#HilaryRowland

3 Tips for Traveling to Cuba

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I fell in love with Cuba when I was a teenager. Before I moved to New York City, I went on many trips to Havana with my family. It was one of the few cities that I never got bored visiting. The people are so friendly, the customs are fascinating, the ballet is almost free, and everywhere you look you are overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounds you. I always wanted to go back. But since I’ve been living in NYC (and married to a New Yorker), it’s been impossible. Now, though Cuba’s not quite “vacation-ready” for Americans, we may be heading in that direction.

3 Tips for Traveling to Cuba

Chatting with a local in Havana

3 Tips for Traveling to Cuba

A photo I took of a local entrepreneur and her cat

Since President Obama announced a move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba and to alleviate certain travel restrictions, American travelers have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to pay Cuba a visit. This will mark the first time in more than 50 years that Americans have been allowed to travel within the Cuban borders without having permission from the U.S. Treasury’s office. And though many restrictions remain in place, the move still represents a landmark moment for those who want to visit family or who are simply curious about our island neighbor to the south.

3 Tips for Traveling to Cuba

Shopping for art in the square (although Havana has incredible, and inexpensive, galleries)

That said, we’re still swimming in new waters, so prospective travelers need to educate themselves as much as possible before booking that plane ticket. If you’re considering a trip yourself, here are just few tips to help you stay safe and stay legal when planning a trip to Cuba.

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A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

109 Comments

  1. Lynn Hayes

    Cuba is definitely on my list of places to get to soon and this is such a thorough guide! Lots of things I didn’t know. Thanks for putting it together! I actually had a Cuban sandwich for lunch today in Cambodia of all palces, and it wasn’t that great 😉 lol

  2. Roberta Bennett

    This is a really extensive guide! Fantastic post with great info! Planning our visit at the moment. Cheers!

  3. Frances Seifert

    This article is so helpful! We are currently trying to figure out how we will plan our trip. We looked into th people-to-people tours, but they seem to be a bit too organized for our taste. The trampoline method could be the best option, but my husband is a bit nervous that something could happen, and we might have trouble getting out of the country if so. Thanks for putting this together… I am going to be bookmarking it to help with our plans!

  4. Amanda Roberts

    What a comprehensive guide to travelling to Cuba. It’s helpful to see the tricks and catches pointed out to help with the planning. Simple things like slowing down and taking extra care with the forms to avoid duplicated costs and non-US based travel insurance are easy things to miss.

  5. Kimberly Thompson

    I just returned from Cuba a few weeks ago, it was so amazing! Def stay with a local family in a casa cheaper and great experience.

  6. Emma Blackwood

    Cuba is such an enticing and exciting destination right now. I wanna get the opportunity to experience it before massive tourism takes over.

  7. Catherine White

    Great tips! I hadn’t realized that Cuba would be such a gorgeous country. I would really love to visit Cuba someday. Their history and culture sound quite interesting.. Great tips for those who would like to travel there for the first time.

  8. Nicky Bryan

    Thank you for these tips! Thanks Hilary. I have friends that recently went to Cuba and they spent a fortune. I want to make it on a budget, at least I’ll try!

  9. Pearl Nguyen

    Thanks for the tips! I did not know it was so expensive to go there. Hopefully, I get to go one day.

  10. Sibel Jenkinson

    Being a big Ernest Hemingway fan, my husband Mitchell and I have always longed to visit Cuba one day. There are some very important tips you and the commenters have outlined here like, bringing my own hygiene products and going to the bathroom before you leave the hotel. 🙂

    • Emily Wentz

      Cuba sounds so interesting, though it is not on my bucket list (for the near future). My sister spent her honeymoon there and she also told me about the hygienic products and said, if I am ever to visit Cuba I should bring soap as the people are longing for such things.

      • Leslie Williams

        Great tip on bringing soap … imported products like this which are very expensive make for great gifts for locals too, for instance, if you’re staying in a homestay and would like to gift them something at the end 🙂

  11. Pamela Sanabria

    Great tips! We went to Cuba many years ago, but would love to go back as we didn’t get the chance to explore quite as much as we’d hoped.

