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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

10 MUST DO'S WHEN VISITING HAVANA, CUBA

Here are just a few tips of mine when visiting Havana, Cuba: Enjoy!

1.   Get lost!

Havana is the perfect place to explore and discover because of the grid landscape layout, it’s quite easy to find your way by walking towards the direction of a landmark. I did a lot of walking in the city and that is how we found number 8. I would suggest not planning all of your days and make sure you do wonder around because Havana is stunning. It has a time stood still-esque feel and who knows what you will find! As much as I’m an advocate for getting lost it would still be wise to do the next step in case you get really lost, you can always find your way back to your accommodation.

2.     Download an offline map.

It is advised to download an offline map due to the lack of Internet in Cuba. Again, this comes in handy when you really are lost! I used the mobile app MAPS.ME (It is best to download this before your trip).

3.    Pack snacks & seasoning.

Don’t be a Yasmin and completely miss the memo on Cuban food. I think this was the biggest shocker for me.  Like many Caribbean dishes, the Cubans eat meat, mixed grills, vegetables, rice and peas etc. However there is a real lack of seasoning in their food. Even basic salt and pepper, you will be lucky! Anyway the moral of the story is to pack plenty of snacks, and if you are anything like my family, pack some seasoning/hot sauce too.

4.    The Classic Car Ride Tour

The Classic Car Ride Tour is a must do! The reason behind Cuba’s vintage cars is due to the trade restrictions that were imposed after the revolution. What I noticed during my time in Havana was that most of the taxi drivers were instant ambassadors for their country, super friendly and knowledgeable about their city. This let me know that the Cuban people know and understand the importance and influence that tourism brings to their economy. Everyone was on form, how it should be. I’ve left the details below of the driver I used, Mr. Yuri Garcia. He was great, spoke English as he explained all of the landmarks we visited such as the El Morro, The Military Academy to the ‘Christo de la Habana'.



5.     Exchange the CORRECT currency.

Cuba have two currencies, Cuban Peso (CUP) is the local currency used amongst citizens and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) is the currency tourists’ use. You will need CUC. An easy way to differentiate the two is the CUC DO NOT have faces on them unlike the CUP.

6.   Visit the Museum of Revolution.

Regardless if you are into history or not, I think The Museum of Revolution is a must see. As they display the history and revolution of Cuba in such detail in the most beautiful building. The entry for the museum cost 8 CUC.


7.     Learn basic Spanish phrases

Cuban people are generally very friendly, some speak English, many only speak the national language that is Spanish. If you can download an offline translator that would be great if you do not speak Spanish. It's always great to make the effort even with just a few phrases. I find it makes the interaction and conversation worthwhile. I used the app Duolingo to learn basic Spanish.

8.     Visit El Shamuskia’o

My sister and I found this little restaurant by chance, by doing the first thing that I mentioned to do. (1. Get lost!) El Shamuskia'o Offers two menus with the option of vegan food, live music and not to forget the best happy hour sessions I have ever attended! The cocktails were tasty and were at a good price! Be sure to visit this cosy spot hidden within Old Havana, you will not be disappointed.

Strawberry Daiquiri and nibbles at El Shamuskia'o

9.     Visit FAC - Fabrica de Arte Cubano

FAC is an art and culture venue displaying multiple exhibitions, boutiques and events. There were a number of activities taking place the night I went with my sister. From a dance off in the central building to a interactive set exhibition upstairs and a club night in one of the multiple interiors. The venue also branches out with a container styled restaurant. It’s a great vibe and worth visiting if you are into art and music.

10. Explore Old Havana

Be sure to visit this Old Havana, especially if you are into colonial architecture. In Habana Vieja there are markets, Cigar factories, art galleries, old churches and more. Plenty of companies organise group tours exploring Old Havana. 

Check out some more blog posts about Havana, Cuba:

http://girlunfurled.com/2017/03/02/tried-tested-cuba-itinerary/
https://roadtoculturedom.com/2017/12/30/cuba-15/
-http://www.traveltoofar.com/blog/2018/2/2/8-days-in-havana



All photos are by Yasmin Metz-Johnson or her sister.



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2 comments

  1. I want to visit cuba! Mostly because of the cars and pretty buildings lol!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This seriously looks so amazing!

    Briana
    https://beyoutifulbrunette.com/

    ReplyDelete

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