As many of you know by now, I was able to spend some time in Cuba. I had been traveling around Asia before then and had only ONE DAY of “rest” between Asia and Cuba. You can imagine what it did to my immune system. But with good faith, I kept on going because this was the trip I was excited for most of all!
I’ve outlined an itinerary for how we explored Cuba with suggestions on how to make your trip better. This trip was about relaxing for me, so I did not go too crazy on the activities. However, I’ve listed some activities that I believe are necessary and worth doing as well.
Arrive at Josi Marti International Airport. Take taxi to desired destination. We took ours to our casa particular near the Plaza de la Revolucion and it took us about 25 minutes to get there.
Arrive at the casa particular and freshen up/rest.
Walk around your neighborhood in search for food! You will find some. There are several little restaurants that extend from houses or that are along major roads. We were able to stumble upon local bakeries and restaurants that were delicious!
Get to know your neighborhood and how to get around by bus. Most people travel by bus in Cuba so you will surely be able to get to your desired destination without a problem. (Not to mention save a little money too!)
We stayed in the rest of the day and night because we were exhausted from the journey to Cuba. We took the time to rest, plan and strategize what to do for the upcoming days.
I highly suggest talking to the people who are hosting you during your stay. They will be able to point you in the right direction and give you tips that only a local will know.
**If you don’t want to stay in and plan. I recommend going to Old Havana where you can enjoy a drink with a local, listen to jazz or go salsa dancing.**
Buy tickets for Varadero in advance at Via Azul Bus station. (10 CUC per person each way)
Get breakfast nearby and a nice cup of Cuban coffee!
Take nearest local bus to El Malecon. Once at El Malecon, walk along the ocean and enjoy the view!
Lunch near El Malecon.
Explore El Malecon some more or head to Old Havana. We walked there, but if you’re tired of walking in the heat and humidity there are always taxis nearby.
(TIP: Taxi Collectivo’s are way cheaper than regular taxis. The difference? Taxi’s are like UberPools-no app needed!)
Enjoy dinner in Old Havana and go Salsa dancing! Or go back to the neighborhood of your casa particular like we did and have a romantic dinner on a balcony in a local restaurant.
Good morning! By now you’ve probably noticed that everything opens late in Cuba. If you go out around this time you’ll be sure to find something scrumptious to eat.
Head to Old Havana by bus to explore.
My favorite meal was in Old Havana along the busiest main street. It’s full of tourist and the place looks like a cafeteria. The meal doesn’t even look pretty, but it was the most satisfying meals I ever had in Cuba.
**To get there walk down the street past La Pina de Plata on Obispo street. You’ll know it’s the street because there are a lot of tourists walking in the same direction. Keep walking until you see a store on your left hand side with pictures of pizza on the window. That’s the place you’ll find the best meal. Go to the back counter and order from the ladies there. Pair with an orange soda in a brown glass bottle or beer and you’re set!
Grab a daiquiri at El Floridita for Hemingway’s favorite and most famous drink in Cuba.
Alternate Plan: We spent the whole day in Havana and it was pretty fun because there are so many people here. The energy is up all the time in Old Havana. However, you can do El Malecon and Old Havana in one day if you want to. If you do this I suggest doing a day trip with a tour guide to Vinales. Vinales is home of several plantations where you can enjoy tobacco, plantains and horseback riding.
Arrive at Via Azul bus station where they will take you to Varadero Beach.
It is about a 3-hour bus ride and a 15-minute taxi ride to the nearest beach. You can choose from more secluded beaches to commercialized ones near hotels. Either way you will be awestruck by the beauty of the water.
The last bus back to Havana leaves at this time. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get back! At least 30 minutes!
Enjoy dinner in Old Havana or somewhere near your casa particular. There are plenty of options that are still open at this time.
Head back home.
The people we stayed with were kind enough to give us a ride back to the airport for a small fee. However, there are taxis everywhere and you can arrange for one to bring you to the airport. Or once again share a taxi with strangers and pay half the price (taxi collectivo).
P.S. If you have any questions, comments or tips of your own about traveling to Cuba comment below!