Trying to decide where to stay in Havana, Cuba? After some research I decided to stay in the Vedado neighborhood since its not full of tourists like Old Havana and I would get a better picture of life for the locals. Plus it was great for new Paladars (For Restaurant reviews hit the link:) in easy walking distance to my Casa Particular.
I arrive at Tu Habana( Calle C #158 / Linea y Calzada Vedado) my home for the next 4 nights by a taxi they arranged for me. It’s a brand new B and B that I found via AirBnB that has hot running water, Wi-fi (that worked muy beuno) in the lobby, an awesome breakfast and a 24 hour staff. Upon arrival I’m greeted with a fresh glass of mango juice. The location is great, just a few blocks away from the Malecon with a number of restaurants in walking distance. My hosts Elizabeth and her Husband, Arapey were awesome as well as their entire staff.
After checking in, I rolled out and on over to the Malecon and headed towards the Hotel Nacional for a happy hour Mojito(of note it took close to an hour stopping to take pics). Along the way I stop at the Calixto Garcia statue and the anti imperialist platform. Once I finally arrive I grab a seat by the water and chatted up some girls from Berlin and Hong Kong while drinking a Mojito.
On the way back I noticed a bunch of blue umbrellas and women wearing black vests and white dress shirts ) and went over to investigate finding a beautiful nautically themed restaurant. El Litoral My first meal put to rest the bad rumour about Havana not having good food.
The next morning over an awesome breakfast my hosts gave me Spanish language, History and Cuban business lessons (we did this every morning, kudos once again Arapey).
My guide Nick (that my local contact Raiza arranged)showed up and we jumped in a local taxi (1 CUC for both of us!) and headed into Vieja Habana (Old Havana) for an awesome fun and informative full day tour(coming up in an upcoming piece)
That night back in Vedado I headed over to a new spot that recently celebrated it’s first year, New George’s. Up the stairs in a big old home I walked into a great space and took a seat at the bar to eat dinner while flirting with the waitresses.
The next morning over another great breakfast my hosts went over a map of Vedado highlighting some historical as well as new spots to check out. I walked from my hotel up Linea past the Hotel Presidente and headed up the Avenue of Presidents lined with statues of leaders from a number of Latin counties including Eloy Al Faro, Omar Trujillo, Salvador Allende and Simon Bilivor (For extra points Google them). I then cut over to Calle 23 and came upon a number of restaurants. I choose Nely’s...I think I simply have developed a sixth sense for this for a Vieja de Ropa sandwich and Lemonata.
I continued on coming to very long line of people on the street and realizing I was at Parque Coppelia home of the same named Ice Cream parlor. I came to where the street turns into La Rampa and then back to the Hotel Nacional to check out some of things my guide told me about that included the Canons(pointed at Miami) and Bunkers(awaiting US ordinance). I watched the waves crashing against the Malecon and then took a comfy seat in the bar area by the hotel and sipped an El Coctail Mafia (Mojito w Aged Rum) where I met and hung out with a couple and their family on a trip from Florida to Cuba to Europe. The winds finally mellowed up so I headed down to check out the historical Pool. I found some girls to play photographer …to my model.
Walking back I came upon a former Synagogue converted into a multi-use building. Further along then I upon Topoly an Iranian restaurant I stopped for a beverage ended up staying for a late afternoon bite. I continued on to John Lennon Statue/Park hitting the MLK monument first, a park and then the John Lennon Bronze. I stopped to watch some locals playing Soccer then as the sun started to set walked back marveling at all the amazing homes.
For dinner I went to a spot a friend told me about Atelier, a beautiful restaurant with indoor and al fresco seating for another very good meal. On Sunday after spending more time in Old Havana I headed over to the Melia to check it out and the surrounding restaurants. I stopped across the street from the Malecon to watch an incredible wave crashing show. Then went to La Chucherria a local sports bar/restaurant for an early dinner and some more of the wave show.
On my last day before I headed to the airport I took a walk back to the Melia to get some sun and a final stroll along the Malecon before I was whisked off to the airport in a sweet old Chevy. At the airport I grabbed a few bottles of aged Rum, some chocolates and Cohiba’s. On the plane I flew off thinking of when I will return…