Category Archives: Cuba

Havana: imagination and reality

What Havana and Cuba, in general, transmit to the world, everbody must be tired of knowing: Rum, propaganda of Che and Fidel, Mojito, historic buildings, old cars, musicality, Daiquiri, Malecón <3, etc…

Combinando em Havana :)

Combining in Havana :)

Degustação de rum, um dos maiores produtos de exportação de Cuba, no museu do Rum, em Havana.

Rum tasting at the Rum museum in Havana.

O tradicional Mojito do La Bodeguita Del Medio (lugar que ficou conhecido pelo seu mais famoso frequentador: Hemminway)

The traditional Mojito of La Bodeguita Del Medio (place that was known by its most famous guest: Hemminway)

Preparação de Daiquiri, no famoso La Floridita, também devido ao cliente fiel Hemminway.

Preparation of Daiquiri, in the famous La Floridita.

Curiosa imagem no nosso caminho de todo dia entre o Centro de Habana e a Habana Vieja

Curious image took in our daily path between the Center of Habana and Old Havana

What I didn’t know is that behind this Cuba, let’s say traditional, there are many other sensations and flavors to discover. I had the pleasure of trying some of them and now I share with you.

From now on, I say that our biggest source of research were the Lonely Planet travel guide (I bought the English version, as I didn’t find it in Portuguese) and updated travel blog posts on internet.

In that guide we got almost all the tips on where we should eat and drink in Havana, mainly because it isn’t uncommon we have troubles with food and beverage during our trips. If you understand what I mean… 😉

We visited the very good La Guarida and we didn’t regret. The entrance to the building where this restaurant is located is quite unusual. Think of an abandoned building with walls needing a renovation. This is the entrance of La Guarida … until you go up the stairs and access the halls where tourists, especially, have a great meal and a special view from Havana. Reservations are highly recommended.

Entrada do La Guarida

Entrance of La Guarida

View of one of the salons of La Guarida

Lonely Planet guide also gave us the tip of visiting Fusterland, an eccentric neighborhood all adorned in tiles. According to its idealizer, José Fuster, a homage to the Spanish Gaudi. :)

Fusterland is a bit far from Habana Vieja and downtown Habana. We chose to get there by car and we made sure to agree about the price we would pay for the cab with the gentle driver, who took us and still waited for us to bring back to Havana Vieja. (Cabs and bicitáxi aren’t cheap if compared to other turistic places in the world)

We had a good time there, however it could have been even better in a sunny day. That day rained cats and dogs in Havana and we had to spend more than half a hour inside a gallery waiting for Saint Peter collaborates with our tour. 😉

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As good fans of street art that we are, we didn’t miss the opportunity to make registers of some graffiti and murals around Havana. It was a great surprise to see a “modern” art mixed with those historic buildings. Amazing!

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Arte de rua em Havana

Arte de rua em Havana

Cuba, I miss you already! I hope one day to meet you again and get surprised many other times. <3

When we made to Cuba

I write this post listening to “Buena Vista Social Club” and I really recommend that you allow yourself to get to know the Cuban music. “El Cuarto de Tula” is pure synergy. Amazing! Do not be surprised if you want to start immediately wiggling your hips and / or shoulders. Cuba is musicality, bodies in movement, instruments everywhere you look.

I felt very welcomed in the land of the Castro brothers. Firstly, when I got the visa at the Cuban embassy in Brasilia. I contacted them by phone and a woman informed me that I should, in the first place, pay a fee of approximately R$ 60.00 (sixty brazilian reais) and two days later I would go to the embassy with my passport and the copies of  flight and hotel/airbnb reservation. Ready! I went to the embassy and few minutes later I was leaving with my visa in hand. Easy easy! 

Embaixada de Cuba em Brasília

Cuban embassy in Brasília

When landing in Havana (my flight was operated by Copa Airlines – Brasilia / Panama / Havana), again more tranquility. I got surprised, because the last few times I passed to the passport control in a country by myself, I had to answer many questions. However, fortunately, this didn’t happen in Cuba.

Pronta para o embarque :)

Ready to board :)

Sobrevoando a Ilha de Cuba <3

Caribbean overview <3

It called my attention how the cuban women that work in the airport were dressed. Their uniform was a short skirt with a black and funny pantyhose. When you’re in Havana’s airport, pay attention to it. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture to show you here.

No aeroporto de Havana... (além das propagandas de governo, as de bebidas rum e cerveja foram as únicas que avistei)

At the Habana airport…rum and beer advertisement

While I was waiting for my boyfriend’s flight to land, I exchanged the euros I had brought for Cuban convertible pesos (the currency used by tourists in Cuba). A Cuban convertible peso is equivalent to the US dollar. However, bringing the US currency is not a good deal, because this transaction involves an extra fee of 10%.

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Paper notes of peso conversível

For some Brazilian tourists, Cuba can be considered an expensive travel destination. It is a fact that our currency isn’t competitive compared to US dollar or euro. In this case, we need to go there remembering the sentence: “who converts does not have fun”. Haha! I can guarantee that it is a worthy investiment!

Havana airport is a bit distant from the most touristy regions of the city, which are Habana Vieja (undoubtedly the most touristy and where you should stay if the goal is really to feel the “Cuban soul”), Centro Habana (where our airbnb apartment took place, next to the Malecón, and only a few minutes walk from Habana Vieja) and Vedado (more residential area). Then we arranged a transfer service with our host, who was waiting for us at the agreed time.

Vista do Malecón a partir do nosso apartamento alugado pela plataforma airbnb

View of the Malecon from our apartment

That would be just the first day of a week in the historic Cuba. <3