular room & View from the front door of Casa Particular. After wandering, there was very little open late at night so we ended up at this Paladar with "interesting" food options LOL. We also had a large spiral staircase to get to our room. View from the 2nd floor during breakfast, we ate outside. Breakfast always started with fresh juice, coffee & fruit then followed by eggs and toast. After, we spent the day exploring: El callejon de Hamel, Museum of the Revolution, the buildings/homes near the malecon, the Capitol building and the the rooftop of Parque Central hotel during sunset. We ordered iced coffee and this is what we got...ice is a luxury there!
We decided to take a day trip to Viñales Valley, mostly know for it's cute town, gateway to mogotes and tobacco fields. View the captions and photos below for more details!
Photos above: Home/land on the side of the road, Cuban Belly Palm Trees, Mural de la prehistoria painted on a mogote by Leovigildo Gonzalez (follower of Mexican artist Diego Rivera) which symbolizes the evolution of life in Cuba, Walked through a cave (so humid) then took a small boat to get to the other side, Visited a tobacco farmer and got to see how cigars are made in the secadero, (Side note: Did you know that tobacco farmers are mandated to sell 90% of their product to the Cuban government for set price and only 10% can be sold to visitors at their own price?). Lastly, we visited The Mirador - a view of the Viñales Valley but a thunderstorm hit right when we got there. It went from sunny to rain in minutes!
Vedado y Havana Viejo
When we planned this trip, we knew we wanted to stay in different neighborhoods so we ended up in Vedado (where the "mobsters" used to live). We saved Old Havana for the last day because it was more of a "tourist trap" and crowded. At least we could say we went to La Bodeguita del Medio, etc. View photos below and detailed captions. Also, view video of our cruise in a classic car HERE.
Photos above: Local taxi to get to our next casa particular, Dinner at La Catedral paladar (Each entree was $5.70!!), View from our second casa particluar in a Vedado mansion, Breakfast made by our second host, Coppelia - famous ice cream spot. It was mediocre but a nice treat to beat the heat & humidity. Basílica Menor y Convento de San Francisco de Asís, La Bodeguita del Medio, Catedral de la Habana and Went for a cruise in a 1957 Chevy Bel Air - check out a video HERE.
Overall, this was an epic few days and I'm so glad I got to see Cuba before all of the hotels/resorts begin to build. Will I go again? Maybe, but to visit other towns.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed this rundown of Cuba!