Viva La Cuba!
Old cars, fine arts, music and dancing! It was like a blast from the past the moment I stepped on the streets of Cuba. It was an experience like no other that can only be described as walking onto a famous movie scene. The only difference was, this was real life!
The four-decade-long ban on all US imports kept Cuba stuck in time and it was apparent from every direction. Old-school American cars ranging from Buicks, Ford, Oldsmobile, Plymouths, brightly colored and lavishing had me rolling back in time to Revolutionary Square. It was a ride of my life through the city day and night.
Architecture and fine arts unlike any other place on earth lined the streets and walls of every building. Every dining experience, dancing experience, overnight experience had it’s very own personal touch. The most fascinating part about this part was the fact that everything they used was repurposed whether it was for fashion, dining, art, they found some way to take old items and turn them into something meaningful and memorable.
Unlike the fast-paced lifestyle I’m used to here in the US, it was nice having a digital detox. Instead of seeing the usual children playing games on their phone, Cuban children filled the streets playing baseball and coconut soccer. Even though it was most likely because they couldn’t afford soccer balls, it was evident they didn’t feel a bit impoverished, instead they were gleaming with joy.
Another highlight of my trip was driving 2 hours outside of Havana to visit a popular town called Viñales. It’s known for beautiful green scenery, limestone rolling hills, tobacco farms and the tradition of rolling Cuban cigars. For a moment, I didn’t think it could get any better until the Native Cubans enchanted us with their traditional warrior dance.
Overall, you can’t get a better experience than Cuba if you want to experience a slow-paced, culture lively with Cuban pride and celebration. It’ll be a time of your life that you’ll never forget and never regret.
Viva La Cuba!
e/ Bernaza y El Cristo, 457 A bajos Teniente Rey, La Habana, Cuba
(3.5 blocks west of the capitol building)
This tiny restaurant/bar has the best political art in all of Havana.
Obispo No.557 esq. a Monserrate, Habana Vieja, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
The bar “patron” at center, below the wall-mounted photo, is a life-sized bronze statue of Ernest Hemingway
Best daiquiris in town! This was Hemingway’s favorite bar in Havana. It also is a classic restaurant.
418 Concordia, La Habana, Cuba
(just off corner of Neptuno and Concordia)
This place is an upscale restaurant with a modern rooftop bar. This is my favorite restaurant in Havana. The adventure- finding the restaurant and not thinking you are in an abandoned building.
Bodeguita del medio
Empedrado, La Habana, Cuba
Another Heminway bar, this place is an original bodeuita.
“My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita” -Ernest Hemingway
Cuban Art Factory- Fabrica de Arte Cubano
Calle 26, La Habana, Cuba
Half art gallery, other half dance club- this place is too much fun. If you want happening nightlife in Havana, go and check this place out.
cnr Calle 226 & Av 3
A Cuban artist reclaimed his impoverished neighborhood as a dreamy mosaic kingdom. It’s a bit in the suburbs, yet an interesting spot.
Museum of the Revolution
Avenida Bélgica, La Habana, Cuba
Originally designed to house the Provincial Government of Havana, but it was finished in 1920 to be the Presidential Palace. This place will give you a full modern history of the Cuban Revolution from the eyes of the country.
Located at the Ferry Terminal, this open-air market is a not miss! From art to leather goods and cigars, it is a one stop shop for everything you could want.
Cubans take their salsa dancing seriously. Any given day of the week, you can go salsa dancing with some of the best dancers in the world. Know what you are doing before you get up on the dance floor of these local spots.
Take some time to wander the streets of Havana and talk to locals. They are so friendly and want to talk to you about life.