Cuba

We arrived at the airport near Havana and decided against paying $25 for a taxi into to Havana. We meet a lovely couple at the airport and decided to catch a bus with them. After walking around 500m to the nearby road, jumped on bus P16 and waited for the bus to arrive the town centre. After a while we soon realised that we caugt the correct bus however it was going in the wrong direction. Of course at this point it was started to rain buckets, the kind of rain when you might have well stand in the shower with all your clothes on. We met a very nice Cuban lady to helped us in the right direction and after a while we were going in the right direction to Havana.

Two currencies?

The first thing to get your head around the currency. They have the local pesos and the convrtible pesos. The later is used for the tourists. At the time of wirting this the convertion is always 24 pesos to 1 CUC (convertible pesos) Sometimes the prices are slightly higher in CUCs than in pesos. However most places accept both, so if the price that is quoted is 5pesos, you just convert CUCs by deviding by 24 and then pay in CUC.

Our experience

Before arrived to Cuban we had been told you have not truly been to Cuba unless you have tried a real Cubano sandwish. So, of course we needed to find the best in town. After speaking a local ice cream seller we a pretty sure we found the place.

Sandwichira la bien paga, this place sold the best Cubano sandwiushes for only $1.50. We were sold, we went back to this place pretty much every day. A great addition to the sandwitches was the freshly made, super delicious mango juice for $1. If you are a mango fan, this is the place to go.

 

Take your time. Cuba is not about ticking boxes.

HAVANA

just get lost. It’s a magic, magic place.
– Favourite restaurant: Dona Eutimia.
– Bars: as touristic as it sounds you gotta go to have a few mojito at the bodeguita del medio and as many daiquiri as you can at the Floridita. It’s full of tourists but boy: it’s like going to the theatre. A-m-a-z-i-n-g.

A few tips

  • Don’t buy the puppies in cages
  • Coconut Icecream
  • Hostel rooftop bar
  • Taxi to airport in classic car
  • 3 peso national for mango juice and sandwich 5 peso

VINALES

One of the smallest village I’ve ever been. It’s pretty much 3-4 roads but there are several activities you can do: I recommend the walk through the tobacco fields. Do it with a campesino that will take you places you won’t be able to go alone.
– Favourite restaurant: La Casa Verde. It’s outside Vinales tbh but totally worth going: amazing view over the hills and never ending food

Horse riding for $2.50 usd an hour

* We bought coffee beans aribica

TRINIDAD

Beautiful place possibly the best in Cuba. Just walk through the city and be amaze by the colors and the music.
– Favourite restaurant: El Cubita (Langosta a la Milanesa to die for)
– Before dinner: there is this bar called La Canchanchara where they serve Canchanchara a kind of cocktail made with honey and rum. Delicious.
– Spend the evening on the stairs outside La Casa de la Musica watching Cubans dancing like we will never do even if we practice a thousand year.
– If you feel like late night partying go to the Discoteca Ayala: it is in a cave 30 min walking from la casa de la musica, in the middle of nowhere. Whatever happen there, stays there. Crazy stuff.
– Rent a bike and cycle along the peninsula Ancon till the Ancon beach. The more you go the more the beaches are amazing. There is a closer beach called La Boca but it’s not that good.

CIENFUEGOS

The only city in Cuba with a French vibe. Worth staying 1 night. Go on the balcony of one of the restaurants in the main street and drink the afternoon away people watching.

REMEDIOS

this is the place to be December 24 where they throw the bigger party of the year. Normally is a very quiet small village. Worth going for two reasons:
1 it’s real rural Cuba. You have more horses than cars.
2 there are some unbelievable cayos a hour away by taxi. The taxi will take you over a 40 miles long beautiful road with water on both sides. Bring your passport cause technically it is not on the mainland and there is a border control. Outstanding.

SANTA CLARA

not the most beautiful city at all but you got to go and you know why. Right?

VARADERO

a long stripe of beautiful sand full of rich people? Overpriced. I wouldn’t go there.

MATANZAS

There is an old train that from here goes to Havana. It’s meant to be super scenic but when I went there the line was disrupted (and it does happen very often)

Random tips

  • Book your accommodation only for the first night(s) in Havana. Whenever you get out of the bus you’ll find an army of women offering you to stay in their casa particular. and if you prefer to have something secured the landlord in your casa particular will find you a casa particual in your next destination. In havana you can contact these guys hostalperegrino.com they can set you up in all sort of accommodation in Havana Vieja (the best part)
  • For mid size distances grab a taxi. They are cheap and more reliable than public transports (eg from remedio to Santa clara I paid as much as a cab from holborn to finsbury park!)
  • Long distance buses: buy the ticket one day in advance.
  • Sometimes even in Havana the cash machines are not working: keep some petty cash with you.
  • Beer: apart from a brewery in Havana they have pretty much 2 brands: forget about Crystal and get used to the Bucanero! Proper stuff!
  • Try a glass of Santiago de Cuba 25 anos: ain’t cheap even in Cuba but OMFG it was nectar.

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