CUBA has always been on the ‘to visit’ list ever since I arrived in North American in 1996. I think it is high-time I fulfill this desire to travel there. Who has been? What did you think about your visit? Do you have any tips to share?
So there are hotels and then there are B&B’s called ‘Casa Particulars’. People are saying that the stay with a family is a better experience. These can be booked thru AirBnB.
- Casa Concordia – love this one – more expensive but it is well designed.
- You can rent this whole house
- This is a lovely house from 1906 that has been restored [great reviews]
- There is this little hotel Casa Perdo-Maria
- Cute little boutique hotel – Casa Vitrales
- This website has some great choices too it’s like AirBnB
- And there is this site too …
- And of course AirBnB
- Likely one of the most iconic images for Havana these days – this place looks fun – La Guarida
- Decameron – Very Cuban restaurant. Great food and a very special decoration.
- Atelier – Restaurant in old colonial farm. Decorated with contemporary art, good music. Highly recommended.
- La Catedral – Good food for less than 10 CUC, you can savor the authentic Cuban food. C / 8 e / Calzada and 5th
- El Cocinero – This attached to the FAC (Cuban Art Factory) restaurant is one of the nicest places for a nice dinner on the terrace. They have a good menu and is an ideal place for a few drinks.
- Camino al Sol – A place only for lunch. The pasta is home-made. A very tiny and special place. Street 3ra #363 B/ Paseo and 2, Vedado
- Somas – you have to walk up stairs to get to it, but don’t let the appearance of it fool you, the food is meant to be amazing and they have live music (by the way, be prepared to tip the musicians at every restaurant, they will come around with a hat to collect tips, it is basically expected)
- This is a great list explaining the restaurant scene focused on ‘paladares’
- Foodie Hub has a great list of places to check out too – see here.
- Got to get a Mojito from the place it originated – La Bodeguita del Medio
- And then you have to get a daiquiri from – El Floridita
- This site – Havana Insider – provides a current list places to drink
Then there are all the place to visit for music and drinks too, one of the best things in Cuba is music:
- Fabrica De Arte Cubano The most innovative and fashionable place in the city is very near 1861. The old factory has now become the cultural epicenter of the city. Note: At the entrance they hand you a ticket where waiters recorded your drinks and you pay at departure – don’t lose your ticket. Everyone recommends the terrace!
- El Palenque de la Rumba C/ 4 e/ 5ta y 7ma. (Vedado) Cultural center for enjoy “rumba” live music on Saturdays and Sundays. Good vibrations!
- Submarino Amarillo. C/ 17 e/ 6 y 4. Close to John Lennon´s Park you can find a cool place for live music (most of the bands play rock and pop)….Yellow Submarine is not only a Beatles song! 2 CUC entry… Very good atmosphere.
- Maxim Rock. (Centro Habana) C / Bruzon # 62 e / Ayestaran and Almendares. In this concert hall you can enjoy the best punk, hard-rock and metal of Cuba.
- Sloopy Joe’s – A classic 50’s vibe with good cocktails, reopened after more than half a century.
- And for jazz, the club Jazz Cafe in el Centro Comercial Galería Paseo (opposite the Hotel Melia Cohiba) you can see the best Cuban jazz musicians, some of them are among the best jazz artists in the world.
- Callejon de Hammel (Centro Habana) – Ask any taxi driver direction. Usually on Sundays, from eleven. Worth seeing just it’s totally surreal !!
- Rumba Palace, is a great place with great bands (not touristic)
- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – One of the most interesting and best museums in the world represented in terms of national art retrospectives.
- This amazing green tile house – Casa de Las Verdes
- Casa Fuster – this ‘mind-boggling’ mosaic installation
- Museo de Artes Decorativas: for antique lovers this museum is a must.
- Casa de La Amistad (or Casa Baró-Lasa): this is one of the most impressive houses in the city and a history of very special love. Weekends have cultural programming in its amazing gardens.
- Colon Cemetery: definitely a graveyard since 1868 has grown into a great museum majestic marble sculptures. It costs a 1 CUC entry. Main entrance at the end of Calle 12 and Calle Zapata.
- El Bosque de La Habana. Just across the Almendares River bridge you follow the bed of the river to the left and walk about 15 minutes to reach this small jungle in the middle of the city.
- Never miss a performance by the Compania de Danza Retazos
- Other interesting companies are Litz Alfonso C / 659 Compostela and / Luz and Acosta, Old Havana. Tel. (537) 866 3680 and 3689
- For art the Taller Experimental de Grafica located in the the Plaza de la Catedral is highly recommended.
- Vintage lovers must visit THE GARAGE C/ 19 # 1409 e/ 26 y 28 Vedado Cel. 5 2702744
- If you want some skin art – best studio in Cuba: LA MARCA.
- Locally designed clothes visit CLANDESTINA (99% CUBANO)
- It is worth visiting the craft market in La Avenida del Puerto
There is so much information readily available these days on travel to CUBA, that you can get lost in the sea of data. Here are some sources for the information that I have shared above in no particular order:
- Havana Insider is a great source for all things current in town
- Rick Steves – In July 2016 shared his adventure to Cuba in this lecture
- A foodies view of Havana and it’s tasty offerings
- BBC view of CUBA another video
- Conde Nast Traveler has a guide with loads of information where to stay & eat etc.
