The Ultimate Planning Guide to Cuba Part II: Complete List of BEST Places to Eat, Drink, See
Note: This is a continuation (Part II) of my Ultimate Planning Guide to Cuba. If you have yet to read it, you can find it here. If you just want my list of recommendations, then you have come to the right spot!
I have divided my list by city and by what type of activity (where to visit, where to eat/drink and sometimes the best photo spots).
Places to Visit
Hotel Ambos Mundos
This is where Ernest Hemingway lived for 5 years--ROOM 511 (find out more about how to see his room here)
The rooftop bar is a MUST visit (Cost: 2 CUC)
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Great place to go underground and explore Santa Clara Battery which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mercure Sevilla Havana
PINK hotel with PINK patio! Need I say more? Go early in the morning to avoid tourists as it gets pretty crowded
Castillo del Morro
This is the largest colonial fortress in the Americas and is full of history. It is also one of the most iconic places in the city
This is the National Capital building and one of my favorite photo spots in Havana. Right in front of it is one of the most popular photo spots in all of Havana--the colorful buildings. I called it "The Painted Ladies".
Malecon literally means "seafront" or "esplanade" and that is exactly what it is! It is a seafront promenade that stretches along the waterfront in Havana (this is a very popular gathering place for locals)
Museum de La Revolucion
Out of all the places I have ever visited, Cuba is probably the most interesting one I have ever come across. The Revolution that occurred coupled with its Communist reign has earned it a spot as one of the most intriguing countries in the world. Cost: $10
Necropolis de Colon
This is one of the largest cemeteries in the world and a national monument built by Galician architect Calixto Areliano de Lorira y Cordoso. Many of the tombs are artistic masterpieces themselves. so it is definitely a sight to see!
This is one of the most classic spots and go to hotels as it lies in the heart of Old Havana. It is also where all the classic cars are parked and one of the easiest places to find a classic car to start your Classic Car Tour of Havana.
Places to Eat
Don Eduardo’s Alegre
This is a popular paladar and is a Bar de Tapas style restaurant located in Plaza Vieja. It is located on the 2nd floor overlooking Plaza Vieja and was one of my favorite places! They have an amazing ropa vieja here and was the perfect way to end my trip to Cuba.
Located in Habana Centro, this is one of the most popular paladares in Havana thanks to its appearance in Strawberry and Chocolate and it being Beyonce's favorite restaurant. It even has a fancy staircase and a nice rooftop from where you can take pics at!
YOU MUST GO HERE! This was the first place I ate at when I arrived in Havana and it was the best intro to Cuba. 2 CUC Mojitos, not a single dish over 6 CUC. Do I even need to give you more reasons to want to go here?
Note: If the staff offer you a chance to wait for a table up on the terrace I would take it. The staff here has it together and will not forget about you. Order one of their amazing daiquiris and relax and enjoy the warm Havana night!
I came here for lunch on my second day in Havana and it was great! Best part? Live Music plays while you eat!
10 CUC “Menu del dia” deal includes a welcome cocktail, salad, main dish (fish, pork, shrimp or chicken), coffee and dessert
El Del Frente
Reasons to go to this place: It has a terrace, live music and REALLY good food. Note it is a little on the pricier side in comparison to most restaurants in Cuba--still cheap compared to America!
Fancy food and a beautiful rooftop! Need I say more?
This is a great place if you are looking for cheap food (ranging from 5 CUC) and they even serve Paella
Places to Drink
Best coffee in Havana that serves Cuban breakfast
CUTE PATIO that is super Instagram Worthy
Get table by the window for optimum IG lighting
This Mexico City inspired hangout is a popular spot as legend has it that Che Guevara and Fidel Castro plotted the Cuban Revolution here
Alcoholic Drinks 3 CUC
Cappuccino 2.50 CUC
This is probably one of the most iconic locations and a major tourist hot spot as it is famous for being "la cuna de daiquiris" meaning the birthplace of daiquiris. It is also known to be Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hangout!
BEST Cocktails in Havana (bartender pays a lot of attention to detail)
La Bodeguita del Medio
A popular tourist spot because it is the Birthplace of the Mojito! I will say though that it is quite pricey at 5-6 CUC per mojito compared to the 2 CUC mojitos you can get at most other places.
Churros Stand in front of Chocolate Museum
Almost as good as the ones you find in Spain! The churros here are relleno meaning filled--I got the strawberry filled one.
Cost: 0.50 CUC
You can find Mojito and Rum flavored ice cream here (among other flavors!)
Cost: 1 CUC per scoop
Most of Havana is already really photogenic--from its colorful houses to its colorful cars and picturesque streets. These are just additional spots that I went to.
