Updated: Feb 10, 2021
It was a short trip but I got to see what I always dreamt of when I was thinking of Havana. My four days gateway included the must-sees of Rome of Latin America.
It is a beautiful city, one major thing that makes it unique is the spirit of the ♥️Cubans♥️.
Despite their living conditions that are really tough, the warmth that I felt from the beautiful Cubans was unprecedented. The Cubans are so friendly, honest and welcoming!
I landed in the afternoon in Havana, the passport checkup at the airport was fairly quick. Then head to my Airbnb by taxi ($30) for about 35 minutes. After unpacking, I went for my 5 hours tour (a tour booked in advance via Airbnb $90) that included a ride in a classic car and historical walking tour in the must-sees of the city with a Tour guide. It started raining as soon as I left the Airbnb so the schedule was slightly changed but it did cover all that was described in the Airbnb tour experience which included:
Plaza Vieja (Old Square)
Gran Teatro de la Habana
Casa Del Arabe
Plaza del Catedral
A ride around Havana in a classic open purple car that included the fifth avenue, the Malecon, the forest and the old town of Havana.
A drink in the rooftop of Hotel Raquel, it has an outstanding view over the old town.
Then a dinner at Paladar Cuban restaurant.
The first glance of Havana was the glory of the past that was visible everywhere in the architecture of its buildings. Especially in the old town! It is a protected UNESCO world heritage since 1982. It was noticeable that many refurbishment works were taking place to maintain the beauty of this heritage.
One of the most exquisite experiences was the sight of pre-1960 classic cars cruising the streets. I was fortunate to have many rides in these jewels, take pictures of plenty of them, parked or cruising; the whole experience was like an outdoor museum of classic colorful cars.
The second day, I went walking to the old Havana again. This time I wanted to have a close eye of this neighborhood. On my way, I stepped in the Casa Del Arabe to see what it contained. It's a museum of furniture from many Arab countries including Morocco. After that, I continued my way to La Bedeguita del Medio – Hemmingway’s favorite spot and home of the Mojito. I stopped at some stores to buy local souvenirs and cigars as gifts for friends.
I stopped for a quick lunch in a restaurant in the square. Then head back to Airbnb for some rest before I make my way out for supper at Costa Vino. It's a very good restaurant facing the Malecon, the seafood was fresh and so tasty, the service was top notch and all the staff paid attention to detail with their smiley faces.
From supper, I walked to a hidden art gem called Cuban Art Factory. It has many exhibits arts, jewelry, coffee bars. I toured all levels up and downs and I was done by 9 pm before the crowd started getting into it as the night club starts at 9 pm. Make sure you don't miss it and here is the link: http://www.fac.cu/expositions/when/this-year.html
On the third day, after breakfast in Airbnb, I head to the Santa Maria beach by a taxi that cost $20 for each way. I spent the day there, the water was clean and had a good temperature and I had lunch at the restaurant that was not far.
Back to my Airbnb around 4 pm to get ready for my last dinner in Havana.
This time it was at Peladar La Cubana, it's opposite to the Hotel Raquel. It has a lot of seating outdoor, nice fresh and tasty food and beautiful entertainment.
Wrapping up the day by another walk in the old town and back to my Airbnb to pack and get ready for my return home.
I know that you’ll find a lot of articles of must sees&dos but I'm gonna take this opportunity to write about a different selection and this is a kind request 🙏to anybody who’s going there soon. If possible, please consider taking something to help these kind people.
I’ll highlight bellow a selection of needs and necessities but it’s not limited, if you think of something else, it’d be always appreciated : - Advil, Tylenol, bandage, vitamin C - Tubes of toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorants, hand sanitizers, soap bars, soap liquids, wipes, cotton pads. - Sunscreens, moisturizers, face lotions, pads, - Cologne, cosmetics, clothes, cotton pads.
For kids: - Candies, chocolates, kids toothbrushes, toys, crayons, clothes.
Every day, mix some of the stuff listed above in your backpack, it’ll be empty sooner than you think!
Overall, give tips and money. Wherever you’ll go, you’ll meet people who really need it.
This airbnb where I stayed is called Casa Blanca, like the city where I'm from Casablanca :). It was in Travel & Leisure site among the best 20 lodging in the Caribbean. It has a great location facing the Malecon and a short walk to downtown area.
I saved it in my listing since then https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/vacation-rentals/best-airbnbs-in-the-caribbean.
The place has, I think, 2 bedrooms and 1 suite. So always check, if one is booked, he might have others available. Something for sure, he's often one month overbooked. All the staff members are very nice, friendly and smiling all the time. I loved all of them. Please tip generously to these kind people
During my stay, I had no issues with food. In all places that are stated above where I eat, the food was fresh, tasty and clean. Same thing for fresh juices and raw vegetables. There was nothing to be afraid of.
Enjoy your travels!!