  12. Delilah Peyton

    I’m hoping to plan a trip to Cuba very soon, especially being how it’s opened up. But it is really good to hear that Cuba allows travelers to opt for a homestay rather than a hotel – it creates such a better experience for both sides. 🙂

  13. Kaitlyn Barrett

    This is a great guide to traveling to Cuba. I was there in 2014 and found it to be a very eye opening experience. 🙂

  14. Camila Hilhorst

    Cuba is spectacular and the lack of US influence has made it a very special place. Do not expect 3 star, 4 star or 5 star to even come close to North American standards. Just be open to enjoy the experience and realize you are seeing and feeling something many others have not.

  15. Helena Stevens

    I have been to Cuba several times. Cubans are VERY friendly – they will help you a great deal, tell you their experience, invite you to their home – it is the absolute highlight of a visit. Make sure you meet people.

  16. Olivia Peterson

    I visited December 2014 on a shoestring budget.

    Food tip that we learned from other regulars to the island – salt and pepper are very expensive commodity in Cuba, so if you’re going for budget food options and street food, consider bringing some salt and pepper along with you from home. Also, highly recommend peso pizzas sold out of front windows on first floor buildings. We had some of our best interactions at this off the wall “pizza” joints hearing about their lives and families while our pizza was heated up.

  17. Andrea Mitchell

    I went to Cuba last April (2015). I was with a group on a people-to-people trip. All I can say is that it was one of the major highlights of my traveling life (and I travel a lot)! The one bit of advice we were given early on and throughout the trip was to be flexible. That is very important.

    As an example, a hotel we were on our way to and almost there, canceled our reservations and our tour guide had to make new reservations with about an hour’s notice. The hotel was not great and we called it camping. And we all have stories.

    You can bring back $100 worth of cigars now (or a combination of cigars and booze). I was a real hero to some people for whom I bought cigars.

    All I can say is that if you are considering a trip, go now. Things are changing every day. Old Cuba is really a treat. We saw a rodeo, visited schools, watched nightclub performances and many other activities. Other than the old cars, not an American product in sight – no Coca Cola or McDonald’s or Starbucks. Very refreshing!

    We were encouraged to bring toiletries and/or pencils, crayons, etc. for children. They were all very appreciated.

  18. Sydney Nowak

    Very accurate and informative – I’ve been to Cuba quite a fe times and had some encounters : scams (often of the foreign currency variety), bad internet (yikes), food, and giving people clothes and toiletries. But so many great things about Cuba as well that I’m not even going to start listing.

  19. Shannon Bradley

    Thank you for all the tips for First Timers! We’ve barely been out of Canada, and are looking forward to our first trip abroad in Sep. 2016. We had thought about Europe, but with the Canadian dollar declining so much, we thought perhaps a trip to a Central American country might be wiser. More bang for our buck!! Can’t wait to learn more about CUBA. Si!!

  20. Anna Kaplan

    We are visiting Cuba in July for 6 nights. I’m wondering where we should stay? What’s the best place if we want some beach and some culture?

  21. Betty O'Leary

    I am loving all your first time guides. I think this is a must for all of us travelers who need guidance when we visit a new place. Cuba is definitely on my list for its colorful surroundings.

  22. Celine Carter

    We loved Cuba – It was our honeymoon destination! Whilst we were there they tried the ‘Milk Scam’ on us as well but they were not threatening when we declined to join in.We also filled our cases with things like pencils etc for the children and soap. These were small items but were so well received by locals. As with every holiday we go on I tend to leave behind cheap t-shirts that we have picked up for a couple of pound before travelling. on this particular trip, the housekeepers asked if we would be offended if they took the articles which of course we weren’t but we have to let the hotel know – if it had appeared that they had just taken them they would have lost their jobs. I recommend Cuba to everyone I speak to.

