I had 10 days to visit this big island, I just had the first two nights booked in La Habana and I followed the flow. It lead me to Viñales, the tobacco and “mogotes” region, Playa Larga on the Bay of Pigs and Trinidad.
I had a BnB booked – as it’s common there – in a family house in the old Habana. This part of the city is very authentic, full of colonial houses and small streets. It’s messy and charming, but a (white) girl alone is the center of all men attention, and it can become annoying, but I’ve never felt unsafe and I passed a really good time there!
The two first days I lost myself in the streets of the old Habana, enjoying the parade of old cars, the beautiful people in the streets, the view of each building, pieces of art left there like the time had stopped… During the afternoon I took a “top on top off” bus (10$) to join the other parts of the city, including the Malecón (the avenue on the bay), the Revolution place, the necropolis Cristobal Colon where I made a break to walk a little bit, and I took back the bus crossing the richer part of the city where you can find the Resorts and Embassies. I came back and enjoyed my last night in La Habana in one of the various restaurant with cuban live music.
TOP 5 areas in old Habana:
Real Fuerza Castle
– If you have time in La Habana don’t forget to visit the Moron Fort, and to enjoy the Jazz Club or La Fabrica
– Everything is negotiable: the taxis, meals and nights!
– You have two money there: the CUP and the dollar, CUC. 1 CUC = 1$usd = 24 CUP
– Airport => La Habana center: aprox 20$
– La Habana => Vinales: Viazul bus 12$, Colectivo 15$ (2h30)
– Viñales => Playa Larga: Colectivo 30$ (6h)
– Playa Larga => Caleta Buena => Trinidad: Taxi 30$ (2h30)
– Trinidad => La Habana: Colectivo 25$
I asked a taxi to leave me to the “Colectivos” leaving to Viñales, close to the Revolution place. When I arrived they told me one was leaving in 30min… 2 hours after it was finally full and we left for a 4 hours trip in a car from the 70th shared with other 6 travelers! When I arrived there a woman offered me a room in her step sister’s home. As always you need to fill in your informations with passport number, and pay cash.
I asked her a tour for the tobacco plantations and 1 hour after I met a guide with his little girl and we went to his place to start a horse tour (we went the three on his bike…). It was a gorgeous day, we met a guy lost in the hills making his cigars and telling me about his business, we visited a cave and a lake where you can swim, and finished in a bar in the middle of nowhere with cubans living there, drinking local rhum!
The day after I had booked a tour to Cayo Jutias, one of the paradise island in the north. We negotiated to stay there a little bit more, and I enjoyed a day in a postcard with a belgium guy I met in the cab! Back to Viñales I met an argentinian woman who told me she had booked a colectivo to Playa Larga. So the 4th day I woke up early and waited for a place to also go there!
– To stay: Casa Yiyi (15$ the night + 5$ diner + 3 breakfast)
– Horse tour: 5$/hour (3h minimum)
– Cayo Jutia: 15$ the taxi with return (1h30)
– If you have time: Visit the Cueva del Indio!
Playa Larga is situated on the Pig’s Bay famous for a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency. It has hot water and whit sand beaches. I arrived, found an BnB and enjoyed the day at the beach. The young woman of the accommodation advised me a dive center where I’ve been the day after for a very nice day swimming in the caribbean ocean in front of cueva de los peces – the fishes cave.
I met there a group of spanish girls and we went out together by night, invited by “Chocolate”, a guy from the dive staff! He found us for the day after a great plan: a taxi driver who accepted to pass the day with us in a All Included called Caleta Buena and to leave us at the end of the day at Trinidad.
– To stay: Casa Leibis (15$ the night + 4 diner + 3 breakfast)
– Diving day: 25$ (45min diving + cuevas de los peces)
– Caleta Buena all inclusive: 15$
After 3 hours driving in an other classic car, we arrived in this colorful old city! My new spanish friends had a great plan for an hotel and we shared a room after a good negotiation. We were on the top of the city, 15min from the main place. There was a special celebration, with a rodeo and dancings by night! We passed two nights there, enjoying the nice streets, painted shops, cheap restaurants and an amazing disco in the heart of a cave…
The day after I needed to go back to La Habana, with a hangover, sharing my Taxi with two Argentinian guys and Russian girl. I passed the last day enjoying again this great city!
– To stay: Hotel Kinto (30$ / night for 3 people with breakfast)
– To eat: Restaurante la Taberna
– To drink: Casa de la Musica
– To dance: La Cueva