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