    • Julia MacLean

      I also also love Cuba and recommend it to others. More specifically, I tell people to venture away from Varadero- Cuba is so much more than just beautiful beaches!That’s a good idea to bring some t-shirts. I did have a lady working in a museum ask ME for some clothes, but all I brought with us were small hygiene items, like toothpaste. Constantly being asked for things in Havana, and the milk scam, got tiresome after a while, but not once did we ever feel unsafe in Cuba.

  23. Franny Pimms

    wow! this is very interesting. thanks for the awesome info! guess its time to save up to go to Cuba! 🙂

  24. Lana Urie

    I completely agree! Love this post. Travelling to Cuba was definitely humbling for us. It was very sad to see people going without certain freedoms and things we consider basic necessities. They were very much appreciative of the small items we left for them.

  25. Monica Conover

    Great tips, guys! There doesn’t seem to be a ton of travel info out there yet about Cuba so I’m sure a lot of people like me will really appreciate this!

  26. Marina Henderson

    Informative and helpful! Thank you. I want to book a cruise for next summer. Anybody knows which cruise line is the best to go to Cuba?

  27. Colleen Frasier

    Thanks for all the good info. I want to go to Cuba, but don’t know when would be the best time. Since Cuba doesn’t import food, is there a better time of the year to go when the food is more plentiful. Fruits veg etc?

  28. Danielle Wilson

    I enjoyed reading your article, very informative. I am interested in buying a couple of pieces of Cuban Jewelry do you know what I can expect or stores I can visit?

  29. Christina Cavanaugh

    I am a European passport holder, resident for many years in California. I intend to visit Cuba with a friend flying in from the UK in March, but have no idea how to get to Cuba, owing to lack of information over here! I have been told that there are charter flights from Miami, that is all. Is there an official goverment website which will help me?

  30. Brenda Nelson

    I live in CA so how about carrying American Dollars? Is it safe to roam around everywhere with a camera as a friend who went seemed to be afraid of doing so ?

  31. Deborah Henry

    Great article, I am planing to make my first trip to Cuba in July this year, so I really enjoyed reading this! I have a question about accommodations, I planned on using Airbnb for the first few nights, but I want to travel around the country a bit, what other sites are reliable sources for hotels and/or villas?

  32. Bethany Miles

    Does anybody know if as American citizen visiting Cuba are you allowed to purchase food for cooking in Cuba without a problem? What is available to purchase for food? Also what is the departure tax, and what currency do you use to pay it? Thanks! 🙂

    • Nancy Musselman

      Hiya! The departure tax is payable as you leave Cuba. It is 25 cuc per person and must be paid in cuc and cash only. A good piece of advice that a travel agent gave us a long time ago now, was to set this money aside as soon as you get some money changed that way you will have it and not worry about it. You will be directed at the airport where you need to pay it.

  33. Janet Roper

    We are heading to Cuba in August and I appreciate all this helpful advice. There’s really so much to be aware of when you’re traveling there. But we’re very happy to be going now! Thanks.

  34. Ariana Rhyder

    QUESTION : what about passport stamps for illegal US travelers? Trying to go for this new years and having a difficult time figuring out if it is too risky to go now illegally. Can you really just ask someone not to stamp your passport and they won’t?

  35. Charleen Washington

    I love this. Reminded me of my trip to Cuba. It has at its northern coast many beaches that are very belllas as Varadero with its crystal clear water s. The keys have paradisiacal landscapes, in order nauturales an island full of charms. 🙂

  36. Shelley Donalds

    Enjoyed your blog, Just returned from Cuba. I’ve tried to gather as much information as possible before our trip. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the poverty of the people in Cuba. We stayed in Old Havana in a Casa Particular. I purchased items to bring with us on the trip to leave as gifts, like soaps, pens, batteries, reading glasses. The people are so grateful. They want to talk with you and know where your are visiting from. I left with such mixed feelings of sadness for the people of Cuba, and pray that their lives will improve.

