The Sophisticated Life tells you what to do in Cuba

Posted: 18-Apr-16 13:11

As more and more American citizens make plans to travel to Cuba, one U.S. travel blogger is sharing her list of what to see and do while there. She includes recommendations on how to spend your time in Havana and also offers insight into day trips and road trips outside of the city's boundaries, from Trinidad to Cienfuegos.

The Sophisticated Life tells you what to do in Cuba

There is much to experience in Cuba and that’s why one American traveller, who just recently returned from there, is offering up her take on what to do while you’re on the island.

Nadeen, the travel blogger behind the website The Sophisticated Life, writes that the first day of her seven day visit was supposed to offer up an evening out in Havana. Due to travel delays, though, she and her husband simply checked into Hotel San Miguel.

Nadeen says the second day was spent exploring Havana city. They first stopped at Fusterlandia, an artistic neighbourhood in the Jaimanitas area. They then explored Old Havana’s “Casa Museo De Africa”, a town home housing artwork from Africa. Nadeen points out everything was in Spanish and although the location did not charge admission they were asked to leave a donation.

Other stops this day included El Floridita restaurant, where she recommends ordering a daiquiri as this is place where said drink was invented. Later they tasted mojitos and listened to live music at Hotel Nacional. She says you can walk to the nearby La Zorro y EI Cuervo jazz club and pay $10 CUC for two drinks and live music.

On day three, the couple paid $50 each to hire an English-speaking guide and a vintage car to tour Havana. They also embarked on an Old Havana walking tour and made a stop at a cigar factory, as well as Revolution Square and John Lennon Park. In addition, the tour guide drove them down 5th Avenue, home to Fidel Castro and other large mansions. In the evening of this day they went to the municipality of El Cerro. Normally filled with the sound of Tambor drummers, the area was quiet due to Holy Week so they ended up listening to a local drummer in a private home.

Day four brought Nadeen and her husband to the Vinales Valley. She boasts the area is famous for its oddly shaped hills (called mogotes), views and tobacco farms. Two hours or so from Old Havana, in Vinales they toured a tobacco farm, took a cave tour and visited the Mural de la Prehistoria. She recommends trying a "Pina Colada" while there. She also points out that many restaurants in Old Havana stay open late so they were able to eat a great meal at La Farmacia when they returned to the capital.

On day five a tour guide led them to a number of beach towns located along the country’s southern coast, including a stop at The Bay of Pigs. They then travelled to Cienfuegos, about four hours from Havana. There they watched yachts in the bay and dined at Club Cienfuegos. She recommends going to see the Spanish-Moore architecture of Palacio del Valle. Afterwards they travelled another hour-and-a-half to the small city of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. She mentions nightly live music at Casa de la Musica, plus plenty of colourful shops, restaurants and buildings. They stayed overnight in a casa particular.

The next day they explored the nearby historic Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills). She recommends climbing to the top of the tower of the Manaca Iznaga plantation for the most amazing views of the area. They also spent some time on the beach, ate lunch on Trinidad´s main square and did some shopping before returning to Havana where they checked into the Malecon-facing Hotel Terral.

The final day of their tour the couple stopped at Parque Central in Old Havana. Here she notes they found live music and dancing, plus a line of vintage cars and beautiful hotels. Nadeen and her husband took a $35 driving tour along the Malecon and around Havana in a pink convertible for the next hour, before stopping at San Jose market to buy souvenirs. They also grabbed a mojito in the upstairs bar of La Bodeguita Del Medio. That evening they dined at O'Reilly 304, one of the many new privately-owned restaurants in the city, where the enjoyed a delicious meal accompanied by fancy cocktails as the perfect end to their week-long Cuban adventure.


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