Cuba in Three Weeks: An Itinerary

Havana

Can’t wait to see the Havana streets! photo cred Angelo Domini on Flikr Angelo Domini on Flikr 

On Saturday I began my journey to Cuba!  As someone who has been dancing Cuban style salsa casino for about four years and salsa for eight, this trip has been a long time in the making!  My goals for the three weeks that I will be there are to dance as much salsa as possible, listen to as much live music as I can, get to know some locals, learn about more of Cuba’s history, and enjoy every step of the way.

Note: I pre-booked all of my lodging with AirBnB.com so I wouldn’t have to carry as much cash around. Also, it is good to do this during the December school holiday vacation time because it is high season and places are getting booked up fast.  You can sign up for AirBnB with my code and get $20 (just click the link)!

Here is a peek at my itinerary for three weeks in Cuba:

Day One: Saturday, Dec 17- Depart CCS at 6AM, layover in Panama, Arrive 3:15PM in Havana- Buy a tourist visa card in Caracas or Panama.

Change money in the departure area of the airport (the lines in the arrivals area are said to be much longer.  The airport is said to have a pretty good rate so exchange a good amount (especially if you a foreigner who won’t have ATM access on the island).

Sleep at Casa Alex. +53 5238 3940

Directions: San Nicolas 458, alto, esquina zanja, centro habana y te dejara comodamente a la puerta de este hospedaje. Taxi from airport to Casa Alex is 30CUC.

Take the elevator (2CUC) to the top of the Bacardi Building for a great bird’s eye view of the city.  Be sure to capture some art deco pictures of the first floor and lobby.

Walk to the Malecon and enjoy the view. Watch the sunset here at 5:45.

Dinner

Live Salsa music and dancing at Casa de la Musica around midnight (10CUC entrance). Galiano, entre Neptuno y Concordia, Centro Habana  (+53)7860 – 8296  Open 10pm-4.30am Tue-Sun

Also Caa de la Musica Miramar Calle 20, esquina 35, Playa  (+53)7204 – 0447 Open 10pm-3am daily Small and can get smoky.

Day Two: Sunday, Dec 18- Havana- Explore Habana Vieja

Climb to the top of the bell tower in the Havana Cathedral for great views

Callejon de Hammel for Music, dancing, street art, good food and drink. Supposedly a great Sunday afternoon dance party. Watch out for pickpockets here.

Have dinner and/or drinks at the government owned 1830. Seafood is said to be good, drinks mediocre, and the live music and salsa dancing top notch. Arrive at 9:30 and sit outside.

Live Salsa music and dancing at Casa de la Musica around midnight (10CUC entrance).

Day Three: Monday Dec 19- Havana- museums- private salsa classes – live salsa music?

Visit the Museum of the Revolution (10AM-5PM, 8CUC)

After dinner at about 8:30 go to Fabrica de Arte Cubano (2CUC entrance) to see live music, have 2CUC drinks, and see many art galleries.

Live Salsa music and dancing at Casa de la Musica around midnight (10CUC entrance).

Day Four: Tuesday Dec 20- Havana- private salsa classes

Visit National Museum of Fine Arts (make sure to visit both buildings)

Visit Ernest Hemingway’s favorite mojito spot at La Bodeguita del Medio order one overpriced mojito (5CUC) and enjoy the ambiance and music.

Check out sunset (5:45 PM in December) for great views of Havana or the cannon firing (9PM) at El Morro Castle (8CUC).

Day Five: Wednesday Dec 21- Vinales horseback riding

Sleep at Casa Paez +53 5419 1600

Day Six: Thursday Dec 22- Taxi back to Havana. I wanted to fly, but the tickets were sold out and so are the seats on the Viazul buses to Santiago de Cuba, so I am going to try to find a shared taxi.

Sleep at Casa Mirador de Catedral

Directions: Directions: Para llegar a nuestra casa. Referencia Hotel Casa Granda Parque Céspedes o Catedral, hacemos esquina con estos lugares.

Day Seven: Friday Dec 23- Santiago de Cuba

Visit San Pedro de la Roca del Morro Castle (UNESCO site)

Day Eight: Saturday Dec 24- Santiago de Cuba

Visit the Diego Velazquez Museum (old house constructed in the 1500s)

Day Nine: Sunday Dec 25- Christmas– Santiago de Cuba

Try to find something open! Maybe Casa de la Trova.

Day Ten: Mon Dec 26- Bus to Camaguey- Leave at 6:30AM. Arrive at 2:20PM.

