“Havana, ooh na-na”
“Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh-na-na”
I completed a trip of a lifetime and I only say that because no one knows when travel to Cuba will be restricted again! Havana is the kind of city that you just need to see it for yourself. Everything is so colorful, lively, and full of culture!
I made it out to Havana for a friend’s 30th birthday and it was the BEST trip I’ve ever had thus far. It was a group of 13 and I only actually knew eight. I ended up meeting the other five people when everyone arrived at the AirBnb. We all melded together flawlessly. I’m happy to have gained some new friends.
I arrived in Havana on Friday, May 4, 2018. Immediately, after stepping out of the airport–I was overwhelmed with how many people were crowding the doors!! Watch out as cab drivers will try to bargain with you so you will take their cabs. Everyone else (or so I thought) was on a different airline and their flight ended up being delayed. I started walking around in attempt to wait for them. After about 45 minutes, I decided to walk to the currency exchange counter. Luckily, I saw two of my friends, Lena and Reggie, waiting in line! WHAT A FREAKING RELIEF. We exchanged our money and took a cab to our AirBnB.
Where We Stayed: At a lovely AirBnB that can be found here. Just read the reviews!!!
It was locally owned (a bigger plus) and when we arrived, we were promptly greeted with some mojitos–don’t worry, you can get it sans rum. The hosts had breakfast available every day for us for 7 CUC per day. Each day, we had an endless amount of fruit, eggs, biscuits, toast, FRESH JUICE (they won me over with the guava juice), and more. The hosts did speak English so that was definitely helpful.
Wi-fi is a scarcity in Havana if not all of Cuba. The only app that worked for me was WhatsApp. I highly recommend this app if you are traveling overseas as it allows you to send texts and make calls for free. Instagram and Snapchat did not work for me so I did not get to document everything while I was there! I actually had a few of my friends (Tayler and Zainab–thanks babes) back in the States text my sister to see if I was okay because they did not hear from me on any of my social media accounts. How funny is that? They just know how I am LOL. Although, not having accessible Wi-fi worked in our favor. We got to enjoy each other more and truly take in Havana for what it’s worth.
The group and myself spent the next three days exploring the streets of Old Havana (a definite must), the Malecon, the nightlife, the beautiful cars, and of course–my favorite part….the beaches! Havana is a very vibrant and colorful city and as everyone says–it’s like traveling back in time. Most of the cars are from the 1950s but I did see a FEW newer cars. There was this happy hour spot called Gabanna a few streets down from our AirBnB. It was open until 3AM and we frequented this place a lot!
Visiting Old Havana is a must so feel free to get lost in the streets. We didn’t do a walking tour as we preferred to explore on our own. The buildings were breathtaking and I loved taking in all of the street art we came across! We found a great icecream shop and cooled off there. I even gave some sorbet to a stray dog who was hanging around the shop! If you’re a dog lover, don’t worry–there are plenty of stray dogs in Havana. It actually made me sad to see so many. Some seemed well taken care of though.
All the locals were very nice to us and helped if they could. I read all about scammers in Havana but I don’t believe we encountered any on our trip. Taxis took most of our money as everything else was super cheap. We averaged about 25 to 30 CUCS per taxi with four people. We asked our host and he said that’s the normal rate.
Scroll down for more pictures from my trip. I also included a few tips and tricks I’ve learned at the bottom of this post!
TIPS AND WHAT TO BRING:
For a short trip, I highly recommend only bringing a carry-on bag as the airport is very slow and you don’t want to risk losing your checked bag.
Bring lighter fabrics and comfortable clothes. Cuba is very humid. I even struggled wearing jean shorts.
A hat of some sort…I brought my wide brimmed hat.
TOILET PAPER FOR PUBLIC RESTROOMS!!! I can’t emphasize this enough. Also–use the airplane bathroom before landing…the airport bathrooms were truly disgusting to me.
Exchange USD to EUROS at your bank prior to entering Cuba. Once in Cuba, exchange your EUROS to CUCs at the airport. This was the cheapest way to do it and keep the most of your money.
Most importantly, be safe and I hope you have a trip of a lifetime! If you enjoyed this travel post, please comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts.
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