This is a guest post from lifestyle and travel blogger, Kamelia from Hackerette, enjoy!
Cuba travel laws have recently changed in 2016, allowing Americans to fly directly into Cuba. A trip to Cuba is a little like traveling back in time to the 1950’s and Old Havana is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The vibrant colors and classic cars will remind you of another time while the warm and friendly locals will make you feel right at home. Go now before it gets too touristy!
Havana is very safe and you can easily walk around exploring by foot if you have the time to roam. If you’d like a guided tour you can easily grab a coco cab, a tuk-tuk, or jump in a vintage taxi to see the sights with a local. A taxi from the airport to Old Havana is about $25-$30. A taxi, coco cab or tuk-tuk within the city should only be about $10 or less. Make sure you negotiate and agree to a price before entering. Make sure to get your change in CUC and not CUP. You can read more on currency exchange here.
1. El Dandy Bar y Galeria
Grab the best coffee in all of Havana at this quaint little coffee shop owned by a Swiss expat. The cozy setting has an open view to the beautiful Plaza Cristo. Nibble on some tasty snacks while you take solace from the busy streets. Old music plays as you lounge as if you’re in your own living room.
The Malecon is an 8km seawall along the coast on the northern side of central Havana. This is a peaceful place where locals sit and relax by the water or even go fishing. It’s known as a meeting place for friends and is a great spot to take in a beautiful sunset.
Hackerette’s Hack: Hotel Florida
Wifi is scarce in Havana but if you need your internet fix, you can grab it here. You’ll pay $4 for an internet card which will give you an hour of slow wifi. Enjoy a nice seafood paella while you connect.
3. El Floridita
El Floridita is a historic restaurant and cocktail bar in Old Havana. Floridita is known for being Ernest Hemingway’s favorite place to enjoy a daiquiri. You can even get your picture with Hemingway’s statue who of course is posted up right at the bar. Floridita is very touristy for sure, but it’s fun to stop in and have a daiquiri while you pose for fun pics. The 6 and a half foot tall martini glass holds a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Daiquiri.
4. La Bodeguita del Medio
This tiny hotspot is where Ernest Hemingway was rumored to have taken a break from the daiquiris to enjoy a mojito. Live music is played from the corner as people gather in the alley to see what’s inside. The mojitos are flowing and the music will get you moving. Enjoy the artwork in the alley nearby and grab some fun souvenirs.
5. Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC)
I saved my favorite for last and you do NOT want to miss this place! I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere else in the world. Fabrica de Arte Cubano, also known as FAC was converted from an old factory. What they have created is so unique that I don’t even know what to call it. FAC is the eclectic combination of art exhibitions, live entertainment, movies, dancing, and micro boutiques. This art centered lounge provides all sorts of entertainment from flamenco shows to hip-hop salsa dancing. FAC has 4 floors with different offerings at each turn.
For only $2 entry fee you can explore and mingle for hours. Tapas style food and cocktails are offered. FAC is open from Thursday through Sunday. Get there early to avoid the massive line. The capacity is 800 people and the performances start at 10 pm. You can get there before it opens at 8 pm to avoid a huge crowd. They will issue you a drink ticket upon arrival that is similar to a punch pass. You don’t pay until the end. Do not throw away or lose your punch pass or you’ll have to pay for the entire card’s worth! There is a mix of locals and tourists alike. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities. I happened to spot Maggie Gyllenhall with friends on the second floor.
Hi! I’m Kamelia, a San Diego based lifestyle & travel blogger who balances work as a nurse with traveling the world and soaking up life’s amazing experiences. I took my first major overseas trip in 2006 and have since been to over 20 countries with no plans to slow down. Travel has become one of the best parts of my journey through life. I’m a curious soul who thrives on the challenge of finding the best way to hack an amazing lifestyle on a small budget. I hope to inspire you to live your adventure and create a life that you love.