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Cuba Travel How To Get Around In Havana? What To Eat?

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Cuba Travel How To Get Around In Havana? What To Eat?

If you are considering traveling to Cuba, you should know that there is a unique food scene within its borders. Traditional Cuban food is known to have many different cultural influences.

As a tourist planning a trip to Cuba, it is important to know that the most convenient way to get around Havana is by taxi.

Some of the taxis are old American Chevys from the 1950s, others are newer Russian Ladas, while most of the tourist taxis are modern Peugeots, Skodas and even Mercedes.

Cuba Travel Tips: Taking a Taxi in Havana

It is illegal for tourists to take anything other than official government taxis. But it’s often easier to summon one of the older Chevys or Ladas. When you take an illegal taxi, negotiate the fare in advance. The fare in illegal taxis will not be cheaper than the official taxi fare. Taking illegal taxis within the city will not be a problem. However, using an illegal taxi to and from the airport may attract the attention of the police.

Minibuses consist of old, worn-out yank tanks (large American cars) with a taxi sign on the roof or windshield. Tourists should not take these minibuses, but you will rarely encounter any problems and they are a fun and cheap alternative to state-run taxis. They set the fares and routes so you may need help the first few times. Fares range from 10 CUP for a short (5 km) distance during the day to 20 CUP for a longer distance or at night. Drivers are usually honest about fares, but it’s best not to appear careless by asking how much it costs at the end of the trip. Always pay attention to what other passengers give and if in doubt give 10 CUPs and if they ask for 10 more CUPs give them. You may have to wait a long time to find a minibus as they are very popular with Cubans and are often full, but the experience and savings are worth it.

By far the cheapest taxi company in Havana is Panataxi. These are usually yellow or white Ladas with red badges (they’ve also added yellow Peugeots recently) so it’s worth the wait to save a few bucks. Panataxi will take you to the airport from Central Havana for around 12 CUC.

Coco Taxis are yellow three-wheeled motorcycles that are a cheap way to get around central Havana.

Best Places and Beaches in Cuba

Choosing a tropical destination like Cuba often comes with the hope of some sunshine.

While there is so much fascinating history and culture to explore in this warm and colorful country, a holiday really isn’t complete without some good, relaxing beach time. To help you plan your itinerary for your Cuba tour without missing any of the tropical beauty of white sand and blue waters, here are the five best beaches in Cuba.

Varadero

Can you imagine approximately 20 kilometers of white sand and almost transparent blue water? This is Varadero beach, a few kilometers east of Havana. Varadero is one of the most famous beaches in Cuba for several reasons. First, the beach is so large that even though it’s one of the most popular spots, you’re sure to find a peaceful spot for your towel. Secondly, the water is very clear and not deep at all for long periods of time, making it perfect and very safe for children. The clear water in Varadero is also ideal for diving and exploring under the sea.

santaclara

Santa Clara is a great option for those who want to combine culture and sunbathing. The small town of Santa Clara is charming and filled with history connected to Che Guevara. There is even a large statue of him still standing in the main square. There are also various museums, concerts, and events held throughout the city to help you discover Cuban culture.

When it comes to sunbathing, the beaches of neighboring Cayo Santa Maria have everything anyone could want. This unique beach, with more than 10 kilometers of pristine sand, is protected by UNESCO and is home to many wildlife. Flamingos, lizards, birds, … don’t be surprised if one of these creatures passes by your towel. The large reef protects the coast from wind and very intense waves, making this beach a true paradise on earth.

Cayo Coco Island

If you want to dive, Cayo Coco Island is the place for you. This island north of Cuba is in the middle of one of the world’s most incredible coral reefs (second in the world, according to experts) and is the ideal place to see marine life with your own eyes.

The beauty of the beaches around the island, which covers a total area of ​​​​approximately 27 kilometers, is something else. Although you’ll find a surprising difference between the beaches in the north and south of Cayo Coco Island, the water is warm and clear everywhere. In the south you can explore some tropical mangroves, while in the north the Atlantic coast hosts traditional perfect paradise beaches.

Guardalavaca

Guardalavaca beach is not one of the classic huge white sand beaches mentioned above, it is a little gem perfect for privacy and divers. Guardalavaca beach is indeed small, but it is protected by huge coral reefs that create a unique ecosystem. There are even some underwater caves to explore. And if this is not enough to convince divers, I would like you to know that the water is so clear that visibility under water is about 20 meters … in other words, this is a unique marine experience that awaits you at Guardalavaca beach.

Trinidad

Trinidad is by far one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, with its magnificent buildings and pastel colors, but its beaches should not be forgotten either. You can find a little bit of everything in Trinidad, as the city has many beaches facing in different directions: both classic postcard beaches on the north Atlantic coast and wild beaches on the east coast.

