Cuba is a destination for both the adventurous and the lazy traveler. It's a pretty big country, so it has a lot to offer. You can spend seven days lounging at the beach of an all-inclusive outside of Veradero if you like, but you'll have the same experience at any beach resort in the Caribbean. The real reason to go to Cuba is the heart and soul of the country, Havana.
The narrow streets are crammed with beautifully coloured, classic American cars and the buildings are old, unkempt and around every corner is instagram-worthy photo ops. The history, artwork, people and infectious culture are mesmerizing. With all of its charm and eccentricity, there is literally no place on the planet that can be compared to Havana.
When to go
Go now, book your flight for the nearest possible date. Most of us know Havana for what it has been for the last few decades: a time capsule. It's a city that has stood still for a lifetime and in some ways, this is what makes it place so special. But with time, Havana could soon change, so stop researching to find out when the rainy season is, or when the cultural festivals are, just go now.
What to know
Currency: The Cuban Peso is what is used by the locals, but you'll want to bring CUC's (Cuban Convertible Peso's) with you. 1 CUC is roughly US$1 and 22CUPs. Your hotel may be able to convert your money for you, but it's best to check in advance.
Sunscreen: You will probably be outside a lot, and you should be. So pack your sunscreen and buy a straw hat or baseball cap from one of the vendors at the market.
Bartering: Many of your purchases will be from street vendors. The artwork in Cuba is world renowned and surprisingly affordable, not to mention cigars and other souvenirs. Most of the vendors will expect you to haggle a bit, so offer a reasonable and respectable offer below asking price and see what you can get away with,
Language: Of course the official language in Cuba is Spanish, with some people being able to speak English and maybe even a bit of Russian. But if you're wandering away from your hotel or resort, dont expect to get by solely with English. It's handy to know enough Spanish to ask for drink/food, directions and costs. So brush up on your Español, and start exploring.
Vendors: When in Cuba, remember that it is a third world country. Like many third world countries, you will run into street vendors that are pretty ambitious. Be friendly and kind, as you will find the Cuban people to be. You may be inclined to give into making a purchase that you don't want to make, but you really don't need to. A simple "no gracias" will suffice in almost every case.
Safety: Havana is a safe to walk around at night, there's only really petty crime that takes place there. Also note that you cannot drink the water, make sure you take water from the hotel with you on your day trips or buy some at the 'supermarket' and make sure it is sealed.
How to pack
In Cuba, you can be bold, brave and daring. Stay on trend with boho-chic prints with a Latina twist. Keep your suitcase colourful yet light and flowing so you're set for care-free beach days and evening salsa dancing.
1. Take a guided tour of Havana in a convertible
2. Spend a few hours exploring Las Terrazas
3. See the world's longest cigar, then smoke one.
4. Buy your favourite piece of artwork.
5. Get merry on mojitos
1. Playa Pilar
2. Playa Los Flamencos
3. Playa Ancón
5. Playa Perla Blanca
6. Playa Turquesa
How to Book
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