Us darlings have a BIG desire to travel the world, experience new cultures, and try crazy foods (well maybe not too crazy). But since our job is planning the biggest day of people's lives, naturally we love to plan and coordinate other aspects of our lives such as fun trips like this. We invest so many hours into researching the best places to stay, things to do and restaurants to try - we figured why not share what we found along the way. Aubrey + her hubby just spent 10 days in Cuba, so here is our version of a Quick Guide To Cuba!
- Bring snacks or bars for breakfast because breakfast isn't really a thing in Cuba
- Load up on lots + lots of TUMS and Pepto Bismol before you leave the states. My stomach wasn’t super happy.
- Good walking shoes + a small backpack to carry around your travel guide book!
TO DO BEFORE YOU LEAVE //
- Download Maps.Me before you leave. It will save your life because there is no cell service available. You can buy a wifi card that allows you to jump on wifi in certain specified areas, such as public parks or limited restaurants.
- Print out all your reservations, addresses, phone numbers + information for the places you booked. You can also use Trip It which my husband swears by.
- Exchange enough US dollars to Euros. The in Cuba you can exchange your EUROS to CUC (the cuban currency). The exchange rate in Cuba from US Dollars to CUC is terrible, so converting to Euros before you leave will save you some dinero.
- Buy the Lonely Planet Cuba Travel Guide on Amazon to bring with you because there is no wifi + this will save your life
TIME NEEDED TO TRAVEL //
Although we went for 10 days, we said that one week max in Cuba is more than enough! We would recommend 2 to 3 nights in Havana, 2 nights in Vinales + 2 in Trindad if you have time to go.
This is the beach city we first visited in Cuba for 2 nights. It is about 2.5 hours outside of Havana. Although the sand was super soft and the beaches were incredibly clean, I don't think it is worth visiting. The all-inclusive resorts are incredibly spendy + the food / drinks are not worth the cost.
We had multiple people tell us to go to Trinidad instead which I wish we did. Just keep in mind this is about a 4 hour car ride from Havana, so you'll want to fly in
Gorgeous vintage cars, colorful buildings, music blaring thorough the streets constantly.
- Watch the sunset at the Malecon
- 1 Hour Salsa Lesson at Salsador A Cuba (This is so much harder than you would think!)
- Rent a vintage car + drive around for an hour! Don't be afraid to ask them to stop to take photos in front of the colorful streets + historic buildings. You'll be sad if you don't. (Shouldn't cost more than 50 CUC)
- Go see the Tropicana, Cuba’s world-renowned cabaret show. You get your own bottle of Havana Club rum + cigar, so prepare your liver + lungs.
Casa Particular in the Old Havana District
Here is a link to our AirBnB which was wonderful + in a great location. Heads up, they don't speak the best English.
Eat + Drink:
- 361 LAMPARILLA. Their quirky decor, minion shaped daiquiris, croquettes served in little shopping carts + the most delicious sangria definitely made this our favorite place for apps + drinks in the city. Their daiquiris are shaped like minions, snowmen
- Dinner at Donde Lis (soooooo yummy + amazing service)
- El Dandy (we ate breakfast here twice because it was so cheap + simple)
- Go to drinks + apps at El Cocinero, then hit Fabrica De Arte for drinks, live music + a crazy art exhibit
(definitely a must in Havana)
- Aetlier was our favorite meal in Havana (hugeeeeee lobster for $18)
- Il Rustico (we got super sick of Cuban food, so Italian to mix it up was a must)
- La Bodeguita del Medio has world famous mojitos but we honestly didn't think they were worth the cost. Immediately dead upstairs when you get there though to avoid the crazy crowds + you might catch some live music! The garlic shrimp + beans were delicious.
- The strawberry daiquiris at El Floridita lived up to the hype
- La Guarida: Grab a drink on the rooftop here if you don't have a reservation for the restaurant. If you do dine, make sure to get the Ropa Vieja.
3 hours west of Havana. Relax, unwind and enjoy the beautiful green landscape of the limestone hill valleys!
Stay: AirBnB outside of the main downtown area. Had to take a $5 taxi there + back daily but we truly felt like it was worth it, as our hosts were SO wonderful and made us feel like family.
Link to AirBnB: Mango Mangrove
- Take a 3 hour horse back riding tour through the Los Jazmines valley. They will take you to a tobacco farm and coffee / fruit plantation. Definitely our favorite activity in Vinales!
- Hang out with your Cuban host family + get to know what their life is like on a day to day basis. Ask to help cook dinner!
- Walk around the main town center
- Listen to live music + grab drinks at Jardin del Arte Sano. There are no major signs for this place, so ask around.
- Watch the sunset at Balcon de Valle
- Ask for a chocolate filled churro at La Esquinita
Cuba was definitely a country that we are glad we experienced while we are young because it is truly unique and feels like you are transported back in time. Although we appreciated the culture while staying with Cuban families - if you're looking for a fancy, glamorous vacation - this is definitely not the country for you! You must be prepared to live a simple, calm + wifi free life.
Happy traveling, darlings!