Cuba is one of the countries were nothing goes according to your plan. I also found it a bit difficult finding information online before I left, because everything changes so fast and information is only valid for a short period. The whole accommodation thing is also a bit confusing. Because of this, I made a small guide based on my own experience – this is the information I wish someone told me before I left!
As you may noticed in my previous post about the Cuban city Trinidad, it is an extremely beautiful and colorful city. One of the most beautiful moments we had in Trinidad was when we watched the sunset over the city.
St. Francis Church is a yellow church with a tall bell tower, located right next to Plaza Mayor. If you don’t know where you are (you will get confused walking around in all the small streets), you can just look for the tower and locate after that. It is a must to go up in the bell tower to enjoy the view of the city. We did it at sunset, and it was amazing! I think we paid 1 CUC or something, and it was not too crowded either.
Trinidad is a small and colorful town located around 350 kilometers from Havana. It is extremely well preserved, which makes the city a very popular tourist destination. During the day, buses with tourists from the nearby resorts will arrive the city, but at night the city is quiet. The well-preserved town and its colorful architecture aren’t the only reasons to visit Trinidad. Not far from Trinidad, you will find the beautiful beach Playa Anchon, the national park Topes de Collantes and beautiful Valley de los Ingenios.
Vedado is the third area in Havana I mentioned earlier – in addition to Habana Vieja and Centro Habana. Vedado is the area with the most hotels and many restaurants. The standards are much higher than in Habana Vieja, and so are the prices. There are not many sights in Vedado, so if you stay here, you will have to take a taxi to get around the city. But, it is a very nice area, and there are many beautiful buildings here – for example are many embassies located here.
Centro Habana is an area located between Habana Vieja and Vedado. It is not too much to see here, but you will probably pass the area several times when are walking/driving around in Havana. It is actually quite fun to walk around here, because you will see the local Cuban life in another way than in Habana Vieja and Vedado. Centro Habana is also the place to watch old, American cars!
Central Havana can be split into three areas; Havana Vieja, Centro Havana and Vedado. We stayed in Havana Vieja, an area with many hotels/casas. You will also find many restaurants and bars here. This is the area where most of the sights are, so most tourists are spending a lot of time here. Havana Vieja is less crowded than for example Centro Havana, and because of the small streets the traffic is nearly non-existing compared to the rest of the city.
I have always been fascinated by Cuba, the mysterious country with cars from the 50’s, mixed architecture and amazing beaches. The country, which is so well preserved, is now fast changing – to the better for its people – but I wanted to see the “old” Cuba when I still had the possibility.