Last summer two of my best friends and I decided to go on a trip together. We wanted to travel somewhere with good food, hot weather, and great beaches. Of course, Cuba was the first place that came to our minds. The country has a character of its own and we knew some people who recommended visiting this place. We ended up going to both Varadero and Havana and had the most amazing time ever during those two weeks.
I wanted to share with you what I loved the most about this beautiful country, where I would definitely want to go back:
Cuban vintage cars:
Who doesn’t know the iconic Cuban classic cars? This 50’s vehicles are featured in most of the pictures about Cuba you can find online. The city is full of them (I don’t really remember seeing any other type of car) and the result is a colorful city and a trip to the past.
Even though these cars aren’t being maintained as collection pieces, their owners are extremely fond of them. They also have become a touristic attraction due to their popularity. You can book a tour on one of them for around 15 CUC per hour (12 Euros). I have to say that the experience is incredible.
When planning our trip we didn’t book one of these tours, but there were lots of them at the front of our hotel in Havana. We haggled and finally hired the one who offered the lowest price. Our driver took us to the most important places in Havana and stopped on each site so that we could take some pictures. As we were only going to be two days there, this tour was fantastic. Our driver took us places we wouldn’t have seen otherwise and explained curious facts about each site. He even let us sit on the driving seat and took photos so that we remembered our time there.
See how happy I was?
People in Cuba:
Happy people always make me thrilled and Cubans are happy people. They are always up for a conversation, a laugh or even a dance. While being in Varadero, we made friends out of the blue. It was really easy talking to them and the best way to learn about their culture and traditions.
Cubans appreciate what they have and just enjoy life. The average salary in the country is about 22$ a day, which is around 660$ a month. We were surprised to discover that fares were really similar to the ones you could find in Madrid or London, where the monthly average salary is 2.5K, so their average salary is not high enough to cover their expenses.
We met this great couple in their 60s who shared a house (without a door) with their 2 daughters and their families. They couldn’t be any more welcoming. Their entire house was filled with music all the time and they were full of life. They even wanted to invite us for lunch, even though we could see they didn’t have much money. It was fantastic to meet them and it made us appreciate what we have. We sometimes believe that we need more things to be happy, but Cubans taught me the contrary.
Food in Cuba:
Whenever I travel I love to visit both trendy and local restaurants. The experience of traveling can be very different if you plan ahead where to go. I have brought you a list of 4 places we tried and loved:
- O’Reilly 304: A friend of ours recommended this place and we just loved it. The tiny restaurant might not look like much, but the food and drinks were amazing. We ordered different tapas (you have to try the empanadillas) and the best cucumber lemon mint ever.
- Bar Habana 61: We went there for dinner and then to have a drink and the place was great. We had read that they had the best “ropa vieja” there. This is a traditional Cuban dish full of meat and tastiness. If you have the opportunity to go, order it.
- La Floridita: Every guide to Cuba said that if you liked daiquiris you had to go to La Floridita. Thank god we did! There was live played salsa, with professional dancers around the place while we had our drink. Even though it was always crowded, the drink was worth our time there.
The beach in Varadero:
Finally, my favorite part of the trip was when we went to Varadero. This town is full of resorts as it is best known as a tourist town. But just give me an icing-sugar sand and turquoise waters and you will make me happy.
Our travel agency booked an all-included Melia resort that was just incredible. We even had our own butler! The rooms were awesome and the best thing of all was that we were a few steps away from the beach. Even though Cuba is extremely hot in summer having the sea a few steps away made it all easy and relaxing.
I felt I had to worry about nothing but sunburns. The ocean water is so warm and calm that you could spend the entire day there. Also, we were very lucky as our hotel wasn’t crowded so we could have a whole area of the beach for ourselves. Varadero beach is right now in my top 5 beaches to visit again. And soon.
So, there you have it, what I liked the most about Cuba. So you have any other favorites? Will you travel to this fantastic country? Let me know in the comments down below! 🙂
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See you next time!