Welcome to Cuba2Day! If you’ve ever dreamed of immersing yourself in the vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and rich history of Cuba, you’re in for a treat.
Traveling to Cuba is a unique experience that promises unforgettable memories and a deeper understanding of this enchanting Caribbean island. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your trip to Cuba an extraordinary adventure.
1. Understanding the Basics
Before you embark on your journey to Cuba, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the country’s history, culture, and current situation. Cuba boasts a unique blend of Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences, reflected in its music, dance, cuisine, and architecture. Keep in mind that internet access might be limited and expensive, so research and plan ahead.
2. Visa and Entry Requirements
For most travelers, obtaining a tourist visa for Cuba is a straightforward process. You can usually acquire a visa through the Cuban embassy or consulate in your home country. Alternatively, many airlines provide the option to purchase a visa when booking your flight. Remember to check the latest visa requirements and regulations before your trip.
3. Flights and Transportation
When booking flights to Cuba, major international airports like José Martí International Airport in Havana and Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport in Varadero are popular choices. Airlines from various countries operate flights to these destinations. Once in Cuba, you’ll find a range of transportation options including taxis, shared taxis (“colectivos”), and public buses to navigate within cities and explore the countryside.
4. Accommodation Options
Choosing the right accommodation is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable trip. While Cuba offers a variety of lodging choices, from luxurious hotels to charming bed-and-breakfasts, consider opting for a more authentic experience by staying in a “casa particular.” These are private homes that offer rooms for rent, often managed by friendly locals who can provide valuable insights into Cuban life.
5. Currency and Money Matters
Cuba operates on a dual currency system: the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) and the Cuban Peso (CUP). As a tourist, you’ll mostly deal with CUC, which is pegged to the US dollar. It’s advisable to carry cash in major currencies like Euros, British Pounds, or Canadian Dollars and exchange them locally. Credit and debit cards from US banks might not work, so it’s wise to bring sufficient cash for your trip.
6. Language and Communication
While Spanish is the official language of Cuba, not everyone you encounter might be fluent in English. Having some basic Spanish phrases handy can help you navigate and communicate with locals more effectively. Embrace the opportunity to learn and practice a new language during your visit.
7. Must-See Destinations and Activities
Cuba is a treasure trove of cultural experiences and stunning sights. Don’t miss exploring the cobblestone streets of Old Havana, admiring the vintage cars that populate the streets, and savoring authentic Cuban cuisine. Beyond Havana, visit Viñales for its breathtaking landscapes, Trinidad for its well-preserved colonial architecture, and Varadero for its pristine beaches.
8. Embracing Cuban Cuisine
Cuban cuisine is a fusion of flavors and influences that reflect the country’s history. Indulge in dishes like “ropa vieja” (shredded beef), “mojito” (a refreshing cocktail), and “arroz con frijoles” (rice and beans). Engage with local eateries and street food vendors to truly savor the authentic flavors of Cuba.
9. Cultural Etiquette
Respect for Cuban culture and customs is essential. Cubans are known for their warmth and hospitality, so reciprocate by being courteous and friendly. Tipping is customary, and a small gesture can go a long way in showing appreciation for the service you receive.
Your Dream Airbnb in Havana
Ready to turn your dream trip to Cuba into a reality? Imagine waking up to the gentle rustling of palm leaves and the aroma of Cuban coffee in the heart of Havana. Look no further than our exclusive Airbnb listing.
This charming casa particular offers a comfortable and authentic stay, complete with personalized recommendations from your local host. Click here to book your stay and experience the true essence of Havana.
Unlock the Secrets of Havana with “Havana Like a Local” eBook!
Are you eager to delve even deeper into the heart and soul of Havana? Our journey doesn’t end here—there’s so much more to explore and uncover. That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to our comprehensive eBook, “Havana Like a Local.” This eBook is your ultimate guide to experiencing Havana in a way that goes beyond the typical tourist spots.
In “Havana Like a Local,” you’ll discover hidden gems, local hotspots, and insider tips that will transform your trip into an authentic adventure. From lesser-known neighborhoods to off-the-beaten-path attractions, this eBook is a treasure trove of information that will help you connect with the true essence of Havana.
What can you expect from “Havana Like a Local”?
Offbeat Destinations: Uncover the neighborhoods, markets, and cafes that locals frequent, giving you a unique perspective on the city’s daily life.