  37. Ingrid Winston

    Great post! my husband is from Cuba and this is my second time to this beautiful country. We just celebrated our wedding ceremony at Hotel Nacional and did a 5 day tour with our group, everything you have mentioned here is by far correct since during my first trip to the country I was not quite prepared and knew the second time around to bring some necessities and definitely learning spanish!

  38. Winona Miller

    great write up, thank you!! we’re planning on going early november and will revisit this post as we get ready for it. was wondering how long would you recommend to stay. we want to be able to really experience / learn the culture without being rushed. any advice helps! thanks again so much!

  39. Cuba is a quite stunning country to visit and I really enjoyed seeing your photos. rings back many happy memories from my last trip there in December. I only get to go there once a year but am anxious to get back to Havana (I prefer it to the beach locations actually). Great blog. I have started following your posts recently.

  40. Great tips and I love the photos! Cuba is still on my bucket list. I think I should visit it fast though, as I heard that many things are changing.

  41. The hubby and I too are among the many people who have Cuba in the top 5 of our bucket list. The cars, the architecture, the music, and the food! Such a vibrant country. Hopefully we can make it there sooner than later. Being stationed all the way in the England makes it a little challenging though haha… -We are a navy family.- Thanks for posting this. Love the pics.

  42. Amazing advice Hilary! Me and my husband had our honeymoon in Havanna 32 years ago. We want to go back on our 33th anniversary. Living in UK , fortunately there are many options for Cuba 🙂 and no travel restrictions.

  43. Nice advice! I always wanted to see Cuba and after these lovely photos I want it even more! Thanks for all the tips x

  44. Thanks for going in depth about this beautiful country! It’s a destination I’m toying with but didn’t know much about like the rest of the world. All I know is Cuban food I’ve had in other areas was delicious!

  45. I really enjoyed this. I’m half Cuban and half of my family is from this visually beautiful country and they almost all still live there! I’ve always heard the stories from my Nana, good and bad. I also spoke, yet very rarely, to family on the phone. I wanted to visit with her and she wanted to take me to see family, but as I became older so did she. She passed away on Thanksgiving last year at a very young age and we never visited Cuba together. I still plan on visiting in the future even though I’m honestly scared to do so, not having her by my side. But I still want to go. And seeing this post has inspired me to hopefully visit this country sooner than later! So for that, I thank you.

    • Your story’s so beautiful. I’m so sorry to hear about your Nana. She’d want you to go to Cuba – meet your folks. And you know she’ll be there with you. 🙂

  46. Wow, thanks for sharing such a detailed guide! Your pictures are incredible. ’ve always been super curious about Cuba. It would be nice to go somewhere and not see a Starbucks or McDonalds for a change!

  47. I’m one of those people who have wanted to go to Cuba forever- since I was a teenager! Thanks for the tips and the gorgeous photos!

  48. Good tips Hilary. I also traveled to Cuba, in 2014, and found the people to be very inviting and friendly. I’m not a single female, but even as a couple wondering around the strange streets of Havana, I never felt unsafe. We were propositioned for drugs,lol, but that’s about it!

  49. GREAT POST! Also, I read the people to people visa requires Americans to present an itinerary full of educational activities. Did you encounter anyone asking for such a list? Thanks.

  50. It sounds very hard visiting a place in which there is not any common spoken language. Why English language is not taught? What the level of education in there? It seems to be still 3rd world though. Great adventure. Shall we consider Communism responsible for it? I will travel soon to the Americas and my Spanish is zero. I hope to be able to discriminate between threatening-looking and non-threatening-looking people but I am not sure I can. Any tip from your side? Keep goin´. 🙂

  51. I’m in the midst of planning a trip to Cuba for september, so this is really useful. I’m excited beyond belief to go!

  52. Congrats on being one of the bravest Americans for traveling in Cuba. I am sure these tips will help many in the future as more and more Americans make their way to Cuba. I will be going to Colombia soon, and I found some of these tips helpful for that adventure. Need to bone up on my Spanish.

