Making the most of downtime in Havana

Posted: 11-Jun-16 12:28

With American visitors required to cram a busy itinerary of people-to-people activities into any visit to Cuba, it's often hard for travellers to actually get a feel for the island. That being said, even with the restrictions placed on tourists from the US, it's still possible to enjoy your downtime in the country - and in this article we'll look at five ways to unwind without having to venture too far.

Making the most of downtime in Havana

Although holidaymakers from Europe and further afield have long been able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Cuba at their own leisurely pace, Americans are taking their first steps in Cuba.

Havana is a mandatory destination because of its thrilling life and being the capital of the country. Most of the flights land at the International Jose Marti airport, Tamar Lowell, CEO of Access Trips at Exploring Culture Through Cuisine, shares how to make the most of this city in her article about travelling to Havana.

She acknowledge how a full schedule of people-to-people activities can leave you feeling like you’ve not really experienced the country at all. However, she recommends five things you can include in your itinerary that will give you a real flavour of Havana life without taking up too much of your time.

Five things you should do in Havana

  1. Get up close to the action

    While many visitors choose to tour the island via the comfort of a classic American car, Cuba’s Coco Taxi service offers you a far greater chance to get close to the action. Rather than seeing the sights of Havana through a glass window, these bright yellow, partially covered scooters allow you to travel Cuba with the wind in your hair – and best of all, they’re metered so you don’t have to set a fare.

  2. Enjoy a mojito overlooking the sea

    Once the haunt of superstars like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Marlon Brando, the patio at the Hotel Nacional is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a refreshing Cuban drink in peace. If you’re not staying at the hotel itself, getting a reservation can be tricky, but making a reservation in advance is well worth the effort as you enjoy scenic sea views in this sophisticated drinking spot.

  3. Eat at a trendy paladar

    Right up until the 1990s, the only places for tourists to eat in Cuba were sub-par state-run restaurants. These days, however, the birth of the paladar has allowed budding chefs to unleash their creations on the public, giving you the opportunity to enjoy some great authentic grub. Though there are plenty of restaurants that are worth a visit, our pick is Atelier for its great seafood salad.

  4. Enter the maelstrom on the Malecon

    One of the busiest locations in all of Cuba, there’s no place like Havana’s coastal Malecon boulevard for a spot of people watching. Here, visitors will find the very heart of Cuban culture – a would-be city centre that stretches to the very edge of Havana and a place where locals meet to hang out, discuss baseball or simply enjoy the beautiful coastal views. There’s quite simply no place like it.

  5. Lose your inhibitions and make new friends

    Of course, far better than visiting a particular location or enjoying a set activity is simply opening up and talking to Cuba’s warm and friendly locals. Whether it’s joining an impromptu game of street football or dropping in for dinner at a family home, you’ll find that it’s easy to make new acquaintances in Cuba – and this will in turn allow you to see the island from their point of view.

As you can see, there are many ways to make the most of your downtime in Cuba – and the great news for US visitors is that the items on this list won’t eat into the time you’ve set aside for people-to-people activities. By getting out of your hotel and immersing yourself in the culture that’s right on your doorstep, you’ll see a more authentic side to Cuba; and that alone is more than worth the trip.


Popular Holidays in cuba

OUR EXCLUSIVE DEALS AND LATEST OFFERS

Best Value

From £599 per person
villa pinares de mayari

Villa Pinares De Mayari

4.0 stars

Beautifully perched on the panoramic Mensura Hill, surrounded by striking greenery, this blessed and secluded natural...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £629 per person
villa mirador de mayabe

Villa Mirador De Mayabe

2.0 stars

This enchanting villa hotel is surrounded by exuberant tropical plants and is perfectly located in a high point towering...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
sercotel club cayo guillermo

Sercotel Club Cayo Guillermo

3.0 stars

The perfect haven for lovers of nature in its purest state, the Villa Cojimar hotel sits in an idyllic location amidst...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
club amigo atlantico guardalavaca

Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca

3.0 stars

Get away to one of Cuba's best kept secrets for a dream holiday at Club Amigo Atlantico. Guardalavaca is known to host...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
tryp cayo coco

Tryp Cayo Coco

4.0 stars

The perfect beach holiday awaits you the all-inclusive Tryp Cayo Coco hotel, where non-stop entertainment and utmost...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £699 per person
memories holguin

Memories Holguin

4.0 stars

Enjoy a perfect beach setting while you unwind in the historic sands of the all-inclusive Memories Holguin. A short...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation

More deals


Explore cuba your way

Tailor made cuba holidays

For those who prefer to travel at their own pace or to explore places not included in the brochure itineraries, we have years of experience at organising tailor-made holidays.

Create the perfect trip with the help of our specialists

Our expert tour consultants will be pleased to suggest ideas to complement your own and to organise the most appropiate programme to suit your interests, time and budget.

Call 0207 644 1600
to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.

If you would like a member of our team to contact you back, please click here Contact us