A Taste of Cuba - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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A Taste of Cuba

Here’s a snapshot of my 5 days in Cuba, with highlights of what you can experience on this controversial island.

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Visit the Capital – Havana – and Drink Like Hemingway

Varadero is only a couple of hours from the Cuban capital of Havana. This is where you’ll find the iconic historic buildings in old Havana, with cobble-stoned streets full of classic 1940’s and 50’s cars. Some Varadero resorts will arrange to have a classic car pick you up for a private tour of Havana. History buffs will enjoy museums like the National Museum of Fine Arts that will give you a glimpse of Cuba’s story via art.

A Taste of Cuba

Havana is a vibrant, picturesque city

As a die-hard shopper, I suggest the Almacenes de San José, an open-air market where you’ll find colorful handicrafts like wooden classic cars, shell jewelry, linens and cotton clothes. Every item is unique, nothing comes from a factory and the money your spend supports local artisans.

A Taste of Cuba

Find a one-of-a-kind treasure at the Almacenes de San José Market

Make you last stop one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bars, the El Floridita. This birthplace of the daiquiri (legend has it that Hemingway downed 16 in one sitting here!) can be a bit crowded but the chance to sip a cool drink where the famed author once sat, is too satisfying to pass.

A Taste of Cuba

Spend an afternoon drinking like Hemingway at El Floridita

 

Take in a Cuban Musical

Music is at the heart of Cuban life. So much so that, during the mourning period for Fidel Castro, no music was allowed. I arrived during this period and immediately noticed that the city seemed oddly silent. When the mourning period ended, I got a real sense of what music means to Cubans. The wait staff hum songs while they serve, the bartenders will routinely break into ballads, and loud dance beats compete with the breaking waves.

A Taste of Cuba

Havana’s Tropicana cabaret show is a classic

This musical spirit translates into nightly entertainment at the biggest show on the island – Tropicana. The cabaret is a Vegas-style show featuring local sounds and dancers. If you like a classic, sexy cabaret, then you’ll love the performance. There’s no Cirque du Soleil spectacle here, just show girls in colorful costumes showcasing a bit of old-world Cuban nightlife. All the same, I just can’t get enough.

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After obtaining her Honors B.A. and postgraduate journalism degree, Pegah has written and researched for a variety of magazines and newspapers, with celebrities, fashion and travel being her topics of choice. Now settled in Toronto, she has lived in many corners of the world, including the U.S., Switzerland, and Japan. In her spare time, she divides her love unevenly between her poodle, chocolates and shopping.

Reader Discussion: 52 Comments

  1. Kathryn Gibson

    I wonder if traveling to Cuba with my 8-year old daughter is safe or advisable!

    • Pegah

      I traveled with my 5 year-old and it was perfectly fine! Cuba is actually really safe, even theft is rare.

  2. Monique Malick

    Do immigration officers questioned you about your itinerary?!

    • Pegah

      I went through Canada but when you arrive, you do get questioned by their immigration and as long as you are clearly a visitor (not a resident), you are fine. You get a copy of an entry card and you have to present that copy to leave. It’s a different system but all in all tourist-friendly.

  3. Blanche Martina

    Hi, thank you so much for sharing your trip to Cuba, it helped me understand and give me an overview of what to expect if I pursue with my trip.

  4. Jodi Thil

    I’ve been reading from travel blogs “not to expect delicious meals in Cuba, it’s not the norm and the country lacks in its culinary delights.” I think it would be challenging for me to find a great restaurant.

  5. A few years ago, I attempted to visit Cuba but was hesitant because of other blogs I’ve read. After reading your detailed article, I feel more comfortable booking a trip. Thank you so much!

  6. Candis Melton

    Thanks for the personal insights!

  7. Wonderful! I’ve been drawn to this country for many years and feel badly wanted to go, perhaps to step back in time. I found your article very helpful and encouraging.

  8. Carol Joyner

    I do not speak much Spanish but have traveled solo to almost all central America without too much trouble, do many people speak English? I am a nature lover and like to stay in small guesthouses.

  9. Olive Williams

    I wonder about Cuban transportation system…

  10. Carrie Bleau

    Will you recommend Havana for a spontaneous getaway?

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