  53. Fantastic tips for Cuba, a place I yet have been to, but strive to go to in the future. 🙂

  54. I was planning on spending one month in Cuba in July until I found out about the dial-up internet…definitely not a good idea now that I’m in the process of making my movie critics blog one of the top 100 😀 Maybe next year haha

  55. I’ve been a little intimidated by Cuba, being a solo traveler. But I’ve seen many good posts on it. This is an excellent and practical post that’s really helpful. Makes me want to put it back on my bucketlist.

    • I know what you mean, and I won’t like and say Cuba is completely fine for safety. While I did feel that Varadero was a safe place, my time in Havana was very intimidating and I was hissed at non-stop for 12 hours, basically. Some of that was due to me staying in a completely wrong part of town, but it was nonetheless a little scary. I can’t speak for more of Cuba as I didn’t travel round too much, but I think it’s fairly hit and miss. I’ve heard of lots of other solo travelling women who were totally fine, though. Hope you make it there one day!

  56. Yep, there are taxis everywhere that will get you to town from your resort, or as you’ve said there are buses that run too. The majority of the resorts are a few miles from town. Haven’t heard of many people getting the same driver the whole week – I’m not sure if that’s even possible! Hope you have a fantastic time, and enjoy the sunshine! 🙂

  57. Hi. Thanks for the tips. I will be travelling solo next week. I was concerned about getting scammed but after reading what you wrote I guess it’ll be ok. So to get to town from your resort is it better to get a taxi or bus it? If possible, should you just get one taxi guy/guide for the whole week?

    • Yep, there are taxis everywhere that will get you to town from your resort, or as you’ve said there are buses that run too. The majority of the resorts are a few miles from town. Haven’t heard of many people getting the same driver the whole week – I’m not sure if that’s even possible! Hope you have a fantastic time, and enjoy the sunshine! 🙂

  58. Great tips! Cuba is very safe – safer than other Caribbean islands like Jamaica. I think there’s just real confusion around how to get there, legally is all.

    • I agree. Cuba is an amazing place to visit, and in my experience very safe. But you can never be too safe in anywhere in the world, even in your home town.

  59. We flew into Varadero (because it was cheaper) with plans to catch the Víazul bus to Havana but couldn’t book tickets online because of time. When we went to the Víazul terminal she said “Sorry, I can’t sell you tickets without a reservation”. It was about an $80- 100 taxi into town, 25-50 ea for a bus going to a Havana Hotel (Melia Cohiba) whereas Víazul would be 10 CUC. We hung around Juan Gomez airport waiting for a solution to appear. After a short while the girl from the terminal came over and said “The bus is coming in. If anybody gets off, you get on and I’ll sell you tickets” It was a pleasant ride through Matanzas into Havana.

  60. Lucretia Asher

    When I went to Cuba in 2004 (legally, via Miami), I had asked them to stamp my passport but they refused b/c it was a US passport. They only stamped the Visa….

    • Dana Rosatti

      Hmmm… I went to Cuba this past September and I had my passport stamped – but I’m a Canadian citizen. My friend that traveled with me had a Russian passport but she did not get a stamp. I think it just mostly depends on the mood that strikes the border official at the moment.

  61. Samantha Anthony

    Did you get sprayed by a flight attendant as you approached Havana? A flight attendant walked up and down the aisles on Jamaica Air from Nassau to Havana spaying some unknown type of bug spray. It was a sea of fog on the plane.

    Also went to the Tropicana which I highly recommend. It includes a bottle of Havana Club Rum per person. For the people who did not drink I walked out with a trove of rum which I drank on the beach in Nassau on the route home.

  62. Elin Hanks

    Are there any ATMs in Cuba? When I travel internationally and need cash, I just use my ATM card (my bank reimburses any ATM fees) to get as much cash as I need. This has always gotten me the best “exchange rate” since US banks use the actual exchange rate (with no fees or taxes). I would assume that this would be even better than having euros or pounds to exchange.

    • Debbie Jones

      This was my question, too but asked before me. Hoping TPG will weigh in on whether or not you can withdraw local currency from ATMs in-country.

