Cuba is maybe one of the most interesting places I have visited.
Still very much like a third world country, with strict rules and controlled tightly by the government. I really had no idea it would be quite as regimented as it was and was shocked at how low their wage was with some earning an average of $30 a month.
I was told they can’t have wifi in their homes(unless working for the government) , hence why I had internet for 1 hour a day through a call card thing! Also snapchat was blocked weirdly.
It is however so colourful and vibrant, full of culture and history and so many things to see and look at!
We stayed in Varadero which is a beach resort really so not too much to see there but the beaches are lovely and the local town safe and friendly. Nice if you’re going for a relaxing holiday . The weather wasn’t great when we visited, being January, but when the sun did come out it was glorious.
Our hotel Grand Memories definitely looked a lot better online but the staff were friendly and the beach on to the hotel was beautiful.
Cuba is not known for its food/cuisine ,which I had read before I went but christ I was craving some fresh food when I came back-anything I ate there seemed to upset my tummy outside of bread, so be prepared for the food situation.
Whilst there we did a trip to Havana.
We booked a private tour in a 1950’s red Chevy which was amazing. It was $130 . It’s a 2 hour drive from Varadero to Havana but our tour guide Mercedes pointed out lots of things on the way and told us some historical facts about Cuba. We stopped roadside on the way for a tourist break and a fresh Piña Colada served in a pineapple , just casually on the side of a motorway.
I loved Havana. It’s exactly what you would expect. It’s bustling ,lively, full of character and the streets and roads are lined with classic American cars. They also have some amazing architecture. Our tour took us to some of the popular tourist spots , we stopped for lunch and we visited some bars that had live music during the day. We were brought down some alley to a Cuban ladies House who was selling cigars (montecristo and cohiba) which I’m told are the best so we bought some, not sure why as I don’t smoke and never would ha.
Bring cash with you to change currency when you get there in your hotel as it’s hard to find an ATM – hotels don’t even have them. The currency is CUC which is just for tourists as their own currency is Pesos.
Bring travel adaptors as we couldn’t find one anywhere!
Research your hotel well and read trip advisor reviews . It’s not a luxurious holiday so don’t expect out of this world hotels if staying in Varadero.
Get a visa beforehand! You can fill a form out online and they will post your visa . It’s £15 in the UK when done in advance or you have to pay £50 at the airport like I did.
Bring tablets for your tummy -there’s not a lot of chemists around(I didn’t see any) and the food upset mine quite a bit.
You HAVE TO visit Havana, if not staying there. It was my favourite part of the trip .
Must See in Havana :
- The Plaza de la Revolucion- huge square that hosted many a political rally and has the famous Che Guevara image on the building wall nearby.
- Christ of Havana-large Jesus Christ sculpture on a hilltop overlooking Havana. Lovely view of Havana and also Che Guevaras home is nearby.
- Floridita Bar ’The cradle of the daiquiri’ Where the daiquiri was born. Delicious daiquiris and one of Ernest Hemingway’s old hang outs. Live music and great atmosphere here-quite busy though. Go here for sure.
- Bodeguita Del Medio- where the mojito was born and another famous spot in Havana for a drink. Live music also here and its packed. Not the best Mojito I’ve had but worth a visit.Mojitos in Cuba are the original recipe so don’t have lime in.
- Havana Cathedral-beautiful and you can go inside and say a little prayer(I love visiting churches when I’m in a new City/Country).
- Old Havana-we visited both new and old as there not far from each other and both are beautiful.
- Lots of museums to see also if you’re into that aspect.
I wish I had more time in Havana but glad I was in a beach resort at the same time.
A history rich country with lovely people and lots to see. Anyone we spoke to there seemed happy and said they love living in Cuba.
It just shows you don’t need money to be happy , it’s people that do that for you.
Cuba is ticked off my list.
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