We couldn’t get enough of Marilyn Hucek’s good vibes so we invited her back to takeover our blog! She’s one of the most innovative fashionistas we’ve had yet. She stays versatile in her style for any and every occasion. We can feel her love for fashion in her words – she totally relatable and continues to inspire her readers daily! We’re lucky enough to get one of her best travel pieces! Below she shares her; 5 Nights & 4 Days in Cuba – be sure to check it out!
5 Nights & 4 Days in Cuba
Cuba is such a remarkable place with so much beauty all around. The country is rich with history so there’s much to learn and experience once you’re there. Visiting a fully communist run nation was the biggest difference between my other types of travel around the world. Their government policies affect the day to day life of the civilians and it’s important to take this into account and be respectful of the culture. I went with my boyfriend, sister, and her boyfriend. My sister and I are both bilingual in English, and Spanish so communication was not a problem. For the most part everyone we encountered spoke some English, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t speak a lick of Spanish!
The country was bustling with tourists the second we landed. Most were from Europe, but since President Obama lifted the travel ban more and more American are traveling there. It was far easier than we expected to travel to Cuba. US citizens can legally travel to Cuba if they are participating in one of the 12 categories of activity. This is requested at the time you get your visa. We selected the category “to support the Cuban people” as our reason to travel to Cuba. We flew through Southwest Airlines, and had a layover in Fort Lauderdale where we paid $50 for our Cuban visas day of.
Make sure you pull out enough cash for the trip, because you can’t use credit cards AT ALL, and there are no banks or ATM’s to withdraw money once you’re there. It’s ideal to withdraw in euros and then convert to the Cuban currency CUC for the best exchange rate. I suggest bringing granola bars, since Cubans don’t really snack and it helps hold you over when your traveling on a tight itinerary. Transportation once you’re there is very easy and affordable, you can hail pretty much any car and ask for ride. Taxi’s drove us all the way to the beach and countryside from Havana, no problem. Definitely pack toilet paper or small tissue paper packs, because they charge for it in all the bathrooms. I would also pack Pepto Bismal, because you will not find the same over the counter drugs there, and it’s better to be safe than sorry!
We traveled to three cities: Havana, Varadero, and Viñales . I recommend them all! With such limited time, we could only see so much, but we were sure to make the most of our time. I’m so excited to share with you my itinerary, travel recommendations, and overall tips for traveling to Cuba.
We used Airbnb to book our nights in Havana. The hosts were very reliable, the apartments were very clean and we felt very safe. I recommend bringing all of your toiletries, because the apartments don’t have any products.
Host #1 Penthouse
Host #2 Two Bedroom Apartment
We got in late so we got ready and went straight to dinner. We made a reservation at La Guarida a few weeks in advance. The restaurant itself is a gorgeous restored colonial era building, with an amazing rooftop bar. The food is spectacular, and we celebrated my sister’s birthday there. They even sent out a cake with a candle and sang her happy birthday. I highly recommend it, it’s top rated, and the food does not disappoint. Keep in mind you need to make reservations for all the restaurants you want to dine at in advance, because they get completely booked up.
Museums: Museum of the Revolution, National Museum of Fine Arts, Fabrica de Arte Cubano
Site seeing: Plaza de Armas- cities oldest plaza surrounding several local restaurants and bars you can enjoy, Castillo de la Real Fuerza (very cool fort), the Capital, El Hotel Nacional (fabulous hotel)
Bars- La Floridita (cocktail bar where Hemingway drank), 304 O’Reilly (hip bar)
Activities- city tour in a vintage car and drive down el Malecon (roadway and seawall hugging the ocean), Cigar Factory in Havana to buy Cuban cigars.
Restaurants: La Guarida, El Cocinero, Dona Carmela, Paladar San Cristóbal
In Viñales we stayed in a beautiful resort called Hotel la Ermita , which was located in the mountains, known for the fresh air. The site overlooks a valley and beautiful mountain ridge. We drank local beer and watched the sun set behind the mountains. We went out to dinner at a near by local restaurant and ate family style. Later we smoked cigars, drank a few more beers while laying on pool chairs and stargazing. The next day we went on a four hour horseback ride. We toured a cigar & sugar cane plantation, drank fresh mojitos made with honey instead of sugar, and smoked organic Cuban cigars rolled right in front of us! When in Cuba right?!
Overall the trip was amazing, and I will for sure go back. There is so much to see and do, and I just brushed the surface of such an untapped country by Americans for so long because of the travel ban. The architecture of the city is truly breathtaking.
Feel free to ask me any questions about my trip to Cuba. I hope everyone gets a chance to visit.
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