I would be lying if I said our trip to Cuba was all round perfect, because it simply wasn’t.
From arriving at the Cuban airport and waiting an hour for our luggage we already knew this was going to be quite the trip. As the cab from the airport pulled into our hotel (which I will not name) the real shock set in. The stench of second hand smoke , unpleasant hotel staff (they assumed we’re American), no wi-fi in the rooms, zero signal and totally unfamiliar food, was all enough to make us cry. But we laughed our way through that entire first day, which made me appreciate travelling with my cousin-sister-friend. To cut a long story short we transferred to another hotel and from the following day things got better.
We planned our days to the ‘T’ with a strict mandate of ‘do and see as much as we can’ everyday. This included a city tour that took us to Revolution Square, several cigar stores of course, museum visits, dinner at the National Hotel (which apparently hosts a lot of celebrities) a visit to a rum factory as well as a long bus trip to a tabacco plantation in a small town called Viñales.
We learnt a lot of lessons the hard way on our visit, so I’m happy to share a few tips for anyone planning to travel to Cuba
- Research events that may be happening in the city, (i.e the ballet) in the period of your visit
- Carry a travel book with the best restaurants and experiences around town, just as a guide
- Walk around and get lost, you’ll discover so much of the city that way
- If you’re like me and love hot food, bring you own hot sauce (genuinely)
- Be street smart, negotiate all prices with the cab drivers and just don’t get hustled
- Wi-fi is very expensive and only available at the hotels, so prepare to be ‘offline’ or keep a wi-fi budget. It costs approx. R150 (with current exchange rate) for an hour of wi-fi