Cultural Insights: Dive deep into Cuban customs, traditions, and etiquette, ensuring you engage with the local culture respectfully and meaningfully.
Culinary Delights: Explore the vibrant food scene of Havana, from family-run eateries to street food stalls, and savor the flavors that make Cuban cuisine so unforgettable.
Interactive Maps: Navigate the city with ease using our detailed maps that highlight the best spots featured in the eBook.
Language Tips: Enhance your travel experience with useful Spanish phrases and expressions that will help you connect with locals and navigate the city confidently.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience Havana like a true local. Grab your copy of “Havana Like a Local” today and embark on a journey of discovery that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Click here to get your hands on “Havana Like a Local” eBook and get ready to explore the hidden treasures of this captivating city. Your adventure awaits!
Welcome to a new post on Cuba2Day! Today we are going to share some tips about how you can go from Old Havana to the beach.
Havana with all its audacity and grandeur is a startling attraction for the tourists and the venturesome travelers like you. The atmosphere and the aura of this stunning city serve as a magnet to Cuba. The artistic and historical significance of Havana is quite appealing as well. There is so much for you to explore at Havana and keep your adventurous side satisfied. It is a loveable ride in the city of Havana as you get to vividly experience this amazing city.
But when the hustle and bustle of the city become too much for you, you can enjoy a day inhaling and absorbing the sea breeze at the beach and get the serenity and calmness of the view for a quick refreshment.
Your desire to relish bathing in the sun and swimming in the ocean will get fulfilled at Havana. There are many such spots located near the city. One such spot is The turquoise Playas del Este beach, which is a short ride of approximately 20 minutes from Havana city.
Situated on the east side, this beautiful beach is both swimmable and alluring. But the question arises here that How to get from Old Havana to the beach?
Do not worry because this guide is going to help you through the experience and help you get to Havana beach. So, you may soothe and calm your senses on the beachy atmosphere of Playa del Este.
Well, there would be two options for you to choose between, you may opt for the best suitable one. The first one would be to take a cab for your aimed destination from Old Havana.
You can easily get a cab in front of the train station near El Guajirito restaurant. A collective for locals is the most inexpensive choice which costs only $1 per seat. But here is a tip. The drivers are restricted to transport foreigners, hence they charge extra money to people from abroad. To save yourself from the extra expenses, you just have to follow these steps:
How to get to Playa del Este from Old Havana:
1. Get to the train station, and ask someone where to get a cab from.
2. Say “un taxi a Marazul”.
3. You can either decide to get a collective cab or one just for you. If you drive with other people it will cost you around 5 Cuc.
4. Pay around 15/20 CUC on the arrival of your destination.
5. And you are done!
You can easily get to Playa del Este from Old Havana by following these steps. Or else you have an alternative option to reach your needed destination.
The other alternative is the bus ride. Taking the T3 bus ride which has a scheduled time of departing from Central Park after every 40 minutes can be your other call to get to the beach. It will cost you 5 CUC together with the return ticket for that bus ride. You need to purchase the ticket directly while embarking the bus.
If you have no money concerns and would want a rather comfy and private visit, you can book a private taxi to Playa del Este in 50 CUC. You will get a private taxi for four hours at this price. Have fun at the beach and make beautiful and sunny memories on the Playa del Este with the help of this guide. Now hit the beach and swim in the ocean!
After following the ‘How to go to Playa del Este from Old Havana’ steps, when you reach Playa del Este, there is so much you can do. Well, the bathing in the sun idea which also includes swimming in the ocean persists. But to add to the beach fun and exhilarate you on your trip, there is more. On the beach, all the ecstatic swimming and stuff may get you tired and hungry. So, to help you feed yourself up there are arrangements at the beach for your convenience.
There are people at the beach selling tropical fruits. Hotel staff is also there to serve beverages, and food, to people who have rented lounge chairs or shade umbrellas. The goods that you will purchase there will cost you a little higher than usual but it is still quite affordable. There is a food store as well, which is open in the daytime, in which you can have a satisfying meal or you can try out the food stalls around. The food kiosks do not have a scheduled timing.
As a precaution, you should keep some snacks and food in your backpack. And, Bon Appetit fellas. Moreover, your stressed muscles and weariness can vanish with a massage offered to you by professional therapists at the beach. Yes, you heard it right. This is all one could wish for to have a great time and fun at the beach.
