Touching down in Havana

Cuba had always been a dream destination for me, and when the day came to fly to Havana it was difficult to believe it had finally arrived! Despite it being one of my top destinations to visit for years, when i heard the news of the embargo with the US lifting, like many people, I decided now had to be the time to go. Despite our measly stipend in Colombia we had managed to live on a shoestring and still save enough to book our flights and have some spending money for two weeks.

Our ride from the airport

Our ride from the airport was exciting in itself, our first time in a classic car, as we made our way to our casa
. I was amazed at how many classic cars there truly were. In all colours and models, most working as private or collective taxis. Billboards were absent of advertisements but instead hosted slogans supporting the revolution, communism and Fidel Castro. It was official, we had well and truly made it to Havana!

After dumping our bags, we headed out to explore. We headed along La Rampa that cuts through the barrio of Vedado in the direction of the sea. We tried to make sense of prices on menus as they showed them in both Monedad National and the convertible peso, before trying to order our first Havana pizza. Its unique doughy base and lack of crust was delicious and we washed it down with a freshly made pineapple juice. 

The Malecon

We continued walking and soon found the unmarked wifi spots with everyone sitting on the wall, head down on their phone. We made it to the Malecon, the long sea wall which we followed until we reached the old town. We wandered down the Paseo del Prado, survived our first jintero “attack” and soon found ourselves at El Floridita. This “cradle of the Daiquiri” was teeming with tourists and wasn’t the most relaxing of places to enjoy a cocktail, although the live music was great. 

El Floridita
We continued to explore the old town and as dusk fell stopped off for an oh-so-incredibly-cheap mojoto and Cuba libre. Being in the home of rum can make a non-alcoholic drink seem rather unappealing when they are both almost the same price! As he whipped up our drinks, the bartender told us how he had entered a cocktail making competition that morning with the hope of winning the trip to London. Music filled the streets as we wandered, with three and four piece bands playing in most of the bars we passed. Our evening finished with a few beers looking out to sea as we sat on the Malecon, contemplating the adventures that were yet to come on our trip.

What more could you want to finish off a day of exploring!

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