Welcome back! Today I am going to discuss all the must-see things to do! Some are touristy, some aren’t! If you missed my last Cuba post about my over all experience, then you can read it here!
The first full day we hired a personal tour through Havanatur. They are an absolutely fabulous tour agency, and I 100% recommend having a private tour for one of the days in the beginning, because without the tour, my parents and I would not have known what to do on our own! Like I said, it is best to do this in the beginning so on the rest of the trip, you can wander on your own to the places they recommend. Also, I highly recommend a private tour and not a group tour, because on the private tour they show up to your Airbnb or hotel and have a closed air conditioned car with a tour guide and a driver. So basically, your driver drives you around while your tour guide talks to you about Havana and its past, and then you will go out and walk around with your tour guide while the driver parks the car. Group tours were in big buses that did not look very nice to be honest, plus on a private tour you get all the attention and you really develop a connection with the tour guide.
I will leave all the information for our tour guides and their agency in a later blog post. Now, let’s talk about places you must visit in Havana!
Floridita is an iconic bar that specializes in Daiquiris. Floridita by far had the best ones! Ernest Hemingway would come to this bar all the time. It is honestly the place to be during the day, especially when you want to escape the heat!
When you walk in you can expect a large crowd, especially around the bar trying to order daiquiris and snag a seat at a table! Everyone is listening to the authentic cuban music that is set up right when you walk in. People are sitting around smoking cigars, enjoying the ambiance and are relaxed, it is truly an experience like no other. You enter this room and you feel like you are on a movie set!
Also, Floridita is in the hub of downtown Havana where all the action is, so I recommend starting there and walking all around the area and down the side streets. It is near the Capital building as well! So if you want to head towards the main area, just tell your taxi driver you want to go to Floridita.
2. PLAZA DE LA CATHEDRAL
Cuba has many different plazas(plaza Franisco, plaza Vieja, etc.) but I really enjoyed Plaza de la Cathedral. I loved visiting the Plazas because they are clearly beautiful, but the adjacent streets are so pretty as well and there are great bars and restaurants too. On one of the streets there is a delicious mojito bar, and our tour guide said it was the best in all of Cuba! I forget the name but you will see it when you walk around the plaza, because there is always a crowd listening to their live music!
Here is a picture of these amazing cuban citizens that were walking on these crazy stilts! We saw them on a side street from the Plaza!!!!
3. HOTEL NACIONALE
Hotel Nacionale is a very historic hotel. As I don’t recommend staying there because they are so expensive, I do highly recommend you stopping for a visit. The hotel is beautiful, it over looks the Malecòn, and they even have a museum in the hotel that is awesome!
4. THE MALECÒN
The Malecòn is really cool, because it is right on the water and you can see out, or you can look back at all of Cuba. It’s super long and there is always people walking it day and night eating some of the street food. It is really fun and beautiful at night!!
5. VARADERO BEACH
So Varadero beach is drop dead gorgeous! It is roughly 2 hours away, so through the same travel agency,
they were able to drive us, and again, we had another fabulous tour guide for the day! The water is so clear and so warm! I couldn’t believe how warm it was! Also, it is super shallow, so you can go really far in! I really recommend getting away from Havana for a day and trying another spot!
Also, on the way to the beach, there is this amazing piña colada bar, with the best piña coladas of my life! It is up on a hill and shows the most beautiful view ever! Definitely tell your driver to take you here on the way!
Another great thing to do that we did not have time for was going to Cuba’s Museum of Revolution. I heard it is beautiful and very educational about the history of Cuba. Next blog post will be on the places you must eat at!!! I know, probably the most exciting post on this series! So remember to check back!