  63. Thanks so much for the helpful information! I have a tentative Havana adventure planned for next month. We’re New York natives flying into Cancun and are playing around with our options to get to Cuba as the direct flights into Havana are all booked during our stay. :/ At this point it seems like we’re going to be stuck with at least one layover to get there (and an extra $100+ per person), but it might be worth it if we get a chance to have dinner in Panama. Please keep updating your posts; I’m eagerly awaiting more guidance! Cheers!

  64. Christina Norelli

    Thanks for the great post! Were you able to pay for your visa in the airport with credit cards? Or did you have to bring cash for that part?

  65. Sonja Fallow

    Hello Hilary, amazing piece as always. Very useful tips and amazing photos. I admire your work and respect you as a blogger because you’re very brave and good at what you do. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  66. Jae Medina

    GREAT post! I applaud you!

    Canadians and Britons can travel there, but as Americans we can’t. Because somebody in our government doesn’t like somebody else. Yeah, that makes sense.

    My suggestion is to go there and decide for yourself if you want to go back, or if you want to recommend it to friends. If you don’t like their government, then don’t go. But my government shouldn’t tell me I can’t go because they don’t like them.

  67. Lena Dzeko

    Thanks for posting this. It’s absolutely true.

    Cuba has been open to travel to every other country in the world (including the UK, and Western Europe) for decades, and it has not changed the political climate there. It’s incredibly short sighted to believe that opening it up to America will do anything other than boost the regime’s hard currency reserve.

    But, again, what’s more important than maximizing credit card points!

  68. Cassi Braun

    Just because a country is ruled by a dictator doesn’t mean it is wrong to travel to that country. If it was, many great and wonderful places would be untraveled. 🙂

  69. Felicia Stewart

    Cool tips! And great writing as always. I was in Cuba last summer with my boyfriend. Enjoyed it. But it was a little strange. What I found the most strange about Havana was how safe I felt. It was so hot during the day, so we walked around later at night. We noticed more people were out from midnight to 3am than any other time. We’d walk from our hotel (Hotel Nacional) over to Coppelia. It would be packed with people at all hours. Even walking through the neighborhood to get there in the middle of the night, I was completely comfortable. The police on every other corner helped.

  70. Matilda Parker

    Great tips! I agree with all three of them. 🙂 I was able to visit in 2009. It had the best meal of my life there. I ended up spending nearly a month there and wish I could have stayed longer.

  71. Kimberley Foulkes

    Love your article! I’ve been to Cuba twice. My experience is that Cubans are very educated and curious about foreigners, Europeans and Canadians have never stopped having access to the island. Cubanos randomly approach to ask where you are from, welcome you and then be on their way. A healthy suspicion when they try to take you to a favorite bar or casa is good but you’ll miss some really rich experiences if you avoid personal encounters.

  72. Susanna Milton

    Hi, Hilary. 🙂

    I too have to travel to Cuba and have spent a total of 3 months there since 2008. And loved all my time there! I have been from the western tip at Maria La Gorda to the eastern tip of Baracoa and love it all.

  73. Melissa Princeton

    Nice tips, Hilary! Keep posting such needed information. Thanks!

  74. Sabrina Wellington

    My hubby and I are arranging to sail to Cuba from Key West with friends. We are completing the requisite paperwork, including Coast Guard permit and general permit. However, we will need to fly back to the States (ultimately Baltimore) from Havana. So we really appreciate these tips. Thanks so much Hilary!

  75. Molly Twain

    Hi Hilary! Thanks for all the great tips about visiting Cuba. I’m sure it’ll all be very useful when I visit in June. I’m so excited! 🙂

  76. Evelyn Sandler

    I am an American but both of my parents were born and raided in Cuba. My cousins, all my aunts and grandparents are still in Cuba. How do I know if I can travel without any problems?

  77. Amelia Beckons

    Did you see many tourists renting and driving cars? we have that planned, I’m hoping it works out we have a tight schedule, we reserved online and pick up at Havana Airport.

