Havana is a photographers paradise. Even for the most amateur picture taker such as myself, the City is a treasure trove of architecture, rawness and beauty just waiting for you to capture via camera. Which is why I don't feel bad when I admit to capturing over 3000 images with my Nikon. But even though Havana offers profound photographic experiences, it equally offers an endless reservoir of discovery. I forsee this remaining rich and healthy for a few more years before American culture floods the country with tourism and trade. Hopefully, this wont be the case. Until then, I hope these images and insights below inspire you to make your next travel adventure in Havana to discover its rawness and endless beauty
What to See:
- Although the entire City is a walking museum Old Havana is astonishing and a must see.
- La Cabano is the largest fort in the Western Hemisphere. Go during the in the afternoon to tour all day so at the end you can capture the sun setting over Havana and the Malecon
- Malecon is the man-made wall preventing the carribean ocean waves from flooding the City. It stretches for miles and great for people watching.
- Fabrica De Arte is where the "cool kids" hangout. It's a multi media art space in an old repurpose Catholic Church. Live performances, food, drinks, art, documentaries and so much more take place from 7 to 4 am thurs - sun. It's bus boys and poets meets Brooklyn museum times 10.
- Cuba NationalMuseum
- Bus Tour of the City was cheap and gives a lot of insight. Plus you can hop on and off.
Where to Eat:
Eat at as many Paladares as you can. These are Havanas private/family run restaurants. Our first nite in Havana, we ate at La Guardia which is considered by some to be best Paladares in the City. I would have to agree. You should know Jay andBeyoncé also ate there. You can google Paladares Havana to pull a list of the top 10.
Where to stay:
Hotels are always booked especially when we visited (late winter) because it was there peak season. Since we couldn't land a hotel we stayed at a NY Times recommended bread and breakfast called Casa Concordia Havana. It's an awesomely curated family run spot in the heart of Old Havana. It's as authentic/chic as it gets. Pictures of the space are on my blog but be sure to visit their site above. I believe they now offer a second location which is less expensive pent house near bye. It's on their website.
Exchange your money to Cuban dollars before you go because it's drastically more expensive if you do it in Havana. They charge a 10% service charge on top of the exchange rate. Bring enough cash at the time of our visit (March 2015) US cards didn't work for us there. Im sure this is no longer an issue but just in case I'd recommend you bring $600 bucks minimum for 3 days. Havana is not cheap despite what you may think.
Taxis to and from the airport should be no more than 25 Cuban dollars.
If your hotel or B&B offers pick up from the airport take it or you'll get flooded with solicitations by taxi drivers when you arrive and depart.
Access to internet is a challenge. Only the premium hotels offered access to the web. At the hotels you can use their Internet cafes but I believe it's 7 Cuban dollars for 1 hour of web access. This became quite expensive for us.
Take plenty of snacks. The Cuban snack options were a little suspect. Glad we brought ritz crackers, gronola bars, and other pre-packaged food. Trekking Havana all day is much harder with out them.
Don't drink the water!!!!!!! Why risk it. Bottle water only.