Cuba is an amazing country and we definitely didn’t have enough time to do it all. These were a few of our favorite things! If you want more tips on Cuba go here.
The Classic Car Ride
You literally cannot leave Cuba WITHOUT taking a classic car ride. If you read my 22 Tips on Cuba, you’ll know to go early in the morning especially during summer!!! If you go to Parque Central you can have your pick of amazing classic cars. We chose a hot pink one of course!
Dress available here
Morre Castle and Cristo de La Habana
Now that you are in a classic car have the driver take you through the tunnel and catch the breath taking views of Morre Castle and Cristo de La Habana. We had seen the statue from across the bay during our walk on the Malecon, but had no idea how to get there. Well our driver being the good sales person he is told us he could add 30 minutes to our tour and take us there. It was an immediate yes! He also said there were some really nice restaurants around this area but we didn’t get to try any of them since it was our last day.
Dress available here
Day Trip to Playa del Estes
We went in July to Cuba and it was HOT! So the best decision was to go to a nearby beach during the day time. The water was perfect and the mix of locals and tourists created a lovely vibe. Honestly most of the time I couldn’t tell who was a local and who was a tourist. This made the experience even more perfect from the usual big resorts in the Caribbean. Bonus, you’ll find groups who bring these giant speakers and play music on the beach.
Bikini from here
Roaming the Streets of Havana Vieja
Can there be a more picturesque area than Havana Vieja? Though we saw how the infrastructure was crumbling the brightly painted buildings and classic architecture truly made Havana Vieja different than any other place we have been. There was literally a pink building in every corner. And the many plazas and parques serve was wonderful gathering places for tourists, families, and children alike.
Dress available here.
Fabrica De Arte
This place was a true treat and a testament to Cuba’s vibrant art scene. Filled with live music, cool screenings, and the BIGGEST mojitos ever! Definitely a must do for Havana nightlife. It’s only open on weekends so make sure to stop by on a Saturday or Sunday night. Sadly we didn’t get any other nights out because we all got a bit sick from the food.
Walking Along the Malecón
Our first day in Havana we just wandered about getting our bearings and soaking in the culture. We happened upon the Malecón and walked along it as we watched the sun slowly dip. Again locals mixed with tourists to experience this magic. There were children running around and lots of fisherman. As night descended groups chilled along the barrier and across the street impromptu restaurants set up. We saw a whole roasting pig, but unfortunately never got to go back and sample it.
Eating at La Guarida
This was one of the few paladars (private restaurants) we had time to research before we went to Cuba and the food did not disappoint! Located in a semi dilapidated cave like building with rather impressive architecture. There are 2 floors of restaurant and a roof top bar. We managed to get a table without a reservation, but we were seated in the lower level without any views. If you can book in advance I suggest you book a table upstairs which has amazing views over Havana. We sampled multiple dishes, but our favorite was definitely the Oxtail. The drinks were also spectacular and don’t miss dessert. Especially the tres leches chocolate cake.
The Roof Top Bar at La Guarida
If you are not having dinner at La Guarida, the roof top bar is still not to be missed. Sunset here is must. And bonus just when you think you’ve reached the top, there is a SECOND level roof top. Since there’s no actual bar up there, you can enjoy the views all to yourself.
Red lace top here.
Drinking as Many Mojitos as Possible
Havana is the birth place of the Mojito and we were obliged to indulge in as many as possible. We even checked out the bar claiming to have invented the minty lime drink, Bodeguita del Medio. The mojito here was excellent but it does get quite crowded. I would check out the bar up and across the street as well which has happy hour prices, 1.5 CUC per mojito.
Day Trip to Viñales
We only had 5 days in Cuba, which includes travel time (and I lost a day from eating one bite of lettuce), so there was not much time for visiting other places besides Havana. The closest place to explore was Viñales and we opted for a day tour, because again we were flying by the seat of our pants. We didn’t book a tour in advance but managed to secure a spot through out Airbnb (our casa particular).
The mountains the fresh air and watching Cuban cigars being made right in front of us was definitely a highlight of our trip. We even bought cigars straight from tobacco growers. You can also buy branded ones here and do a horseback ride, but unfortunately these activities were cancelled as a torrential rain storm hit us.
It was raining buckets when we arrived at Viñales Mural de la Prehistoria, which is a huge mural on the side of a mountain that took 5 years to paint. We were troopers though and braved the rain for one picture.
Red skirt set here
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Staying at a Casa Particular
Definitely recommend staying in a Casa Particular, which is like a home stay or a hostel. They are so affordable and so cute. I was a bit hesitant because I didn’t want to be stuck in a hole from hell for 5 days, you know how I love my luxuries. We booked ours through Airbnb for only $50 USD a night and it was perfect! Great air conditioning, plumbing worked perfectly, and so did the hot water. All things I was scared of! It really helped that they sold water and had breakfast too at reasonable prices and fast service. Some of our friends went out to eat during our last morning and couldn’t do anything else because the service was so slow. But the service at our Casa was always very prompt!