Everything You Need To Know: Havana, Cuba
Havana; the capital of Cuba, is the best place to soak up the true Cuban atmosphere that the world expects when they visit. Unlike some of the smaller cities Havana doesn’t just welcome you into Cuban life, it smacks you round the face with it. A few days in this crazy city is often enough before you are just exhausted and suffocated by it. Not least by the soot from the old cars that swarms around the streets!
But don’t let that put you off, Cuba is definitely somewhere that deserves to be added to your bucket list, and here’s why…
If you are seeking a place to dance the night away to fantastic live Cuban bands, drinking strong mojitos and making some fantastic new friends, then Havana is the place to go. Cuba has an amazing party atmosphere, but perhaps the best of it is found in the heart of Havana’s old town. You will find a band in pretty much every bar, and the music is great. Even for those of you with two left feet, you will find your feet instinctively tapping your toes along to classic songs such as ‘Guantanamera’.
Most people do not know that Cuba’s has dealt with much more that the 1959 revolution and communist rule that has shaped its recent history. In fact this was only the most recent in a long history of uprisings and political struggles. It is no surprise, therefore, that Cuba’s political history can be seen at every turn, whether in the elaborate buildings designed to show Cuba’s wealth and status to the world, or in the graffiti that adorns many of Havana’s buildings.
Communist Cuba put a focus on ensuring that the arts were supported, with funding for dance and fine art resulting in some of the most incredible centres to showcase Cuban talent. Music, of course, has flourished in Cuba and forms an important part of Cuban life. Sometimes the best culture is just spending time with the locals hanging out on the Malecon, or playing dice and drinking rum in the streets.
You can’t head to the Caribbean without trying rum, it is pretty much the only spirit that locals drink and, the most famous is of course Havana Club. Whether you like your white rum (blanco), dark rum (10 anos) or golden (3 anos) then you will be in for a treat. It is almost cheaper to drink rum than water in Cuba, so why not try the national drink: Cuba Libre or even a refreshing mojito. Maybe it will give you the courage to salsa.
Cuban cigars are renowned as the best in the world, and they don’t get better than when they are freshly rolled. A day trip to Vinales to the tobacco factories is a must, but there a few government owned cigar shops (legal sellers) across Havana that keep them in humadors so that they are perfect. At a fraction of the price you can buy them at home, and much better quality – why not give them a try!
Have I convinced you to visit? If so, you will want to read the following;
Where to stay
What to do
Where to eat
10 things you need to know when you visit Cuba