Bay Area fashion blogger inspiring [life] style

Friday, March 3, 2017

Traveling to Scenic Havana, Cuba

For my birthday last month, I did a fun '90s pub crawl with some friends here in the Bay Area. We all had a fabulous time, but I kind of wanted to do something a little more special. Knowing that I was traveling to Florida for a friend's wedding, I decided to tack on a quick trip to a nearby destination: Cuba.

From south Florida, the Havana airport is only a 45 minute plane ride. So the hubs and I looked into the travel rules and packed our bags for this island country getaway. Since there was a long-standing struggle between the U.S. and Cuba, travel to the country has been pretty much restricted for citizens, until recently. But the hubs and I really wanted to educate ourselves and learn more about Cuba, especially since this is something that our parents' generation could not do.

Enough talking -- let's just get into the photos so that you can see beautiful Havana, Cuba for yourselves.
[most of these were taken by the hubs]

THE VIEWS

Most of the photos here were taken from our Havana city tour. The all-day tour was such a blast as we were able to learn so much about Cuba. The first half of the tour was a walking tour that took us all around Old Havana. The second half of the Havana Tour Company tour was a two-hour ride in a 1950s classic car, which allowed us to see even more of the city. 

Walking around Havana was quite pleasant. Everyone was friendly and the city is definitely ideal for walkable streets. Going from the city center to various neighborhoods, you're instantly struck by the colonial architecture. Even though some buildings are in need of repair, they actually add a wonderful juxtaposition against the colorful edificios as well.

THE FOOD

You won't see all the great photos of the city or the food that we took, but know that we did have some fabulous meals. It's not easy to find good Cuban food in the Bay Area, but I've had a lot of great meals in Florida and again in Havana. A couple places were hit or miss, but the lunch during the tour (and the condensed milk coffee the next day) were really amazing.

THE PEOPLE

Havana is no introvert. The people are very welcoming and lively. Children and adults (and even dogs) pepper the streets at practically all times of day. Even walking back to our hotel at night, we would find many people sitting at this plaza just talking. When only 3% of the population has internet, it can make living in the moment a whole lot easier.

THE CARS

You can't visit Cuba and not ride in a 1950s classic car. Although they look pretty, being a classic car driver is a tough job as not just anyone can afford to do it. Cuba is divided between state-run and private businesses. I would recommend taking a ride in one of these along the Malecon (with an ocean view) with the top down during the evening hours. But bikes, scooters, taxis and horse-drawn carriages are also wonderful options.


So, what do you guys think of Havana, Cuba? Most of the photos from our trip can be seen here, but you'll always find a few more on my Instagram!

If you plan on visiting Cuba in the near future -- and you should -- be sure that you read the rules, obtain a travel visa and enjoy the culture. You will need a travel visa before going to Cuba. You can pay for one on the site I linked (for $50 I believe) or you can buy it at the airport before your flight. The process is quite simple. After you check in at the kiosk, they will direct you to the travel visa kiosk where they will give you the visa. You just fill it out and keep it with you during your stay. You don't hand it in until your departure flight from Cuba back to the states. 

When you get to the airport, you will need to get your boarding pass stamped at your terminal counter before boarding the flight. And, of course, you'll need your passport as this is an international flight. As the site I listed will tell you, there are currently 12 reasons that allow you to travel to Cuba. Some reasons include: a family visit, journalistic activities, humanitarian projects, etc. We went for educational/people-to-people activities, which I believe is the most popular choice for a traveler. 

Flights leaving out of Mexico and Florida are pretty inexpensive and very quick. Stay in an Airbnb (or home stay) if you can't get a room at one of the newer hotels. Book a tour and make some time to see places outside of Havana if possible.
SHARE:

28 comments

  1. Yes!! I've wanted to go to Cuba for a long time, this looks amazing. Love all the bright colours. The tour sounds like a great way to learn and see a lot of the sights! Am glad you went and enjoyed x

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so awesome I want to visit so badly, these pics are amazing.

    xo
    Pinksole

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been DYING to go to Havana! Your photos are amazing! My in laws are going next week. Super jealous!
    xo Jessica
    www.whatsfordinneresq.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. Looks every bit as I had imagined. It is on the top of my list. Sigh!