Food, massage, the calming sea sight, and the exotic sunny ambiance at Playas del Este is totally the kind of thing you might have been wishing for.
Your plan to relax at the beach will get fulfilled at Playas del Este. If you are visiting the beach on a weekend, then be ready to meet a crowd.
And so, you must prepare yourself to handle unpleasant situations too. Cuban people are generally friendly and frank. But if you are visiting Havana beach for the first time, you must beware of the scammers to avoid any mishap.
Some scamming events have been recorded by other travelers. It is to notify you of such a scenario and provide some short tips for your safety. Even at the beach, it is preferable that you have someone to accompany you. Or if you are a solo traveler, you should carry less stuff with you around and keep an eye on your belongings. These tips will surely help you out on your exhilarating trip to Havana beach. Hope you have a great time there.
That’s it for today and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @Cuba2Day
There’s a different kind of revolution brewing in Cuba and unlike its infamous 1959 counterpart, this one brings a lot more “candela.”
Since the Cuban government has issued licenses for small privately owned businesses like paladares (restaurants), the rise of young entrepreneurial Cuban chiefs has left Havana’s dining scene growing faster than Che’s facial hair.
And since the world has seemed to suddenly remember the biggest island in the Caribbean still exists, tourists are wondering data-less and clueless around the streets of La Habana Vieja or El Vedado hungry.
So let us help you find where you can find the best cuisine in the islands capital.
1. Santy Pescador (Miramar, Habana)
Famous for hosting tourists and locals alike, Santy Pescador overlooks Rio Jaimanitas and boosts a twist on traditional Cuban seafood – sushi.
And if you are lucky enough to visit Havana during tuna season, you cannot pass anything Santy Pescador makes with tuna.
An incredibly laid-back atmosphere with great views of the sea and marina is a great way to spend lunch or dinner in Havana.
Mari’s Pro Tip: Santy Pescador is a bit outside center Habana but a few streets down is Fusterlandia, a MUST SEE for anyone interested in local beautiful art. Fusterlandia is an entire neighborhood dedicated to eccentric Cuban art by artist Jose Fuster. If you decide to go, I’d suggest to arrive after all the tour busses and crowds leave around 2pm-3pm).
2. El Del Frente (La Habana Vieja)
Tucked away by the overly flamboyant streets of La Habana Vieja is one of the best Cuban restaurants in the touristy neighborhood.
El Del Frente is on O’Reily and Aguilar and on the top floors of the building with a beautiful rooftop terrace. Enjoy amazing Cuban cuisine and finely made cocktails in a very unique setting.
3. El Chanchullero (La Habana Vieja)
You’ve probably come across this one if you’ve done any sort of research of Cuban restaurants and it’s worth the buzz.
El Chanchullero is also in touristy Habana Vieja but makes probably one of the best ropa Viejas I’ve had in the area (and that’s a very tall order for me!). It has a great bar decorated with wine bottles and posters.
4. Somos Cuba (La Habana Vieja)
Somos Cuba (we are cuba) is EXACTLY that. From the location to the hosts to the food, you CANNOT get any more Cuban than this.
Located in a solar (buildings that are divided into very small apartments in center Havana), Somos Cuba’s chefs Ivan and Leidi serve you in the kitchen itself. They welcome you as any Cuban would with love and food. It’s a bit pricey for Cuban standards but the experience and the food is well worth it.
Pro-Tip: There are stairs with graffiti pointing you to the restaurant. If you think it’s not where you should go, it most likely is! Packed times include lunch and early evening hours so you might want to go a bit later. Its small so don’t be shy to be a bit Cuban-like and talk to your dinner neighbors.
5. Flor de Loto: Chinese in Cuba (Centro Habana/Barrio Chino)
Yes, I’m recommending Chinese food in Cuba and it may surprise you that Chinese roots are essential to the fabric of Cuban culture.
Chinese immigrants have been calling Havana home for generations now and their food still inspires. I’m putting this on the list because I always think its great to experience a different kind of cuisine than in the country you are visiting.
Plus, let’s be honest… there’s just so much rice, beans and meat that one can eat. Well Flor de Loto fits the bill! Right in the center of you guessed it, Barrio Chino, Flor serves the best fusion Havana has to offer. I mean where else in the world can you get perfectly fried plantains and the best crabmeat with fried rice all in one huge (HUGE, yes the portions are CRAZY BIG) plate? Only in La Habana!