  78. Kim Hartford

    Amazing guide! I like how thorough your tips are! Travelling to Cuba has got to be an awesome experience but, of course, requires detailed planning.

  79. Sasha Rosswell

    This has been one of the most detailed sources about going to Cuba that I have seen yet. Thanks for all the great references, photos and your tips as well. Great job!

  80. Jennifer McSween

    I liked your tips and photos. Thanks for your tips. I think that Cuba now will be better and easier to visit for us Americans due to Obama’s visit.

  81. Sabrina Grattidge

    This is such a great informative article, Hilary! I love it. I will definitely be going to Cuba one day. 🙂

  82. Diana Hewitt

    Great post! Thanks for the tips. Planning on cruising around Cuba from Montego Bay. 5 stops.

  83. Wendy Hearn

    Photos are really fabulous Hilary. They make me feel like I’m there with you. Then the trip looks like it was fantastic 🙂

  84. I’m so excited that Cuba/US relations are improving and it’ll be easier to visit there. I’m also happy for Cuba, as their economy should begin to improve meaningfully with less onerous trade restrictions 🙂

  85. Trish Potter

    I’ve gone to Cuba three times and stayed in Havana at the Parc Central hotel which is perfectly positioned one street from the historic old town part and also near the Capitol building and the beautiful building where Cuba’s national ballet troupe perform. Our last week-long stay in Havana was two years ago, and we found that many new independently run restaurants had sprung up and the quality of restaurant food had really improved. A good resource on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/CubaAbsolutely which puts out a Events Guide to Havana with restaurant reviews, etc. at http://www.lahabana.com/

  86. Francis Woods

    I loveeeee this article, Hilary. It’s like everything I need to know about visiting Cuba!!! Definitely going there next year!!!! Any joiners??? 😀

  87. Chloe Miller

    Regardless of where you travel, respect and following local laws (and regulations) are really essential. Anyone who wishes to visit and explore other places (and countries) MUST be a smart and respectful traveler!

    • Francis Woods

      Wow Chloe, I will definitely keep that in mind. Thanks!!! 😀

  88. Courtney Watson

    I had the opportunity to visit Cuba and I enjoyed my stay (with some friends). The strangest thing (at least for me) was how safe I felt at Havana. We walked around later at night (since it was terribly hot during the day) and we noticed more people were out from midnight to until 3AM (than any other time). We’d walk from Hotel Nacional (place where we stayed) over to Coppelia. Walking through the neighborhood to get there in the middle of the night felt completely comfortable. A police on every other corner willing to help can be found. It was truly an enjoyable and memorable experience!

    • Francis Woods

      This information is very useful Courtney. I will definitely check your hotel out. I have reservations in exploring different countries when its my first time, but I get to be adventurous once I know its really safe.

  89. Hannah Mayers

    Very informative article! Well, based on stories of friends who have been to Cuba, the country is safe and even a woman traveling alone can explore freely in complete confidence. Though personally, I would follow Hilary’s advice on having a tour guide 🙂

    • Francis Woods

      Hey there Hannah, you mind letting me get in touch with those friends of yours that already went there? I really, really want to know how it’s like!!! 😀

      • Hannah Mayers

        Sure! Will request them to contact you!

      • Hannah Mayers

        Sure! Will request them to contact you, Francis!

  90. Sandra Brown

    Nice photos! You really look like you’re having fun, Hilary 🙂

    I honestly grew up thinking that Cubans treat Americans as enemies. But over time, I’ve learned that Cubans are very friendly people and have nothing against Americans (it’s just propaganda, I guess?!). So if given the opportunity, I’d love to travel and explore Cuba 🙂

    • Francis Woods

      Let’s go together, Sandra!!! 😀

  91. Ansley Barrington

    Thank you for writing this article! Nice one! I always wanted (and interested) to traveling to Cuba but I’m just scared (for some reasons). But now I know what to do (and expect) 🙂

    Love your photos too!

    • Francis Woods

      Hey Ansley, the photos of Hilary are really nice. I wish I had gone with her!!! 😀

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