The Cuban metropolis where vintage cars fly by your nose, the walm of cigars meets you, the rum flows richly and reggaeton beats sound: Cuba! If you think of Cuba, Havana is probably the first city you think about! Perhaps because of the completely flat-turned and eponymous song 'Havana', but also because of the great popularity of recent years. When ties between America and Cuba were improved in 2014, the urge to visit the country grew as soon as possible. Mine too! I'll take you to some notable elements That I want to tell you about my visit to Cuba!
Your trip to Cuba should not be missed by a (multi-day) visit to Havana! V
isit the old center Habana Vieja (translated: old Havana), the valhalla for lovers of architecture! The many squares, impressive palaces and colourful buildings form the basis for the most photogenic part of Havana. Don't miss the Malecón on your visit to Havana! Really beautiful and bubbly this boulevard is not to be mentioned, but you must have seen this one! Oh, Havana not only hit the charts with the song 'Havana', but also 'Hasta Que SeQue el Malecón' reached the top 10. Listen 😉
If you read this blog during your visit to Cuba, streaming the above hit is a little more difficult… Right on arrival in Cuba, it feels like you're going back in time 100 years. In addition to the culture and environment that take you back in time, the concept of 'internet' is not yet fully grounded. Addicted to your cell phone? Cuba is the perfect solution to detox.' A working Internet connection is not at all self-evident here! It is only during your trip that you will find out how normal internet has become. View tomorrow's weather forecast, find a nice restaurant nearby, or post a envy-making photo on your Instagram. Unfortunately, that's probably not in it… In more and more places in Cuba, the phenomenon of Wi-Fi hotspots is starting to grow. These places are located in the most random places in the city and can be recognized by masses of people focused on their phones (quite logically yes), Cuban loitering youngsters and tourists who understand very little about it. To use the Internet, you need an ETECSA scratch card. Unfortunately, no prize, an hour of internet (where is Gaston from the postcode lottery if you need it)…
Thought you were on the other side of the world, very far away from all dutch customs and barely internet on your phone, the Cuban Carnival reminds you of home… When you think of carnival, you think of: Limburg, beer and the polonaise. There's more! One of the most exuberantly celebrated celebrations in Cuba is the Cuban Carnival. Despite the celebration mainly celebrated in Santiago de Cuba, the people in Havana are certainly not averse to a good party. After sunset, a large procession of decorated cars, beautifully dressed people and a lot of music moves over the Malecón. Spectators of the parade stand dancing along the way and enjoy (large quantities) of rum. The date of the Cuban Carnival varies quite a bit every year. Usually the party is celebrated in February, but can sometimes also take place in July or August. The date on which the Cuban Carnival will be held next year is best to be found online. Keep in mind many fully booked hotels during this period, so be quick if you want to experience this!
The Cuban Carnival is a perfect bridge for the following point: rum and cigars. The world famous Havana Club Rum can't be imagined from the life of the average Cuban. Rum is therefore seen as the national drink of Cuba! Where we mix rum in the Netherlands into a Cuba Libre or Bacardi Cola, in Cuba it is only natural to drink the drink purely. In addition to the rum, Cuban Cigars are Cuba's second largest export product. Currently there are more than 40 types of cigars and the so-called 'torcedor', i.e. cigar rolls, rolls about 120 cigars a day. Cigar factories can be found all over the country. Factories that you can visit as tourists are the Cigar Factory of Partagás in Havana and Francisco Donatien in Pinar del Rio. When you take the cigars to the Netherlands, you need to take into account the permitted amount of 50 cigars per person.
Between the cultural activities by a day relaxing at the beach? Then the coastal strips of Havana, Varadero and Holguín are perfect! Due to the subtropical climate, you enjoy the white beaches at every time of the season and the sun is abundant. Especially in northern Cuba, tourists in large groups gather in comfortable all-inclusive resorts. Skinnydipping is probably not there for you in this year… 😉
Prior to your trip to Cuba, you need to take into account the time-to-date visa and the slightly different payment method. When you book your trip with a tour operator, the Visa, also called the tourist card, is most likely included in your trip. Check this out for a double, because on arrival you can't go into the country doesn't seem very pleasant… Besides sifting through whether or not to have a Visa, I advise you to delve into the payment method in Cuba (which has cost me a little effort and no I am not blonde). In the country, two types of currencies are in circulation: Pesos and CUC. The inhabitants of Cuba pay with Pesos Cubanos or CUP, tourists with Peso Convertible, CUC. To make it even more difficult, CUC is also known as 'peso' or 'dollar'. This is due to the fact that 1CUC equals 1 Us Dollar. Are you still following me? Please note that pins in Cuba are only possible in few places!
I like to close this blog about Cuba with the song that will still wander in your head in the next hour, thank me later: Havana oh nana, half of my heart is in Havana…