A La Mesa is a Cuban app (yes, tech start-ups are a thing in the land of no data but that’s another blog post) that lists restaurants of all major cities in Cuba. They give you filters for live music, bars, tapas, and price range. It’s not yelp, but it works off-line and is an amazing app to have while visiting the island.
So in this post we are going to see how you can travel to Havana and save money on your stay.
Casa Particular: What you need to know
If it’s not the first time you travel to Cuba you’ve probably already heard this word. A Casa Particular is simply a private house a Cuban has decided to rent. He needs to have regular license and record all the people staying in the house or room.
Basically it’s like a small hotel but managed by Cubans.
The main characteristic is usually the chance to live like a local and have a better glance and feel of the Cuban life. You also save money and instead of going to a hotel you have (usually) an overall better experience.
This is because you also have the chance to talk and chat with Cubans and hear their point of view and culture.
If it’s true that you can save money, you also need to consider that most of the houses in Havana are not probably matching the American and European standard of a regular AirBnB. Maybe if you are in the 20′ you don’t really care about it but if you want to have a nice house/apartment sometimes isn’t that easy.
Don’t get my wrong! Things are slowly changing and the new apartments and houses I see on AirBnB are getting nicer and nicer!
We worked hard to make our places cozy and comfy and recently we also became super-host on AirBnB!
So how can you save even more money if you are traveling to Havana with AirBnB?
How to travel to Havana and save money with AirBnB
Well, the best way to save money is, of course, avoid the high season when prices are getting really crazy. Also, availability is limited and the city is crazy busy. We’ve been to Havana last Christmas and Havana was busy as I’ve never seen it before!
But here is the deal, especially if you have never booked a trip with AirBnB..
In fact, if it’s the fist time EVER you are using AirBnB, you can register through our referral link and get $40 off your first reservation!
2- Fill out all the information and confirm your account
3- Vist our listing or check out the apartments available in Havana
4- Enjoy $40 off your reservation! 🙂
That’s it! Pretty neat 🙂
Since AirBnB has landed to Cuba new business opportunities has arisen for Cubans and locals. So far the Trump administration has no affected the tourism or any businesses. Airbnb is working with Cubans not the government so the rules are not compromising this side of the tourism.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to let us know!
Hello! Today we are pretty excited here at Cuba2Day!
In fact, we are launching a guide to Havana called “Havana like a local”
What is Havana Like a Local?
It’s a ,mini-guide (a handy downloadable PDF) with tips and tricks to discover Havana like a local.
We have put together a mix of content of the blog combined with advice and list of the places we strongly recommend you to visit if you are going to Cuba for the first time and even if you are a frequent traveller.
In fact, this 39 page guide, has a cheat sheet included with a list of places, restaurants, shops, bar and services you can enjoy in Havana
Why a guide of Havana
Despite there are so many travel guides out there, we have decided to create a short list and easy to read guide to explore Havana like a local.
We recommend bringing your Lonely Planet with you together with our “Havana Like A Local”
What is the best period of the year to visit Cuba?
Cuba is a Caribbean island and the weather is the typical tropical climate. There’s not a really bad and a perfect time to visit Cuba since each season has its own pros and cons.
High Season (Winter/Spring)
The high season is generally between December and April. Especially December, of course, is a pretty busy period. You can expect higher prices pretty much on everything and trouble to book hotels, tours or apartment.
This hotel is famous because of one of its guest. I am talking about Hemingway of course! 🙂
By the way, looks like it’s more difficult to find places in Havana where Hemingway has never been to (lol)
As soon as you’ll get inside the lobby you will notice an old elevator in iron. It’s made with busbars so you will also enjoy the way up.
On the rooftop there’s also a skybar serving drinks and food. So you will have the chance to enjoy the view and a drink (maybe a Mojito?:))
Hotel Parque Central
Parque Central Hotel is one of the most exclusive (and expensive) hotels in Havana. This 5 stars hotel has a beautiful and lighted lobby but also an incredible rooftop with pool and restaurants.
This is the best place to watch the park, El Capitolio and the National Theater. On the other side of the terrace you will also be able to see the sea, El Paseo and other iconic places.
To be honest the restaurant is not so expensive considering the level of the hotel and you can stop there for a drink and for lunch.
Only the hotel guest can use the swimming pool.
Walking along Calle San Ignacio in Old Havana (corner with Amargura) you will find the beautiful Hotel Raquel. You will immediately fall in love with the amazing facade and the main lobby. The hotel combines baroque and art-nouveau architecture.
