We have just returned from three fantastic nights in Havana- definitely not long enough, we feel like we only just scratched the surface!
We traveled to Havana from Nassau and quickly discovered that Cubana Air is reliably late on that route. But we got there in the end! We arrived on a Friday night and left on Monday morning, staying at Hotel Nacional. We booked our trip through Havanatur in Nassau, who were very easy to deal with.
Here is a list of our favourite experiences, in no particular order:
• Hotel Nacional- yes it’s a little shabby around the edges, but where else in the world can you experience the ambiance of a place like that?! And we were ideally situated to watch the Carnival on the Malecon below us every night.
• A guided tour- We had arranged a guide for our first day though Jorge, after recommendations from this forum. Alessandro was fantastic, very passionate about his city and its history. He took us through Old Havana in detail and pointed out many ‘non-touristy’ places for us to revisit later, such as O’Reilly’s bar for the best mojitos without the crowds of La Bodeguita Del Medio
• The food- I know people say a trip to Cuba is not about the food, but we had fantastic meals (although not your typical American-style food). Three meals stand out- the first was lunch at a little paladar recommended by our guide, at which I had the most fantastic chicken with pineapple and discovered I loved yuca. The second was dinner on our last night, at the restaurant in Hostel Valencia- amazing steak! And the third was lunch at Café de Paris. Just simple pizza and a sandwich but done so well.
• Sitting on the balcony at O’Reilly’s bar drinking mojitos, listening to the music and watching the people pass by
• Walking along the Malecon in the afternoon from Old Havana to the hotel- long but very worth it!
• Carnival!! So much energy - the Cuban people really know how to party!
I could go on and on! We did not visit any Museums this trip, although we did go to the Capitolo. We also just wandered around Old Havana, people watching and soaking up the atmosphere. The people were so friendly and helpful and not once did we feel at all unsafe. We caught taxis and the yellow bubbles with ease. I would love to go back again, as there was so much we wanted to see and do but simply ran out of time!