After a long pause here is the third part of the series of travel notes: Cuba.
It’s a good time of year to travel to Cuba and I hope you will find these notes handy.
Cuba is an embazzlement, a mirage of one being caught up in the 1950’s forever. With the restricted phone operators to 2G, one has access to internet as limited as it gets, there are policemen walking around in noon time collecting money from restaurants, hotels, shops in the sacks... state collecting money from the tenants directly is not a sight one experiences in the capitalist system. But this scene forms the foundation of the economic system in Cuba, as communism. In all frankness, the country seems isolated from the world, I guess Russia’s transition from communism did not help them either. I have many question marks as to how happy the people are as well... they did not seem happy at all in the midst of all the poverty and lacking public services (such as poor transport, infrastructure, housing), in comparison to other countries we have travelled across the world.
The food; is average but I will share some interesting alternatives below. The music; is amazing starting at 12 pm till 3 am it goes on and on ...It is a heaven for those interested in vintage American cars, cigars and alcohol. Pregnancy did not help in this trip either, no rum and mojitos for me I’m afraid.
Ohhh... and the currency, no use of credit cards is not the best experiences for the modern traveller either.
It’s worth going to Cuba if you would like to see the effects of this economic model and it is worth a trip to the sea regions such as Trinidad, Varadero, Playas del Este- please don’t restrict yourself to Havana.
- Hotel Inglaterra, Paseo del Prado, No. 416 esq. San Rafael, La Habana
"Habana’s oldest hotel first opened its doors in 1856 on the site of a popular bar called El Louvre. Facing leafy Parque Central, the building exhibits the neoclassical design features that were in vogue at the time, though the decor inside is distinctly Moorish. At a banquet here in 1879, José Martí made a speech advocating Cuban independence and, much later, US journalists covering the so-called Spanish-American War stayed at this hotel. War hero Antonio Maceo was another famous guest, and a letter he wrote on hotel notepaper is proudly displayed in the lobby. El Louvre (open 11am to midnight), named after the hotel’s predecessor, is the Hotel Inglaterra’s popular downstairs alfresco bar; it’s situated under a colonnaded porch outside the hotel." (from Lonelyplanet.com)
- Hotel NH Parque Central, Neptuno e/ Prado y Zulueta, Habana Vieja, Ciudad de la Habana
- Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Dining and Entertainment:
- La Cocina de Lilliam, Calle 48 no1311 e/13 y 15, Playa, Ciudad de la Habana
- La Guarida, Concordia 418, e/ Gervasio y Escobar, Central Havana
- El Floridita, La Habana Vieja, Monserrate 557, at Obispo
- La Bodeguita del Medio, La Habana Vieja, Empedrado 256, btw. Cuba and San Ignacio
- Casa de la Musica, Miramar
- El Templete, Ave. del Puerto esq. Narciso López, Habana Vieja
Museums and Sightseeing:
- Capitolio Nacional
- La Casa del Habano
- Art studios across the Obispo
- Edificio Bacardi
- El Museo del Ron, Avenida del Puerto 262, esq. Sol, Havana
- Museo de Tabaco
- Taking a walk or classic car through Malecon
- Communist slogans in Havana
- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
- Sculpture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Founder of Turkish Republic
- Plaza del Armas book market
- Ministerio del Interior
- Playas del Este
The facilities in Playas del Este are limited, however my friends that have visited Varadero have underlined that the hotels etc there are very updated and modern, not very different than Bali!
There are regular buses that operate to this region and it takes approximately 25 minutes from Parque Central.
Some old cars in the city centre
Book market in Plaza des Armas
Restaurant El Templete
Street art across Havana
Sculpture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Veiw from Hotel Nacional
The gardens of Hotel Nacional
Inside the La Guarida
Tiles from La Guarida
Bueno Vista night at Museo del Rom
Beaches of Playas del Este