Business Insider sends three U.S reporters to Havana to experience Cuba

Posted: 03-Jul-15 13:01

The Business Insider sent three reporters to Cuba recently to see what life was really like out there ahead of the expected influx of U.S travellers following resumed relations between the U.S and Cuba. The journalists headed to the capital Havana to discover the city's delights from meeting locals on the Malecon to sampling homemade mojitos.

Business Insider sends three U.S reporters to Havana to experience Cuba

As diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States begin to resume, following a five-decade-long embargo, more and more travellers are heading to the island to visit the country that appears to have been frozen in time.

The Business Insider sent three reporters to Cuba recently to find out more about the capital Havana.

Amanda Macias, Graham Flanagan and Tyler Greenfield travelled to Cuba from the United States with Cuba Travel Services, paying $900 for a return charter flight with Sun Country Airlines from JFK in New York City to Jose Marti Airport (HAV) in Havana.

One thing to remember when travelling to Cuba if you want to make videos is that microphones are illegal in the country without prior permission from the Cuban government.

The trio were picked up from the airport in a 1955 Chevy Bel Air and taken to downtown Havana to their "casa particular", a traditional private home, which they found on Airbnb.

The following morning, the journalists walked along the Malecon, a long path that runs along the seawall and the equivalent of New York's Central Park when it comes to finding somewhere to relax, play games, go fishing, and enjoy time with family and friends.

Unlike other boardwalks that can be found in other cities that are lined with luxury hotels, cafes and shops, the Malecon is home to colourful abandoned building.

Next, the reporters travelled to Habana Vieja via a "bicitaxi", and the driver gave a short tour along the way while pointing out top sights including La Bodeguita del Medio, Ernest Hemingway's favourite bar for drinking mojitos.

Later that evening, dinner was enjoyed at a nearby "paladar," an authentic family-run Cuban restaurant, where affordable dishes are usually made up of rice, beans, and pork, and washed down with Cuba libres.

The next day, the journalists found a new way to get around Havana - the "cocotaxi". Amanda Macias, wrote:

"We crammed into this three-wheeled, egg-shaped scooter and rode along the Malecon to spend the entire day walking around Habana Vieja."

While Varadero Beach is one of the most popular beach resorts in Cuba, locals pointed the journalists in the direction of Santa Maria del Mar. Macias also explained:

"Our impeccable view of the turquoise water came with a waiter, a giant straw umbrella, and three lounge chairs for $5. We bought fresh coconuts from a man on the beach and filled them with rum and pineapple juice for a massive pina colada."

That evening, the driver Carlo invited the journalists to his home for a traditional meal with his family. Mis Masias commented on the visit:

"He picked mint leaves from his garden and made us the best mojitos we had in Havana. Spending time with him and his family in their home was the highlight of our trip."

Havana is rich in history and culture, with an array of tourist hotspots including the Malecon, the soaring Catedral de San Cristobal, and the Old Town, a UNESCO site with restored buildings and a piazza.

Note: 1 Image credit to: Amanda Macias/Business Insider.


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