The rooftop is not usually busy as the others are. In fact it’s more intimate and dedicated to the hotel’s guest. You can ask to visit the terrace and spend there some times enjoying the sunset together with a drink.
Also here the ride in the elevator worth the climb! 🙂
Many tourists prefer to enjoy Havana for about a week and them move to other beautiful locations across the island. One of these preferred locations is Varadero. With its wide and white beach Varadero is one of the most famous places in Cuba. Full of resorts and hotels, you will have the time to relax and enjoy 100% the beach and other facilities.
Varadero is considered the place where you can relax more than explore and discover the culture and history of the island. Havana is definitely the place to be if you prefer to explore and plunge into the Cuban culture. Even better if you decide to stay to a casa particular and not a hotel.
Anyway, many tourists prefer to explore the city and then move to Varadero for a few days to end their vacations. Havana also has a great beach (Santa Maria del Mar) and it’s about 20/30 mins from the city. You can get there with a taxi or with a bus (via azul)
How to get from Havana to Varadero
>>TRAVELING TO HAVANA? DO IT LIKE A LOCAL! GET OUR MINI GUIDE FOR ONLY $7! CLICK HERE
If you are planning to get from Havana to Varadero there are mainly two ways to do that. The first one is by bus. You’ll be together with other travelers and you usually don’t make any stops or travel detours.
The other solution is to book a taxi with a driver who will drive you from Havana to Varadero. The trip is about 1 hour and half, so it’s going to be pretty light. If you travel with other people you can split the ride cost and enjoy the trip more “privately”.
Booking a private ride allows you travel at your one terms and eventually plan some stops during the trip to take some pictures or visit other areas.
>>TRAVELING TO HAVANA? DO IT LIKE A LOCAL! GET OUR MINI GUIDE FOR ONLY $7! CLICK HERE
Traveling to Varadero
I had the chance to visit Varadero a couple of times. As I said, there are several resorts and big hotels, most of them built during the 80′. I went to one of those places and, to be honest, you can’t really feel if you are in Cuba or not. I stayed there only one night.
I recommend you to book a casa particular in the area, your overall experience will be different!
Also, unless you are a “beach mode” person and you want to lay all day long on the beach, I recommend you to pass only a few days in Varadero and then move to other areas such as Havana, Vinales, Pinar del Rio etc.
How to get from Havana to Varadero: book a tour
As you might know internet connection in Cuba is not the best ever! It’s definitely improving but if you need to make reservations online and you already know your calendar it’s better if you book in advance.
On the link below, you can book your taxi from Havana to Varadero. It’s like a tour so you will also have the chance to visit the local attractions and travel with an authentic car.
Hello! In this post I want to show you how to rent a car in Havana and have a safe experience in this amazing city.
Cuba is a hot travel location right now (especially if you are American 🙂
If it’s the first time you are traveling to Cuba you probably have a million of questions and things you want to know before jumping on your airplane. That’s why you have this blog!
Are you ready? Let’s start!
Rent a car in Havana: the city
Havana is a large city divided in four main areas: Vedado, Old Havana, Miramar and Centro Havana.
Especially if you are visiting the Old part of the city (which is the most fascinating and touristic one) you will have some trouble moving with a car. Most of the area is pedestrian only and there are not many parking.
Also, there aren’t many rent a car in Cuba and the prices are definitely high. Furthermore the Old City is pretty chaotic and driving in the city might be a little tricky especially during the night time.
How to rent a car in Havana: the solution
Since I think you don’t want to make your stay in Havana a problem the best solution I personally recommend is to have a private driver driving you around the city. It’s not that expensive and you don’t need to care about traffic and other dangers.
Usually to have a private driver for the entire day in Havana is about $100 (CUC, local currency). I have different contacts so I can help you to book a driver if you need one (check the bottom of the page)
Plus, often times, the driver can give you some precious tips to help you discover amazing places. If you arrive at the Havana airport
That said, you can hire a private taxi driver with a classic car (almendron) who will drive you around the city of Havana for a tour or for the entire day if you plan to have an excursionin Vinales or Varadero
Despite renting a car might be the best solution if you want to have a trip across the island, it is absolutely better for you if you move with touristic buses or with a private taxi as I’ve previously stated.
If you need help to book a car just click on the link below and you’ll be able to book your car in Havana.