A Road Trip Across Cuba 🇨🇺
In this guide, we will go through what it is like to visit Cuba, what not to expect when you land and why it’s best to just go with the flow.
Where to start...
For all the countries I’ve visited in the world, Cuba ranks in my top 3. Where shall I start; the people, the food, the vibe, the nightlife, the scenery, the music, the freedom, the list goes on. Every bit of it fits together to make this country the gem that it is. By the end of this blog, I'm hoping you will be planning a holiday to Cuba in the near future.
Landing into Cuba? What not to expect...
To gain a WiFi connection you have to go to a certain area in Havana and buy a $2‑5 scratch card to give internet access for 1 hour.
🚗 Rental car service at your feet
Most rent a car services are located within the high end hotels in central Havana, and tend to have a high demand. Our rental car company tried to give us something that literally looked like a deformed spaceship, being picky, we kindly declined. Luckily they had something a bit better which had cost us around $700 for 10 days.
💰 An ATM at the airport
There are a few scattered across the country but none at the airport. However, there is a money exchange. There are 2 currencies in Cuba, the first being the CUC which is equivalent to the US dollar and the other is CUP which is mainly used by the locals ‑ good to have some in hand in the rural parts of Cuba.
Where to stay...
You honestly don't need to plan much before you land. We just booked an Airbnb in Havana for the first 2 nights and then the motive was to hit the road.
In Cuba, there are hardly any hotels when you start drifting out of Havana. However, there are many home stays named "Casa Particular", which are famous in Cuba.
These honestly made our experience 10 times better than staying in a hotel. You have your own room/shower/fresh linen and 2 freshly cooked meals a day, depending where you stay. We were eating like kings, served with fresh seafood, fresh juice and all the extras. All of this was included as a part of our stay, and came at a cost of $12.50 per person per night.
These Casa’s usually have a blue logo hanging outside of the house, so basically while you are driving, try to keep a look out for them. Sometimes the locals like to help for a quick little tip.
Wild Nights, Restless Days
Our journey was based on fun. What ever city we stopped and enjoyed ourselves the most, we would stay a few more days. There was no specific route, but we had in mind the main cities to visit.
Trying to explore the countries history and at the same time enjoy the nightlife takes a toll on you, but was so worth it. We were basically sending it for 10 days straight ‑ non stop. The only rest would be during the day, walking around doing the touristy things.
Our journey was as follows:
Havana > Varadero > Matanzas > Santa Clara > Trinidad > Matanzas > Havana.
✔ Jumped in a classic taxi to tour the coast.
✔ Visited most the historic monuments.
✔ Clubbed with the locals and the rich kids of Cuba.
✔ Bought some cigars in someone’s illegal club house, they turned out fake ‑ kept them as souvenirs.
✔ Bought a few bottles of Havana club rum for $3 each.
✔ Got kicked out of our Airbnb for bringing too many visitors. The negative review remains.
✔ Bought a few Reggaeton CDs to play in the car.
✔ Chilled on the Malecón.
✔ We relaxed on one of the best beaches in the world. The water is super clear and not one bit choppy.
✔ Bought some postcards that never got posted to any of us. Got scammed again.
✔ Partied hard. In this small city, they’ve got clubs that elevate 3 stories high. Most tourists visit Varadero, so it is not as local.
✔ Discovered the best coffee in the world ‑ Serrano.
This place is located about 45 mins drive from Varadero. So some days we would stay in Varadero during the day and drive here during the night.
There are hardly any tourists in Matanzas, especially in one club called La salsa. From the outside there looks like nothing is happening, but once you enter the place, it’s jam packed with locals. It cost us around $1 to get in. We loved this place during the evenings.
This was the most touristic place in Cuba. The place is filled with old cobbled streets, colourful houses, caves with nightclubs inside them, ancient looking churches, scenic mountain views and more.
The vibe at night is nostalgic. Floods of locals and tourists gather around in the main square for dinner and drinks. The perfect set to get the night started.
This is a place which gives you a good feel for old Cuba.
What made the experience was taking the journey as it comes, jumping in a car and road tripping a country with a close group of friends. Being alone I would have definitely experienced it in a different way.
If you have a chance to visit this place while it’s still intact with its history, do not hold back, just do it. The memories will last a lifetime.
〰️ Forever Explore.
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