Arrive in Havana midday and take a cab to your Casa Particular in Miramar- a neighborhood of Havana. The airport is approximately 30 mins away from Havana so it’s a great way to see some of the rural landscape as you head into the city.
After getting checked in, waste no time and head into Old Havana. Most casa’s have access to call a cab for you but I highly recommend taking a taxi collectivo. It’s the Cuban version of Uber, except you flag a car down on the street and you pay a small fee to get wherever you’re going. Cubans use this method of transportation as the buses are over crowded and many drivers only charge 2-4 CUCs depending how far you’re going.
Every night, my recommendation is the same…dinner & dancing. Head to StarBien Restaurante for dinner.
Wake up early and head to Hotel Inglaterra, where you meet your tour guide, Saúl, for a day tour of Havana. This tour was an incredible way to get our bearings around Havana and cross off some of learning some of the history. I highly recommend booking through Locally Sourced Havana Tours and asking for Saúl. The morning consists of a walking tour through Havana, a full lunch and a classic car tour which all wrap up at Hotel Nacional for drinks around 4 or 5pm.
Grab dinner at El Cocinero and head next door to Fabrica de Arte to dance the night away.
Wake up and have a leisurely breakfast, head to Santa Maria del mar. It’s about a 40 minute drive from Havana but the beach is absolutely incredible. Locals boast that the water is five distinctly different shades of blue and they were certainly right. Spend the day at the beach and head back to Havana to get ready for dinner at Paladar Atelier.
On this specific trip, we checked out of our Airbnb this day and stayed our last few days at the Melia Cohiba. The hotel was nice but definitely not a “must.” We spent the early afternoon at the pool and spent the early evening grabbing drinks before dinner at La Guarida.
After dinner, walk along the Malecón where many locals hang out at night. The Malecón is a roadway and seawall along the coast, which is a great spot to get some relief from the heat.
Day trip to Viñales… coming tomorrow! Stop back to read more.
Spend the morning roaming around Old Havana and pick up any last minute cigars you want to bring back home, grab a street churro for one last sweet taste of Cuba and head to the airport.
La Floridita– bright pink right at the top of Ospibo St (Bishop St). A bit touristy but the location boasts it’s most famous guest Ernest Hemingway.
La Bodeguita Del Medio- definitely touristy but this is where the mojito was created. There is always a crowd but great live music. Perfect to catch a mid day cocktail while you explore the streets of Havana
Hotel Saratoga rooftop – poolside drinks with a great view of the city. Perfect for a relaxing night.
Hotel Nacional de Cuba– this infamous hotel is great for a drink out on the veranda. Easily the best mojitos in Havana and a great spot to put up your feet and enjoy a cuban cigar
King Bar– lots of dancing and live music, very much a club atmosphere but a lot of fun
Fabrica de Arte– probably my favorite evening out in Havana. Fabrica de Arte is an incredibly restored warehouse that is a night club combined with an art museum. Plan to spend all night here as between the art, live music and incredible DJ’s, you won’t want to leave. The line is incredibly long and starts to form early but if you’re dying to get in, you can sweet talk the bouncers for a few CUCs.
Casa de musica- live music and two shows a night, go early to avoid the line
El Cocinero- directly next door to Fabrica de Arte, this nondescript restaurant has amazing rooftop dining. Definitely ask to be seated on the roof
La Guarida– this “hideaway” paladar is one of the most unique places to dine in all of Havana. The restaurant sits inside what appears to be a run down building but once inside, you’ll see all the charm La Guarida has to offer. Asked to be seated on the roof and make sure to go up to the highest point for an incredible 360 degree view of Havana
Paladar Atelier – this paladar is one the most highly rated restaurants in all of Havana. The food options may seem a little odd on the menu but friends agreed it was one of the best meals of their life. I had to agree.
StarBien Restaurante- a quieter paladar in a residential area in a beautifully restored home. Asked to be seated outside and enjoy the Italian/ Cuban fusion.
*make all dinner reservations prior to arriving in Cuba, check out more tips from yesterday’s post
Overall, there are so many places to “get lost” in while visiting Cuba. The people are so friendly so if you need help or are looking for a recommendation, just ask! There were so many no-name places we stopped into to grab a drink which were all fantastic.
Feel free to reach out with any questions. If you’ve traveled to Cuba before, is there anything I’ve missed?
Beautiful article and photographs