Unless you live under a rock you know Cuban cigars are considered the best in the world. You can visit the Partagas Cigar Factory in Havana for a guided tour or head to Vinales and roam an organic tobacco farm. Decide for yourself if Cubans really are the best.
Cuba had AirBnb before it was cool – and it comes in the form of Casa Particulars. The government allows locals to host tourists and you can live in houses and buildings along side a family. It gives you a unique insight into Cuban life and was one of my favorite experiences of the trip.
World Class entertainment
Whether you are at the Tropicana, Buena Vista Social Club, seeing the ballet or just in a random bar on who knows what street you will see some amazing live singing, and dancing.
The Vintage Cars
Ride (or just admire) the vintage cars. If you do ride in one make sure to negotiate fares before you leave, there are no meters in any of them. Good news is they are everywhere and easy to find.
live truly Off the grid
Enjoy being off the grid without a connection of wifi or social media. Or if you have a job like my husband (lawyer) enjoy the office not being able to reach you.
Just a short 2 hour drive from the Havana Airport is Varadero – a beautiful town with 22 km of white sandy beaches. The palm trees, pineapple drinks and crystal blue water will leave you breathless.
Havana Club is the most popular brand and is sold in every restaurant and bar. Mojitios are typically the drink of choice and are quite refreshing in the hot Caribbean sun.
You could just go to any local restaurant, or street corner, and dance the night away but I suggest taking a salsa lesson while in Havana. I recommend Salsador a Cuba they charge $14 per person per hour and the lesson is one on one. They start with the basics and work all the way up to advanced combinations. It is not unusual to plan 3 or 4 days of lessons, actually it is what most people do! Start with one and you will be hooked!
Of course what vacation is complete without massive amounts of great food? Don’t worry, Cuba has tons. Between low cost street food, trendy tapas and cervezas places and locally run paladars you won’t go hungry. Here are my top food recommendations.
experience Real Cuban Life
Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. Cuba is very safe and walking around REAL Cuban neighbourhoods is both an eye-opening and enlightening experience. You will see kids playing in the streets, groups of men working on vintage cars, local bakeries and street vendors selling fresh fruit.
A day trip to Vinales is a must do when in Cuba. Taxis from Havana are cheap to get there and back and the countryside is straight out of a movie. You can horseback ride, hike, tour organic farms or just walk the pretty city.
Full guide to Vinales here.
If you are certified you can go to some of the best and clearest waters in Havana. We used Barracuda Divers and did two dives over the course of an afternoon at the Bay of Pigs.
Full Review here.