By Cuba Specialist and Tour Leader, Nicole Munoz.
Having recently become more accessible to tourists, and with plenty of usual rules (cash only!), Cuba remains somewhat of mystery to even the most experienced travellers. So I thought I’d outline five things that you just must do upon visiting Havana.
- Step back in time and cruise the streets of Havana in a vintage convertible
Yes, it may seem cheesy, but what better way to explore Havana than in a vintage American car? It’s a great way to sightsee, transporting us back to the 1950s and the time of Ernest Hemingway. This is very similar to a car I recently bought, to use on our tours!
- Get lost wandering the streets of Old Havana and enjoying the colonial buildings
A tour in a convertible may give you a great view, but it’s not until we start exploring by foot that we really discover what Havana is all about. There are hidden laneways with surprises on every corner: cigar shops, casas, crumbling facades and weirdly enough, outdoor Internet stations – these need to be seen to be believed!
- Have a cigar and mojito at Hotel Nacional
Hotel Nacional is the grand dame of Havana, having been frequented by artists, actors, and writers, like Frank Sinatra, Ernest Hemingway and Marlon Brando. It was declared a national monument in 1998, and continues to be in more ways than one: we pop by to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy Cubans’ favourite things – a cigar and a mojito!
- Take a sunset stroll along the malecon (boardwalk) for a people-watching experience
The Malecon is Havana’s soul, and is therefore a must-visit when in town. It’s surrounded by charming buildings and is home to lots of cafes and bars, where locals hang out. This makes it the perfect spot for some people-watching, admiring the local way of life. We always aim to visit at sunset, as the light reflects on the water and buildings, creating a picture-perfect setting.
- Have a daiquiri at the Floridita bar made famous by Ernest Hemingway.
There’s something about Ernest Hemingway – he tended to make all his drinking establishments famous. This Floridita bar in particular is very proud of its reputation as the home of the daiquiri. With a lively environment and live band, it’s the ideal spot to drink in all that’s great about Cuba – literally!
To experience all of these must dos, and plenty more, join Nicole for one of her signature small-group tours with Mosaic Travel. More information can be found at mosaictravel.com.au/tours/cuba-libre/0