Located in the north of Cuba, La Havana/La Habana is one of oldest and most attractive cities in the island. Loved for its colorful houses, buzzing nightlife and street music. What I personally loved the most was enjoying a good meal on its rooftop restaurants followed by a nice Cuban cigar with honey. Yes! with honey (around the filter: sooo good!).
Where to stay
Best area in my opinion is not by the coast (El Malecon) or modern side of the city (as you would be missing the magic of Cuba) but in the Old Town for a truly authentic experience. Also stay in Casas Particulares with a host family for as little as 15-30 CUC/night (per couple) – exchange rate: here
I stayed in Calle Cuba and La Havana, right at the heart of the Old Town and absolutely loved being able to get out and walk around local markets, squares and art shops at any time during the day
Eat like a local
Tamal – chicken or vegetables wrapped in bananas leaves
Also try other starters : Gambas con mejillones (prawns with mussels with garlic sauce); Arepas rellana (flat breads made with maize and filled with guacamole, grated carrot, lettuce and either chicken and or grilled vegetables). Whereas popular mains among locals are Ropa vieja a la cubana aka ‘old rags’(shredded braised beef) and Masitas de cerdo (cinnamon sautéed pork shoulder).
Party like a local
Casa da Musica – to enjoy the very BEST salsa’s bands of Cuba
Bar Roma – rooftop bar with good international vibe and unique Cuban style
Tikoa – 100% Cuban music on party street Calle 23 full of other traditional bars/clubs.
More of La Havana’s nightlife: here
Must-Go historical bars
Floridita (home of Daiquiri’s cocktail)
and Bodeguita del Medio (Hemingway’s favourite bar and place of choice for mojito)
There is not nothing better than just exploring and wandering around Havana’s picturesque streets. Lterally ANY street will enchant you with either its colourful buildings or palpable history. You will experience a sense of welcoming: all the doors are open reflecting cubans personalities. I have never felt safer than I was in any other place I have ever visited, at any time during the day and night.
San Jose’s Arts & Crafts Market for your souvenirs
On my very last day in La Havana, few hours before my return flight) I was told by locals of this place where to get last minute souvenirs from. Little I knew how HUGE it was. The selection they had was incredible. Never seen anything like that. Amazing and unique pieces of arts at a third of the price from Havana’s streets shops. I was gutted I only discovered it at the very end; so thought of adding this to my Travel Tip list for La Havana so you don’t miss out! – San Jose’s Market
Alternatively calle Obispo is the city’s street for souvenirs (but triple of the price…just saying!)
Playa Boca Ciega – experience crystalline waters just off Havana city in one of the most beautiful undiscovered beaches. You might hear about Veradero beach: full of resorts, over 60 hotels and hundreds restaurants. So why going there? just enjoy a pure local destination by Habaneros, off the crowded beaches. A relaxing and authentic time.