    P.S. I want to know more details. Don't they need a 'reason' to travel. Tourism is not enough? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just added a link at the bottom where I wrote "read the rules" to better assist. You can find all the info there. You need to get a travel visa first. You can pay for it online and then pick it up at the airport when you check in, or you can do it all at the airport. I believe it's $50. And you do need a reason -- one of the 12 reasons listed on that site. Most people go for reason #5: educational/people to people interaction. Tourism isn't a reason, so no, tourism is not enough. Even though educating yourself about Cuba and interacting with people is basically the majority of what you'd do when you travel there, like a tourist.

      Delete
  5. LOVE the recap and pictures. So glad you went there! Miss you guys. I might have to repost some on BO if that's okay :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss you guys, too! And yes, feel free to repost on BO. You can use any of the photos here or the ones I just added on Instagram.

      Delete
  6. This is one of my favourite destinations, for me it was all about traveling back in time. Everything is so grand !
    The buildings are outstanding, you can get a glimpse of the luxury they had before the revolution, I mean the Presidential Palace that is now a museum has an entire room decorated by Tiffany himself ! The Guerlain boutique... how fabulous that you got to enjoy Habana.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is awesome to see as a Cuban girl myself! My family left as soon as Castro started his "presidency," but I truly hope things get better for this country because my grandmother always tells me its so incredibly beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've not been to Cuba yet so I was wondering more about how it was there. Only a few friends that I know have visited there on holiday and a couple said they were treated well, like having extended family even when they went to restaurants.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is on my travel list, so glad to see you had a blast!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've been just a little curious about Cuba ever since tourism has opened up there. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips! It really looks like such a beautiful and vibrant country despite past leadership issues.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks absolutely amazing Cheryl, this makes me want to plan a trip myself. My family wants to go together which I think would be so much fun. I loved all your photos and words of advice for getting around.

    Great post dear
    Nicole
    A Styled Love Affair

    ReplyDelete
  12. I had no idea Cuba was just a 45 min plane ride from Florida! It's so close! Your pics are amazing and makes me want to go with my family someday.

    www.flashesofdelight.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Haven't been to Cuba but I will love to visit very soon.
    All these images are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh lucky you! I'm dying to see Cuba in all it's whimsical glory. Must be such a wonderful experience to step back into time. I'm hoping I can get there before modern conveniences and themes catch up

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your trip to Havana sounds awesome! I love that people-to-people activities are a legitimate reason for visiting the country :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Cuba looks like an amazing place! I love all your photos

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great trip and Photosee! Such a unique experience

    ReplyDelete
  18. Adorable pics!
    Have a nice week-end!
    Gil Zetbase

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love how you guys decided to go to Cuba! Based on your photos, I love the charm and culture. I had no idea it was that quick of a flight to Florida. Definitely makes it even more ideal to travel there!

    www.rdsobsessions.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have never ventured to Cuba but food, dancing and bright vibrant colors make we want to head there!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm soooo jealous! I want to visit Cuba ASAP.


    Best,

    Candace

    ReplyDelete
  22. As this is a new destination, everyone wants to know the rules for a visa and you gave us the deets. The photos look great and make me want to go there too. I would just love to ride in the 1950 chevy with the drop top.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Gorgeous photos and place! Now I want some flan...

    <3
    for vanity's sake

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is such an awesome post that really captures so many elements of what Cuba is all about + this makes me want to go to Cuba! It wasn't necessarily on my list before, but definitely want to add it now! xx Adaleta Avdic

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is breathtakingly beautiful!! I just couldn't deal with the stray dogs though, I have a fear of dogs :( but wonderful post and a good experience!

    http://the-renaissance-of-inner-fashion.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

♥ Thank you all for leaving your comments! ♥ Remember to find inspiration in everything! ♥

Blogger Template Created by pipdig