- This Marie Claire article is great – even if it is from 2015
- This website has loads of information on – La Habana
- This talented women has amazing photos to get you in the mood
- 36 Hours Havana – Also a good story and video by the New York Times
- Of course The Guardian always has good taste and advice
- National Geo – piles of reports worthy of a read
- Travel – Yes Please – have a great 3 day report on Havana and this list of tips for travel to Cuba.
- A blogger who recently went and has some lovely pictures and suggestions.
Here is a list of some tour guide companies to consider:
- A luxury travel guide award winner and highly rated on Tripadvisor – Cuba Connections
- Cuban Trip Compass – also good reviews on Tripadvisor
- Cuban Outings
- Havana Vintage Car Tours – how fun is this?
For the Architectural buffs here are a few tips:
Additional tips and tricks will be added as we continue our research. FOR MORE click below. Read more
We are currently planning a girls trip to Vancouver in May; six girls; a big birthday to celebrate; and lots of first time visitors. I previously lived-in Vancouver 1996-2000, yet haven’t been back for 15 years. I am excited to return, and getting busy on compiling a list of things to: EAT + SEE + STAY.
- Modern Burger – looks like a great interior and we hear the burgers are fabulous too.
- Thomas Haas – Who doesn’t love chocolate and we hear the croissants are the best.
- Cafe Bica – for a value for money breakfast and great coffee. The smoked salmon dishes look lovely too.
- Bridges – Granville Island to watch the activity on the Harbour whilst enjoying happy hour.
- The Farmers Apprentice – local organic menu, delicious and pretty.
- Apollonia – Greek food with an excellent roast lamb, and everything else in between too.
- Don’t Argue! Pizzeria – incredible interior design with great pizza & salads a little further afield.
- La Mezcaleria – for a taco fix [although it’s hard to compete with Chicago’s Big Star]
- Jules Bistro – for french food.
- Vijs – for great indian food – in a kinda formal / fancy style
- Savio Volpe – looks YUMMY, all hand-made pasta and goodness
- Made by Mister – ice-cream place looks OFF THE CHART – creme brûlée ice cream sandwiches – HELLO
- Jam Cafe – This breakfast place looks cute
- Homer Street Cafe – And this place looks adorable and yummy
- Forge – And this one is written up in lots of places
- Medina – Mediterranean brunch spot [love the room and the menu]
- Mott 32 – This one is a new opening – DIM SUM – of course you know it will be good in this city – an outpost from the original in Hong Kong that opened in 1891
- Bin 941 – it use to be a frequent haunt for me – delicious tapas and wine, small but great.
- Rodney’s Oyster House – fab seafood staple, the place I would go when needing oysters.
- Diamond – This cocktail bar looks fun – and they have classes
- The Keefer Bar – love this interior looks like a great place for a cocktail [photo from their website]
- La Tab – This place looks good also for a few stiff drinks – lots of choices.
- The Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar – won best of Vancouver in 2016
- along with this place – Clough Club
- Full House Modern – great Mid Century Modern for the goodies for The Frost House
- Mod Met Home – more good MCM shopping
- By Design Modern – lovely Danish furniture – although I am not sure these pieces will fit in my bag.
- Gravity Pope – for shoes [wants a girls trip without a shoe purchase]
- The Burrard Hotel – that you can book on BeVancouver [photo source] looks great, a retro vibe in the heart of the city.
- Opus Hotel – boutique hotel in Yaletown, more like staying in a condo like a local.
- Pinnacle Hotel – grab a luxe room with either a Harbor or City view.
- There are loads of Airbnb options – but the rules for the high-rises are changing fast.
- And there is this great house in the beautiful Kitsilano area.
- Stanley Park – great for a walk/run/bike around the seawall
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – peaceful walk in the trees if you get there early
- Dr. Sun Yet San Gardens – also know as the Vancouver Chinese Gardens
- Grouse Mountain – walk up the 2.9km trail to the top
- Granville Island – look at the boats and enjoy the farmers market
- Local Wanderer – a hipsters guide
- Foodie Hub – lots of yummy things to eat
- It is from 2015 – but still not a bad list from the Tasting Table
- Another old one from Design Sponge
So what is missing? What should we not miss out on experiencing? I am excited to have all these girls visit my old haunting ground.
Oops! Kinda fell off the map for a moment. All is well in travel and home adventure land. In fact we are excited to share that in May 2016 we bought a mid-century house that we have been super busy restoring and preserving. It is a total hidden gem that we are excited to share with the world. You can learn lots more about it at THE FROST HOUSE and you can follow along on INSTAGRAM too. It has been a long journey. I will spare you of the details, in the meantime, we are super excited to be sharing this wonderful home with family and friends.
On the way to Lisbon we had a pit-stop in London to catch-up with friends and see what was new in town. Of course we had to make the usual stop at St.John Bar & Restaurant in Smithfield. We also had a blast at Bob Bob Ricard – a must for Champagne lovers as each table has a ‘press for champagne’ button. And there was the stop at Liberty for a spot of shopping to shelter from the rain – favorite department store ever. We also checked out Maltby Street – such a wonderful market for food & booze. Oh! And a decadent ‘dinner’ for lunch was had at Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner Restaurant, but not before a cheeky glass of champagne was had at Harvey Nicks [Ab-Fab must do]. All-round a great little pit stop.
If you haven’t been pack your bags and get there. To see more from our trip [until I get more details up] check our instagram feed here.