This is my kind of city - Music, great people, Rum, Cigars & old American cars.
Spending my last few days of traveling Cuba in Havana, as I feel I can enjoy more after acclimatizing to the heat and knowing a bit more of the culture, as Havana can be very hot in October and with a lot of pollution from the old cars..................
An up to date view of Havana: www.havanatimes.org
- You can set the standard for fellow travelers by Doing a little research first before arriving in Cuba/Havana, places you like to visit, where you may like to eat or drink. If you are staying in a good casa your family will help you with where to go in Havana and onward to your next location in Cuba. There is now over 2000 Casa's in Havana so do research and only book your first night if you feel you need to as then you can to change casa or decide you want to move on.
- Casa particular $25 cuc, breakfast $8 cuc for 2 persons. Always confirm first. I can recommend Casa Alex, you can find in Trip Adviser.
- Money - CUC = Cuban convertible. CUP = National peso. $1 cuc = $25 cup. I take £'s and two cards to use to withdrawal cash. cup,s can be used in many places in Havana and all over Cuba.
- Wifi - $3 cuc for 1 hour in Havana (Some of the big hotels charge over $6 cuc) and you can buy a card in the Boulevard de San Rafael, at Parque Fe del Valle. Where there is an antenna and you can connect. Whatsapp works but facebook is blocked! $6 cuc in hotels or only $2 if brought from Vinales or Trinidad.
- Restaurants for lunch $4 each; Asociacion Cararia de Cuba. The Restaurant Can be found opposite the Bacardi building, walk in and turn left up the stairs.
- Restaurant for dinner Los Nardos you may need to wait one hour, but if worth it.
- AVOID eating in the restaurants in China Town, as you will be over changed.
- The small outlets selling sandwiches, cakes and drinks are fine and also can use "cup" making it very cheap. (Even though you will be over changed)
- Drinks - Cuban beers £1.50 cuc, coffee $1.00 cuc Mojito £3.00 cuc, water 1 liter can be found for 0.80 cents in supermarkets and away from the old town.
- There is cash machine and money exchange at the airport, as you walk outside turn to the right.
- Jineteros - These are local "career criminals" who basically make their living on the streets scamming tourists.
- Walking the streets you will soon be asked; taxi? tour? restaurant? the conversation will start with where are you from my friend? or one question? (You will have to make your own mind up if this is for commission or you will have value/enjoyment) You can replay with "Ya gracias".
- You may also be asked to buy a bottle of milk for my child. 1 liter of milk is free for every child in Cuba to the age of 7.
- Live music in bars, $1cuc more or less, buy a CD $10 cuc
- To use the toilet - voluntary payment
- When taking a collective taxi to your next destination, on arrival the driver may say your casa is bad and will take you to a different one to what you ask. (We paid $30 each to Trinidad, less than 5 hours in a taxi).
- Taxi from airport $25 cuc. To Airport $20 cuc
- Short changers -When changing money always hold on to it and first ask what the exchange is. This is the same for paying a taxi driver in CUC and he gives you change in CUP, always ask first.
- Fake Cigars - Jineteros will often approach foreigners on the street with an offer to sell Cuban cigars at a deep discount. Ever hear the old adage "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is"?