I had always wanted to visit Cuba. Something about being told I couldn’t go there made me want to go even more. Honestly though, we ultimately made our decision to go because it was the cheapest ticket to a country with nice beaches at the time.
We flew from Denver to Fort Lauderdale and then from Fort Lauderdale into Havana. We arrived super late at night and had to wait in long line at the airport to exchange enough money to get a taxi. We always walk away from an airport to catch a cab because they are often cheaper off of the highway than from the line out front. We were hoping to just jump right into an old classic car, but ended up in some little soviet car. Despite arriving late at night, we decided to put our stuff in our room and go out and walk around. We had slept plenty on the plane and we were too excited to be in Havana to wait until the next day to go out.
We spent the first 4 days in Havana. We stayed in an Airbnb we had booked ahead of time the first two nights and then in a “casa particular” the following two nights. We pretty much just walked all over the city, taking in the sights and eating street sandwiches. We indulged in some nice cigars and rum a couple of times a day. People like cigars and people like rum, but I didn’t see many other people pairing them like I was.
We stayed two nights in a town called Mantanza. It was a cool town because it wasn’t a big tourist stop. It’s always nice to get to hangout somewhere that you can experience a normal day in the life of the people who live there.
We went to Varadero next so we could hangout on the beach for New Year’s. Varadero is a big resort area, but all of the resorts are tucked back really far from the actual town. The town itself wasn’t even touristy, really. We spent about 5 days just hanging out on the beach and going to all of the restaurants in town. We stayed with a nice family that lived a block from the ocean. Everything in Varadero is, at most, just one street away from the beach.
When we left Varadero we came back to Havana for another two nights and booked a late flight home, so we could spend the last day walking around. We waited by the road to hail the perfect classic 50’s Pontiac taxi and flew home to sub-zero temperatures and snow.