Havana, Cuba is the realest spot ever. Let me tell you how to have a good time.
- Stay in a casa particular.(aka airb&b, mycasa, etc. I highly suggest Casa Colonial in Havana Centro. 969 San Miguel.) When you stay in a hotel in Cuba, 100% of the money goes toward the government and its deficit. Staying in a casa allows the people of Cuba to get a larger percentage of the money.
- Bring all your money in cash. There’s a restriction on banks in Cuba, so any US issued card will NOT WORK. AT ALL. (You’d have to wire money to a Cuban National if you don’t bring enough so please save yourself a trip to the embassy and bring a lot of cash.)
- There are plenty of little restaurants that will surprise you with their flavors and prices. Most of these places are holes in the walls, they look nothing like the front facades of El Bicky’s or Hotel International; they look like regular homes with makeshift menu signs. Right across the road from El Bicky’s is a string of cute corner cafes, Cafe Brown is my favorite. The cafe has a litany of cocktails for you to choose from at the staggering price of $2.50 CUC per drink. YES 2 DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS FOR AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE PRAISE BE THE LIT GODS. Most of these little hole in the walls will be similarly priced. You can go to a hotel and pay $5 CUC per drink, but WHY? Cafe Brown also has killer pizzas. I know, pizza in Cuba but it’s like the national food. TRY IT. Two doors down is a great cafeteria that sells rice and beans with chicken for 6 CUC.
- Buy snacks in the marketplaces. The traditional market places in cuba will use both the CUC tourist currency, and the domestic Peso Cubano. 1 CUC is worth 25 peso cubanos. (Yeah it’s bad.) A mango should cost you about 12-15 pesos.
- Explore. Get out of your casa and walk and talk with the people. The stories they can share are life changing. e