Havana, Cuba (Erika McGrath)
Keep calm and baila conmigo!
- More about your oliver guide: Erika McGrath
- Trip type: Adult, Group getaway, City
- Activity level: moderate
- Ideal length of trip: 7-10 DAYS
to & from
We flew from SFO to Miami, spent the night in Miami and then took a 6am chartered flight to Havana, Cuba. On the ground, we had a tour bus and tour guide.
Our on the ground sponsoring organization was: Altruvistas contact: email@example.com. Our guide was Cicely Sanchez. Our local sponsoring organization was Yogaventures, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Stay
- We stayed in hotels although some people opt to stay in private homes to help directly support Cubans who are still mostly on fixed low government-mandated salaries.
- Hotel Copacabana in Havana
- Hotel Iberostar (all inclusive) in Varadero
Where to Eat and Drink
- Floridita - A favorite of Hemingway's
- Buena Vista Social Club
- Hotel National - Great place to listen to music on outside patio, full of history
- San Cristobal Paladar
- Moneda de Cuba
- La Guarida
- Al Carbon
- Ivan Chef Justo
What to Do
- Take a taxi ride in an antique car
- Take a Rumba or Salsa lesson. Dance is a huge part of Cuban culture.
- Talk to as many people as possible to learn about what it's been like over the last few decades. Education is free and Cubans are highly educated.
- Take a walking tour of the four major historical squares of Old Havana. It is a great way to learn the history and to see all of the buildings and homes in various stages of reconstruction.
- Visit the Museum of the Revolution and National Museum of Fine Arts.
- San Jose Crafts and Arts faire --- largest arts and crafts faire. Has everything.
- Murrealando -- a Community Art Project in Havana. Original inspiration: clean up the neighborhoods by turning trash into art.
- Beaches of Varadero -- a popular beach resort town with gorgeous beaches along 20km of Atlantic Ocean coastline.
- Seek out street art and graffiti. Great works are everywhere. Callejon de Hammel was a favorite.
- Take a trip to a Cigar factory and tobacco plantation
- You must bring all the cash you will need. Americans cannot access the bank system. Try to exchange some dollars in the airport to arrive with the Cuban CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso). There are two currencies in Cuba, the CUC and the Cuban Peso. Tourists only use the CUC. However, if you buy something from a street vendor you may receive pesos as change.
- Because salaries are set by the government, the Cubans have very limited resources. (For example, teachers make $20/month.) Tips are hugely important everywhere you go. Tour guide told stories of choosing between food and shoes for her children. Food is rationed.
- Tourists do not drink the water so be prepared to purchase and carry drinking water.