Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cuba Diary - Havana Vieja and a typical Bus Tour

Hello there, today's post is the second part of my Cuba diary and this time it's all about Havana.
Cuba's capital surely is an eclectic city, it's also much, much bigger than I thought! There's so much to see and do in Havana, that we decided to stay three full days (well, we actually used our last day to find internet, which is almost non-existing on Cuba!).

On our second day, we had the great idea to take a tourist bus, you know, one of those typical red, open top, hop on/hop off buses that nowadays run through almost every metropolis. I'm not the biggest fan of tourist stuff but it was actually a great idea to take that bus, because you can explore all of Havana's neighborhoods in one day without getting too tired. Some of the capital's neighborhoods are miles away, so a bus actually gives you the chance to see the entire city! You can also take a yellow cab (run by the state and therefore more expensive) or one of the charming oldtimers to discover the city but in fact the bus is the cheapest (~5€) and most comfortable way. You can sit down, relax and breathe in the fresh sea breeze while taking lots of great pics from above, or hop off whenever you like and explore the neighborhood by foot.

So we took that bus in the morning, the bus stop was not far from our home and right next to the University of Havana, and started our tour. Reaching the centre of the city we decided to get off, cause I saw some nice buildings I really wanted to take a closer look at, haha. This is how we landed in Havana Vieja, one of the capital's most visited and famous parts. In case you visit Cuba one day, you can't miss Havana Vieja! It was my favorite place in Havana, so beautiful, charming and full of life! Explore the colorful streets walking, eat some street food (like all Cubans do!), have a yummy coconut ice cream (sold uniquely in coconut shells), shop at the wonderful local art stores (all handmade), or have a coffee at one of the lovely cafés around Plaza Vieja, Calle Obispo or Plaza de Armas!

We approximately spent three hours in Havana Vieja before taking the bus again at the Parque Central, I just couldn't get enough of the old town! Once on the bus again, we didn't get off until the end of the route. Too much walking in the blazing heat of the sun, haha! So we took our deck seats, leaned back and enjoyed the ride through Havana. I couldn't believe my eyes how diverse that city is! We drove along the Malecón, the roadway you already saw in my last post, before stopping at several five star hotels on the coast, we saw Havana's aquarium, we passed beautiful tropical landscapes with huge trees and big rivers, colorful houses, the impressive cemetery Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón, and one of Havana's most important monuments at the Plaza de la Revolución. The tour was honestly a great experience and the best opportunity to see the entire city, so I can totally recommend it! 

Tip: Don't forget to apply sun lotion before taking the bus, the sun is extremely intense even though  you won't notice the heat on deck because the wind is really strong on Havana's coast.
Hope you liked the second part of my Cuba diary, more coming soon! xoxo

El edificio Bacardí

Charming cafés around the Plaza de la Catedral

Catedral de San Cristobal

You can find so many pretty souvenirs on the flea market at the Plaza de Armas

The typical book stands at the Plaza de Armas

Loved the United Buddy Bears exhibition at the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis

Plaza Vieja

Havana bus tour

The monument at the Plaza de la Revolución

La Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón

Simple but yummy Cuban dinner - spaghetti with cheese and fruit cocktail

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