Sleep at CASA EDUARDO “TINAJÒN CAMAGUEYANO” Room 2

 

Look at art at Galeria Martha Jimenez

Day 11: Tuesday Dec 27- Camaguey

Explore Old Town and Plaza del Carmen

Day 12: Wednesday Dec 28- Bus to Trinidad leaves at 2:45AM arrives in Trinidad at 7:30AM.

Sleep at Hostal La Casita de May

Directions: Callejón de la Cañada #25 and Callejón del Pimpollo.  The house is just about 450m away from the bus station. +53 5408 2904  +1 (786) 857-2207  +1 (786) 317-8449

Day 13: Thursday Dec 29- Trinidad

Explore El Centro

Learn about the Santeria religion at Santeria Israel

Listen to live music and dance salsa at Casa de La Musica or Casa de la Trova

Day 14: Friday Dec 30- Trinidad

Day trip to Playa Ancon

Listen to live music and dance salsa at Casa de La Musica or Casa de la Trova

Day 15: Saturday Dec 31 NYE- Trinidad

Listen to live music and dance salsa at Casa de La Musica or Casa de la Trova

Maybe there will be a Cave Party at Disco de Ayala

Day 16: Sunday Jan 1- Bus to Cienfuegos- Leave at 8:15. Arrive at 9:55.

This is Liberation Day Countrywide (Jan 1). This public holiday is also celebrated as the first day of the Cuban Revolution with street parties and free concerts throughout the country.

Sleep at Hostal Teresa

Directions: Ave 56 between 43 and 45 #4315 +53 5274 2645  +53 43 528572

Visit Jagua Castle 1CUC ferry and 5cuc entrance

Day 17: Monday Jan 2- Cienfuegos

Visit Plaza Jose Marti

Day 18:  Tuesday Jan 3-Bus to Varadero- leave at 9:15. Arrive at 1:55.

Sleep at Varadero’s El Mojito

Directions: Vía rápida a Varadero # 509 A, +53 5339 6858

Beach!!

Day 19: Wednesday Jan 4- Varadero

Maybe do the Seafari Cayo Blanco — Excursion by Catamaran, snorkeling in a coral barrier reef, entertainment, music, lunch and open bar with Cuban cocktails in Cayo Blanco. There is the option to either swim with the dolphins or visit the dolphin show at Delfinario and enjoy a sunset party. M-Su (7 hours duration). 75CUC for the sunset party and dolphin show trip. 85CUC for the chance to swim with dolphins instead.

Day 20: Thursday Jan 5- Varadero

Beach!!! Maybe try to explore Saturno Cave

Day 22: Friday Jan 6- Bus to Havana- leave at 2PM. Arrive in Havana at 5:15.

Sleep at Concordia Private Room

Directions: 225 Concordia Apt 12, 2nd floor

Go to Mercado de Artesania if you still have time and money to spare for souvenirs.

If you have time and money to spare, check out the Cabaret Parisian at the Hotel Nacional. You can pay USD30 for the show or USD58 for the show with a 3-course steak dinner plus 2 drinks (and the best seats in the house).

Day 23: Saturday Jan 7 Flight leaves Havana at 5:30AM, Arrive in CCS at 12:21PM

Here is a list of Havana salsa academies that I plan on checking out while I’m in town:

Salsabor A Cuba

http://www.salsaborcuba.com/

Address of dance school ‘Salsabor a Cuba’: Street Neptuno # 558, between Escobar and Lealtad, first floor, Central Havana, Havana, Cuba Use entrance on the right and go up the staircase. Mobile Yaliuska (also called Yaly or China): (+53) 5 439 59 23

Salsa Express

http://www.salsaexpresscuba.com/

Baila Habana

http://www.baila-habana.com/en/baila-salsa-son-rumba-with-baila-habana/single-couple-lessons

Phone (Cuba): +53 54487039

info@baila-habana.com

Salsa Amiga Allstar:

https://www.facebook.com/SalsAmigaAllStar/

email yoank2014@gmail.com

 

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3 responses to “Cuba in Three Weeks: An Itinerary

  1. Hi! Reall helpfull post as I am planning to bust my salsa moves in Cuba in Feb. Im very curious what ur experiences are bout the dancing in Cuba after u visit all these places. Hope that turns into a post aswell 🙂

    Like

  2. Pingback: Must Visit Places in Cuba | Teaching Wanderlust·

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