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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Road to Havana, Cuba


Bonjour, Bonsoir, welcome back to the blog. Today I am sharing details about my trip to Cuba. Two weeks ago I spent a few days in Cuba and it was an amazing travel experience. I shared photos from the trip on my instagram along with insta stories and my instgram friends asked me to share details about the trip, which inspired this blog post. Consider this post a mini guide to Cuba.
THE VISA
This is mostly for my US babes because I am not familiar with how it works for other countries. If you are traveling to Cuba from the US with an American passport, you need a visa, a reason and proof of return such as a return flight ticket. We traveled with JetBlue because it is super easy to get the visa is from JetBlue. You can purchase the visa for a one time fee of $50 at the airport while checking in for your flight. JetBlue does not allow you to do an early check in for flights to Cuba, you have to check in at the airport.

There is a limited list of reasons that you may choose from. For my reason, I chose journalistic activity because of this blog and my YouTube channel but I traveled with friends and they chose support for the Cuban people which was also fine. You have to choose your reason while booking the flight.
MONEY
I suggest you exchange your US currency to euro. Not because of the "American" stigma that I see a lot of people try to bring up but because if you go with US money, you might end up loosing some money or end up confusing yourself thinking that you have more money to spend than you actually do because the US dollar is sometimes valued lower than the CUC, at best, a US dollar would be the equivalent of the CUC. I exchanged my money with my bank and they did it for free.

Bring cash, all of us brought cash, I do not recall seeing anyone (other tourists) using credit cards for purchases anywhere. You cannot buy anything with any foreign currency while in Cuba even at the airport in Cuba, I had to use CUC to pay for my checked bag. There is also the "peso nacionales" which is another currency in Cuba which is lower than the CUC. I recall people using it only at the market but for the most part, you will be using CUC.
FOOD
Before going to Cuba, most people who have been to Cuba warned me about the food. I was told that the food was bad and scarce. When I heard these claims, I would always think to myself, "how do the people survive if that's the case? There wouldn't be any Cubans in Cuba if there was no food because we all need food to survive. The part of me that loves Cuban food here in the States did not want to believe that. In my experience, the food was good, however my experience is very limited because my friend Rose (Dadouchic) found the two amazing food spots and we ate at those restaurants every day.
WHERE WE ATE
For breakfast we ate at Cafe Archangel and for dinner we ate at Fonda La Paila. The food in Cuba is very cheap! A spread of breakfast for three ran us about 18 CUC which is about $18 US and I am not talking about anything basic, I am talking about fresh squeezed fruit juices (No chemicals, no GMOs or toxins) coffee, tea, a fruit salad per person and a breakfast entree. At Fonda La Paila, the cocktails were about 3 CUC and a full course meal with seafood for 8 CUC. We picked up an authentic Cuban sandwich at a local spot that our driver recommended but I do not recall the name of the place. But ask the locals for recommendations, it always works. We also had the best ice cream from one of the vendors at the shopping strip in Old Havana.  
TRANSPORTATION
The most popular form of transportation in Havana, Cuba is the classic cars. Everyone uses them including the locals. There are the "fancier" classic cars that tourists use to take a trip around Havana. The ride for an hour is 25 CUC and you can add as many additional hours as you like for an extra 25 CUC per hour. We ended up riding for 2 hours. The driver will take you around and show you different historical landmarks.
THE BEACH
If you are staying in Havana and would love to go to the beach, I suggest you go to Vedado because the beach nearest Havana, Santa Maria beach, gets super crowded, especially on the weekend! If you want to go to Santa Maria beach, your best bet would be to go on weekdays while the locals are working because Cubans love their beach on the weekend!
OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO
There is a popular horse back riding tour that a lot of tourists take when they go to Cuba. We wanted to go but we ended not going for one reason or another.  Havana reminds me of New Orleans in so many ways. There is live Jazz Music, parties, salsa classes and festivals. I really want to go back to Havana for the horse tour in the country, a salsa class and some fun parties Cuban Style, hahaha
THE INTERNET
Yes, the internet is a struggle in Cuba and I liked it because it allowed me to disconnect for the majority of my time in Cuba. The wifi park is the worst. Imagine a bunch of people in one area trying to use wifi? The wifi is super slow at the park. Luckily, the street that we stayed on had a park and wifi was also available in our airbnb. Do not get this confused... just because wifi is available in an area does not mean you can go there and use it without a wifi card. In addition to wifi being available in a certain areas, you have to have a wifi card to get access to that wifi. The card costs 1 CUC each. There is usually a long line to purchase the card and they sell up to 3 cards per person. You need to give the cashier your passport in order to purchase a wifi card. You can buy the card for 2 CUC from random guys that hang around the wifi stores. 

Thank you so much stopping by. Feel free to leave any questions you may have regarding Cuba in the comments. I will cover more of each topics in details in future Cuba posts.

See you soon.
XoX 


3 comments:

  1. Thank you taking the time curate such a vibrant and wonderful post. Cuba is on my bucket list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where did u guys stay an air bnb?

    ReplyDelete

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