Havana Journals

The Real Habana

A travel journal to Havana by Loe

Playas del Este Photo, Havana, Cuba More Photos
Quote: Havana and Cuban culture are easy to fall in love with. However, despite the seemingly open attitude of the people, tourists remain segregated here more so than in most other destinations. Havana can be more than just beautiful architecture and amazing music, you just need to know where to look.

The Real Habana

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

street sign Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
Buying Peso Pizza from a basket that descends from the third floor Drinking rum on the Malecon Attending a play at Teatro Nacional Attending a concert at one of the many venues Seeing the mansions of Miramar and Playa The pristine beach only 20 minutes away Having ice cream for pesos at Copelia Hitchhiking Using a collective taxi (usually a '50s car) The organic/vegetarian restaurant in El Jardin Botanico Riding a Cuban busQuick Tips: Try to learn about the dual economy. On the first day go to a cadeca and change a few dollars into pesos or moneda nacional (26 for US) so that you can buy peso food, take the bus, and take co...Read More

Peso Pizza

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Peso Pizza Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
Go to the corner where El Rapido is on Infanta. Up the street towards the university, right next to El Rapido you should see a sign that reads Pizza Celina. On the other side of the street by the garden there will probably be quite a few people standing waiting for pizza or yelling up. Go over to where they are standing and when the woman on the third floor pokes her head out yell what you want. "Uno de queso," "uno de jamon," "uno de cebolla," which ever one you want. The menu is on the street door. She will acknowledge the order. Although this may seem very chaotic, Celina is actually very organized and efficient in keeping her orders straight. Watch what the other people do. When your pizza is read...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 14, 2003

Peso Pizza
Calzada de Infanta esq. San Rafael
Havana, Cuba

Malecón

Attraction | "Drinking on the Malecon"

Malecón Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
The Malecon is perhaps one of the best parts of Havana. The Malecon, which means "sea wall," is wide enough to sit on even for those who are scared of heights. Many Cubans on nice nights, when the sea is not too rough, congregate at certain parts of the Malecon. If you walk or drive along you will see different groups and activities going on. There are amateurs out there with their guitars, siging and dancing. There are young teenagers out on dates. There are couples enjoying the romance of the sea. There are fisherman working in groups, casting lines. All you have to do is buy yourself a bottle of Silver Dry or a couple--especially if you want to make friends fast. There are tons of Cubans not lookin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 14, 2003

Malecón
Desde la Habana Vieja hasta Miramar
La Habana, Cuba 10100
Not applicable

Festival Internacional del Habano

Attraction | "Havana Film Festival"

Festival Internacional del Habano Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
The festival takes place for about two weeks in mid-December. Check the Internet for the exact dates. The festival features mainly Latin American films, often those you'd never see in the United States. However, there are also European and American films. Directors, actors, and other artists come from all over to attend. In 2002, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Matt Dillon, and the directors of Cidade de Deus and El Crimen del Padre Amaro attended. The festival gives more energy to the city than any other time of year. Also, as the Havana arts scene and Cuban culture lack the pretensions that seem to dominate many artistic gatherings, the atmosphere is relaxed and focused on the films. Tickets can be p...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 14, 2003

Festival Internacional del Habano
Corporación Habanos S.A, Mercaderes 21 esquina a O'Relly
La Habana, Cuba 10100
+53 7 339509

Playas del Este

Attraction

Playas del Este Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
Many people travel all the way to Varadero in search of Cuba's beautiful beaches. However, a closer and cheaper beach lies only 20 minutes from Havana by taxi. It should cost about $10-$15 from Havana Vieja and Vedado. Tell the driver to take you to Mar Azul (a hotel name) in Las Playas del Este. This way you can spend an afternoon soaking in the sun and not miss Havana's nightlife (that of Varadero is decidedly lacking in the culture department). The beach is gorgeous and very clean with fine white sand and blue waters. It mirrors what you see in those Caribbean beach brochures. There are huts along the beach which serve great fish--they are much better than the hotel food . . . and quicker. E...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 14, 2003

Playas del Este
Avenida Máximo Gómez a Vía Blanca
La Habana, Cuba 19360
Not available

Cafe de Paris

Attraction

Cafe de Paris Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
If you hit Cafe de Paris on a good night, it has an amazing energy mainly fueled by their night band which is a bit more energetic and youthful sounding than their other Habana Vieja counterparts. Cafe de Paris is good for people-watching. There are not too many jineteros. As far as Habana Vieja is concerned, their prices are on the cheaper side.

**You also must realize that in going to bars in Havana you will not really run into Cubans other than jinateros. Cubans just cannot afford it. For a more Cuban night, you'll want to check out the Malecon section.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 14, 2003

Cafe de Paris
Calle Obispo & San Ignacio
Havana, Cuba

How to Hitchike

Story/Tip

Quote:
First of all, you better be a female. Men can do it but the success rate is signifigantly lower. Hitchiking is safe in Cuba (but follow normal precautions--don't do it at night, use your instincts, etc.) and is the common form (sometimes the only form) of transportation for many Cuban women and people. However, there is an art to it. It is not a simple holding out of a thumb and hoping a car will stop, although it can be more like that when one gets out of the autopista. In Havana, however, what one does is position oneself at an intersection with a light and when the light goes red to ask the drivers if they are going in your direction. The method favored by most is to ask the single men. Motorcycles...Read More