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Cuba, Part Two: Hot Spots in Havana

Hey guys, happy Spring! As promised, albeit a bit late, here is Part Two of my Cuba coverage and experience. This time I’m focusing solely on Havana and where to eat, what landmarks to see, and things I recommend to do while there. Now, I was only in Havana for 3ish days, so I don’t doubt that there’s so many more places to check out other than what’s on this list. But these were the spots that stood out the most to me and what I want to pass on to all of you, if you have the chance to go anytime soon!!

Places to Eat/Drink

Starbien – Vedado (residential neighborhood). Looks like it could be a private home unless you look closely. Amazing food and it’s always booked, so definitely make a res for this one.

El Litoral Restaurant – also in Vedado. Good food, nice vibe, cute bar area. Overall a solid choice for a laidback dinner.

Paladar San Cristobal – Central Havana. Amazing food with quite the reputation (Obama and Beyoncé & Jay-Z have eaten there, among other high-profile guests), but shockingly inexpensive. The décor is also really cool too…ladies, use the restroom and you’ll understand what I mean.

O’Reilly 304 – Old Havana. Small, but a very cute and modern bar on a famous Havana street, with fabulous drinks. They serve food too, though I didn’t eat there so I can’t speak for that.

La Floridita – Outskirts of Old Havana. It’s one of Hemingway’s famous spots, and known for its daiquiris. Fair warning: it’s super touristy, but just go to say that you went.

El Bodeguita del Medio – Old Havana. Another Hemingway spot, this one is known for its mojitos. Also super touristy, but again, if it’s your first time in NYC, are you going to go to Times Square? Sadly, yes. So if it’s your first time in Havana, these places are worth checking out just to say that you went and saw the hype.

Sarao’s Bar – Vedado. A truly authentic lounge/club, with great live music on most nights. There was a small cover charge at the door but it was like 10 CUCs, no big deal. IMO it doesn’t get more local than this…we were definitely the only Americans in there, and let’s just say I wasn’t complaining.

El Templete – Old Havana. This place is well-known for their fish and seafood. It is a bit touristy, and there were a few panhandlers by the entrance outside because of that, but I enjoyed my fish there and it’s right on the water, so the view of the coast was nice.

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Massive and delicious drinks at O’Reilly 304

Landmarks/Places to See

Hotel Nacional – Vedado. Stunning, grand, historic, one of the nicest hotels in Havana. There’s a massive Cuban flag on the property so you can’t miss it.

Plaza des Armes – Old Havana. Cute outdoor plaza with lots of restaurants and shops around that area

Museo de Revolucion – Outskirts of Old Havana. It’s a beautiful building that used to be a palace and is filled with interesting history about the Revolution, Cuban Missile Crisis, and more

Paseo del Prado– famous avenue approaching Old Havana. There isn’t much shopping or dining but it is a wide street with space in the middle to sit or walk, so it is essentially like a promenade. Very picturesque.

Capital Building/Gran Teatro – if you’re walking on Paseo del Prado, you can’t miss these buildings. The government building looks very similar to the one in D.C. (Fidel Castro intentionally copied the look of the U.S. building because he liked it so much lol), and the theater building was one of the most stunning buildings I saw in all of Havana…hence why it is the cover photo of this post! Make sure to go at night too; seeing the theater building lit up with all the classic cars passing by was truly something special.

Hotel Saratoga – half a mile away from the Capital building. A small hotel with a beautiful indoor lobby bar. Perfect for a nightcap or mid-afternoon coffee.

Buena Vista Social Club vs. Tropicana – locals told us that the Tropicana is very expensive and touristy, so we decided to go to Buena Vista Social Club for music instead. It was also touristy, but 30 CUCs gets you 3 drinks per person, and if you like Cuban/Latin music, you’ll love it. With that said, if you don’t mind paying more for the Tropicana and have enough time, check that out too. Why not, right? How often are you in freaking Cuba?!

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Trying my hardest not to choke and die…i mean, enjoy!!…a classic Cuban Cohiba at Paladar San Cristobal

Thanks for reading, and I hope these suggestions are useful for you if you decide to visit (or return to!) lovely Havana. I personally cannot wait to go back. Until next time, boujies!

Xx, Rae

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