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Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

London, United...
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Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

Me and the girlfriend are taking a two day stop in Havana before moving onto Varadero. Can anyone suggest any ideas for an itinery. What we are looking for really is to experience some Cuban Culture and History before going on to what most people describe as a place that is far removed from the country as a whole. We both enjoy history and art in the day and would like to experience some authentic Cuban entertainment, food and drink in the evenings. We are going to be staying at the Parque Central as this seems to be a good location in the eyes of the Havana experts on this form. Did want to try the Club Tropicana too but am put off by the reviews of it being an overpriced tourist trap. Can anyone advise please as I am steering away from going there but dont want to regret not going when I leave. Are there any other places that are tourist friendly that give the Cuban flavour of entertainment and culture that anyone can suggest?

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1. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

Hi Spicyhippo,

I have just got back from the most wonderful week in Hanana with my husband. We stayed at the Parque Central and it was absolutely superb. During the course of the week we did several tours with different tour guides and by far the best guide was Jorge whose services we could only secure for the first day. Jorge can be contacted at jorgeguide@yahoo.es.

He took us round the Museum of Revolution and really brought the history of Cuba and its people to life. Other people in the museum were earwigging on what he was telling us. Unlike other guides we had he tells you so much rather than you having to ask all the time, and what he tells you is so much more interesting than the bog standard guide book information the other guides gave us. We spent about 3 hours there and unfortunately Jorge had to leave us but I would suggest if you can get him for the full two days use him ( you will not get anyone better and his rates are very reasonable). Go to the Capitol which is a short walk from the hotel and have a tour of the old town - if Jorge can take you all the better. I would stick to the old town if you are only there for two days as there are some fabulous museums and art galleries ( I never got to the Museum of Fine arts but plan to return to Havana soon) Revolution Square is a taxi journey away but you drive past it going to and from the airport so you would see it then - its ok but nothing like the culture you get in the old town.

If you are there for two nights I would suggest you go to the Canon Ceremony for one night (again Jorge can take you to this)and then have dinner in the old town after We did this with another guide who was not very good ( he reminded me of Borat "Here are the soliders in their uniforms - they look nice)" Whereas Jorge would have told us the history of the ceremony along with loads of other really interesting facts. We went to El Patio after the ceremony which is in Cathedral Square - it is a very romantic restaurant and we had dinner upstairs on the balcony looking over the square

We also ate at El Mina one night but I think El Patio was better. After dinner there are lots of bars with live music where you can just go and chill and soak up the atmosphere of this fabulous city. Stop and have a Mohita at the Ambos Mundos hotel - they always have a 'play it again Sam type' pianist there any time of the day or night and finish off with a Daquari nightcap in El Floridita which is just round the corner from the hotel - they have a life size bronze statue of Ernest Hemmingway propping up the bar. Wherever you go in Havana you will see and hear live music, be it a piano players, jazz band, string quartet or bangos and drums - everywhere is music, whatever time of the day or night.

As far as the Tropicana goes we went on our last night for my husband's birthday - I too had read the reviews and was hesitant that it would be rather naff and a rip off, especially after we had had some fabulous meals in other restaurants. I can honestly say that everything was superb. We ate there, it is 10CUC (£7.50) per person for a pretty basic meal, soup, excellent chicken, crisp fresh salad with rice and potatoes and a dessert, but for the money is ok. The show was absolutely superb - lots of dancers and singers, fabulous costumes and sheer spectacular entertainment. Get a table near the stage. Lots of people were filming the show and taking photos and I saw nobody charged for doing this. They bring you a glass of champagne and half a bottle of run or whiskey and coke to drink, you get your photo taken and some nibbles. The cost of going to the show without dinner ranges between 70 - 90 CUC depending on where you sit so personally I think it was good value for money _ imagine what you would pay in the UK! After the show you can dance so don't order a taxi in advance and there are lots outside. If you dont want to eat at the Tropicana, the best meal we had was at La Guarida a palador down a back street in Havana. It is probably the best restaurant in Havana and it is very difficult to get a table so ask Daniel the concierge at the Parque Central. However as the Tropicana starts at 10 and you will need to be there by 9.30 you would have to eat early if you wanted to do both.

I loved Havana - it is a fabulous city and the people are so polite and well educated they have so little compared us, they really do put us to shame. Going to Havana was a fabulous but humbling experience and I hope to return very soon. Hope you agree and have a super time.

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2. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

Nice post from a nice lady. It had made me feel like writing a big: “THANK YOU” on behalf of My Havana compatriots…yes, those we called: Habaneros!

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Havana, Cuba
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3. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

Spicy:

And about Havana in two days, I think you will need to dedicate a full day to trek Old Havana only and it will not be enough. Then a Tour of the entire City seems to me almost “mandatory” so you compare what is one Municipality and what the rest 14 of them. For your Old/Centro Havana day, no transportation will be necessary (may be a couple of taxis) but certainly transportation will be for your Havana City Tour.

Two days will be good for you to have a quick first glance to know what is available for a second visit IMHO.

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Old Havana
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4. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

hola slj60..just a quick note...jorge's email is jorgeguide2004@yahoo.es also maybe it might be a good idea to email jorge and let him know which guide you did not like as much - he would probably be very happy to hear from you and very happy you let him know how you feel.

hasta luego

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5. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

Hi, I just wanted to give Jorges correct email address for anybody wanting to contact him:- jorgeguide2004@yahoo.es

just a liitle 'typo' on slj60's part...lol

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6. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

Pina.....snap!....we are 'in tune' today......lol..lol..

Berkshire, UK
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7. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

Hi Spicyhippo when do you go? My partner and i are at the Parque Central 4th - 7th Feb and then move on to Playa Alameda in Varadero.

Many thanks to slj60 for all your advise - i'm getting really excited now, and want to get as much as possible out of Havana.

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Parque Central
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8. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

Thank you Janeanddady02 - You will love Havana but if you want to get the most out of it do contact Jorge - yes I did type in the wrong email address it is

jorgeguide2004@yahoo.es

You will not be disappointed but if you don't have him guide you you will miss so much - honestly.

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vancouver
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9. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

I was just in Havana and stayed at a really nice Casa Particular... the people were so hospitipol and the accomidations were top notch - we had our own one bedroom suit attached by a roof courtyard to their main home... it was awesome. I spent my birthday with this family and they were so kind they even baked me a cake and bought us wine to celebrate - we all had a big dinner together it was awesome. Nora is a former Bio Chemical Engineer and has traveled to several countries... even her Mother - we called her Grama spoke good english...

Nora and Mesas home is

Casa Colonial "La Terraza"

Belascoain N0# 207

e/ Neptuno y Concordia, Centro Habana

Only 15 min from all main attractions downtown old Havana, Capitol building, Museums etc... 2min from teh sea wall

Tel # (537) 864 1275

www.casaterraza.com

noraesquivel15@yahoo.es or liria@forestales.co.cu

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Casa Colonial La Terraza
Casa Colonial La Terraza
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10. Re: Any ideas for a two day havana itinery please?

I'll just bet on your next trip you will spend all your time in habana. And you'll stay at casa particulars, not hotels. I love Habana.