Everything Cuba: The best places to stay, dine and hang out like the stars

Posted: 10-Mar-16 09:37

As more and more Americans find a reason to visit Cuba, the possibility of trying out new food and experiences opens up to a wider scope of U.S. visitors. Based on the venues already visited by a number of American musicians and entertainers, Billboard magazine offers some suggestions for trying out new food, new hotels and new destinations.

Everything Cuba: The best places to stay, dine and hang out like the stars

Once off-limits to most U.S. travellers, Cuba is becoming an attractive destination. The once-forbidden country now welcomes Americans who meet one of the 12 categories authorised for travel to Cuba, such as education, cultural exchange and research. This is opening the door to an influx of musical acts, too, including those from the United States.

Major Lazer played a free show outside the U.S. Embassy in Havana

Some of the recent visitors have included American stars like Rihanna and Katy Perry. Most recently, though, the electronic music trio Major Lazer played a free show outside the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Other musicians are planning concerts in the near future, too. These include a free concert by the Rolling Stones at the end of March and an international music festival, put on by Cuban and American partners, planned for early May.

To see and experience Cuba like the stars who have recently visited it, there are several locations Americans can head to. In a recent article printed in the online edition of Billboard magazine, writer Carson Griffith detailed what he considers the best places to stay, dine and hang out in Cuba, as experienced by some of the biggest names in American music.

Once in Cuba, Griffith suggests staying at Hotel Nacional. Dating back to the 1930s, the author describes the hotel as elegant, and notes past guests like Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra. He adds that the hotel bar readily serves up Cuba’s famous mojitos.

Along with recommending Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Griffith also points out the impressive location of Hotel Iberostar Parque Central. Close to cultural destinations and nightlife, you’ll find it right in the middle of Colonial Havana, with a full view of the city from the hotel’s rooftop pool.

Choose a balcony table for two at La Guarida

When recommending places to eat, the author suggests choosing a balcony table for two at La Guarida. Featured in the Cuban film "Strawberry and Chocolate", and the dining spot of Beyonce and Jay Z, the restaurant serves up "nuevo Cuban cuisine" within a colonial-style setting.

Griffith also highlights the more casual La Fontana, a dining destination that has hosted a varied bunch of famous guests; from Rihanna to local musicians. Open since 1942 and also recommended by Griffith, past visitors to another location, La Bodeguita del Medio, have included Nat King Cole and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Visit locations like La Finca Vigia

When describing where else to hang out, the author suggests leaving the beach behind and visiting locations like La Finca Vigia. A tour of Ernest Hemingway’s former home is free, and offers up the opportunity to see where the author wrote much of The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

To experience a night out on the town, Griffith recommends Bar Sarao. The club offers a mix of modern hits and Cuban music. American musicians such as Ludacris, Usher and Katy Perry have all visited.

In order to travel to Cuba, however, Americans must book a trip via a licensed tour operator, capable of handling visas. Griffith suggests going with tour operator Conscious Cuba, founded by Francis Harrison, who several years ago studied abroad in Cuba and even today extensively visits the country.


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