While many beaches around Trinidad will satisfy your sunbathing needs, one is unique enough to be mentioned on this list: Grande Rivière. This beach is a lush paradise where you can canoe or take a dip in the river, as well as hike through the tropical forest surrounding the area. It is also a large turtle nesting area. There are many guesthouses in this area, many of which are aimed at sustainable tourism. In short, Grand Rivière is the perfect tranquil escape when you’re done exploring incredible Trinidad.

Of course, many other beaches in Cuba are true tropical beauties. Some can only be reached by boat, which takes hours, or are so wild that there is no accommodation available.

The only rule for a tropical vacation? Explore, but don’t forget to relax on the beach, that’s what you’ve been dreaming about.

Which of these beaches did you include in your program for your Cuba trip?

Traditional Food Guide in Cuba

If you are considering traveling to Cuba, you should know that there is a unique food scene within its borders. Traditional Cuban food is known to have many different cultural influences. At every corner you will see a multitude of Cuban dishes, Cuban recipes and Cuban restaurants that intricately combine various aspects of African, Latin American and Caribbean influences.

However, it is worth noting that the food in Cuba is very bland. If you’re expecting the fiery pepper flavor found in some other Caribbean islands, you may want to get rid of that expectation now. Keep in mind that Cuba’s national dish is rice and beans (Moros y Cristianos); this will tell you almost everything you need to know about the flavor profile of your cuisine.

There is a popular saying that we now find to be true that “the best Cuban food can be found in the United States.” However, despite the noticeable lack of spice and heat, traditional Cuban cuisine still has plenty of charm (in its own way).

Traditional Food in Cuba: What to Expect?

In Cuba, the best food is often found in Casas or Paladars (Casas are hostels-run homes; Paladars are small, family-run restaurants) . Black beans are a staple in Cuban homes, so you can expect them to be included in many dishes. For meat, Cubans also often eat fried pork or chicken (usually in the form of sour orange chicken).

Beef and lobster are controlled by the government and therefore illegal to sell outside government-owned hotels and restaurants. But if you’re a tourist, you’re in luck because special lobster lunch/dinner offers are plentiful for tourists. Coming to the subject of meat, you will be surprised to see things like turtles on the menus of Paladars, but remember that they are in danger of extinction and it is illegal to eat them.

Paladars are plentiful even in small towns. Seating is often limited, so you may need to arrive when they open to secure a table, usually around 5 or 6 p.m. If you are staying in a particular Casa, ask your host for recommendations as the quality of the food can vary greatly between Paladars. As a general rule, only eat at places that have a printed menu with prices on them, otherwise you’ll probably pay two to three times what you should. However, many are said to have started printing two different menus, one with local prices and the other with foreign prices.

Eating at a paladar is completely legal, but be aware that if you are taken there by a Cuban, you may pay extra to cover the commission of the person who brought you. A dinner will cost around 7 to 10 CUC per person. Food in state-owned hotels and restaurants is significantly more expensive than prices in many first world countries. An average dinner with soup, dessert, and a glass or two of wine can easily cost 20 to 30 CUC per person. Keep in mind that the vast majority of income for employees at these establishments comes from tips (their monthly salary is often less than the cost of a meal), making tipping generously for good service a friendly and welcomed gesture.

When it comes to Cuban food, you’ll discover that it’s particularly difficult to find restaurants that serve breakfast in Cuba outside of resorts; Most casas will provide guests with a large breakfast if requested for around 4 CUC per person.

A delicious serving of cajita (called “little box” in English) with rice, vegetables, plantains, and pork or beef is an attractive and affordable option. It is usually sold in people’s homes for about $1. You can also opt for the surprisingly delicious Cuban sandwich made with Cuban bread and enjoy it comfortably with a good cup of Cuban coffee.

Street Food in Cuba

You can also find small street vendors selling a variety of foods. As you wander the streets of Cuba, you’ll notice that most street food vendors are essentially selling the same thing—pizza—for prices usually ranging from 2 to 12 CUP. Naturally, this is a staple for vendors because it is significantly cheaper to make compared to more complex dishes. The idea is to use more affordable ingredients and layer them on homemade pizza dough with a little olive oil.

It should be noted that, as with most street food corners, the quality of food will certainly vary from vendor to vendor, so when you find a good one, take note and be sure to visit it again. Again, many of these stores are operated from people’s living rooms, and shopping at them is a good way to provide extra income for a Cuban family. While these meals are satisfying and inexpensive, keep in mind that long lines are common and vendors are rarely in a rush to make sure everyone gets fed quickly.

The Main Idea of ​​Traditional Cuban Food

Although we haven’t been generous with our praise and have given rave reviews of the local Cuban cuisine, it’s still a great place to visit. The people, the energy, and the overall culture are beautiful and incredibly heartwarming. What we mean is this; If you consider yourself a foodie, Cuba may not be the place for you. Instead, while the food is average (seen as a means of subsistence rather than enjoyment and pleasure) the country makes up for it with energy, activities and overall warmth!

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