Get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds or get there on a Sunday as most places will not open until 9 am meaning most tourists won't be out and getting a photo without tourists is easy!
Plaza de San Francisco
Legend has it that if you touch the El Caballero de Paris statue beard, finger and foot all at the same time, it will bring you one year of good luck.
Calle de Los Mercaderes
At the intersection of Calle Obispo y Mercaderes you will find the most picturesque yellow house with blue door
Colorful Houses in front of El Capitolio
Did you even go to Cuba if you don't have a photo in front of these houses? Head there first thing in the morning for prime photos with no people!
Fabrica de Arte
Premier Nightclub in an Art Gallery in an oil factory...LOL WHAT?! Yeah I said the same thing! This is a must visit.
Tip: Get there early (around 8/9pm)
Santa Maria del Mar
This is the Most Popular beach in the Havana area. Get there early to get the best spot
This is the closest to Havana. Not as pretty as Santa Maria del Mar, but quicker to get to than Santa Maria del Mar
Playas de Este
You can take a bus leaving from Parque Central (5 CUC RT per person-30 minute bus ride)
Taxi = 25 CUC (one way)
Chair and Umbrella (2 CUC)
Budget Food in Havana
By peso food, I mean that these prices are in CUP, not CUC--these places are typically where the locals frequent
El Bulevar (Calle San Rafael)
Peso food central! You know where to go if you're really broke and trying to stretch your money.
Paseo de Marti (Paseo del Prado)
There are several peso food stalls on Paseo de Marti, between San Jose & Brasil (Teniente Rey) streets, opposite El Capitolio & next to the classic American cars parked near the Jose Marti statue
Just off Plaza de Armas on Calle Brasil, you can find more budget food in Havana – here, there’s a small shop that sells decent peso food.
Fruit & Vegetable market around Calles 17 & K with cheap peso food & even a restaurant
Best ice cream in Cuba on Calle Obispo (just 1-2 pesos/4-8 cents each)
South of the market on Calle Desamparados is a beer dispensary
Sell glasses of beer in a bar for 6 pesos/24 cents
Places to Visit
Palenque de los Cimarrones
Bar located at the entrance of a mountain where African slaves made a tunnel through to hide from the Spaniards.
You can walk through it and still see the original statues built inside of it
It leads to a restaurant that is divided in areas according to Saints.
People sit in the area of the Saint they are considered to be a son or daughter of.
This religion was brought from Africa to Cuba through slave trade and is still very prominent in the Island
COST: 3 CUC
Places to Drink
Vinales is sprawling with many cheap places to drink at. My only TIP is to ask for a Coco Loco while in Vinales. What is a Coco Loco? Essentially it is spiked coconut water. They add rum and honey typically.
Places to Visit
Palacio de Valle
Architectural jewel reminiscent of Spanish-Moorish art with influences of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Mudejar arts
If you love architecture, this place is definitely a must visit
They have dining options in here too!
Places to Eat
Enjoy a hearty and fresh lobster meal for 12 CUC
Apart from Havana, Trinidad has to be the most historic city in Cuba. Old Town is only accessible on foot or horseback (or carts)--this is important to know for when your taxi colectivo is dropping you. Also, Trinidad is quite hilly so it might be a bit of a struggle to get up those cobblestone streets with luggage.
Places to Visit
Museo Romantico (opposite the Plaza Mayor)
VIEW out over the city
Cost: 2 CUC + 1 CUC (if you want to take photos)
Church of the Holy Trinity
In the heart of Trinidad’s historic district and is home to one of Cuba’s most famous religious icons
Casa de la Musica
This is a bar and square for drinks in the day and music and dancing at night or just a really good place to sit and people watch
COST: 1 CUC (entrance)
*There are many stands nearby selling mojitos for 1 CUC!
Places to Eat
Restaurante El Dorado
The service here is amazing, they have live music and a great Outdoor Terrace (2 floors of them actually). Tip: If you want to be away from the crowds, just ask your server to take you up to the roof! (My friend RJ and I did this and we had the whole roof to ourselves)
A nightclub in a cave. NEED I SAY MORE? This place is amazing and a must visit during your time in Trinidad.
How to get there: From Trinidad center, walk up a path leading directly behind the cathedral, off Juan Manuel Marquez
COST: 5 CUC with free drink (although on your path up to here there
Music: Mix of reggaeton and electronic
Opens @ 10:30pm so get there early because it gets packed quickly
This is one of the nicest beaches to watch the sunset from in Cuba especially in the Sancti Spiritus region. There is also a small beach front restaurant here that serves food and is actually not too expensive!
Note: Watch for the the people walking around selling Coco Loco's
Well there you have it! This is literally all my recommendations for Cuba based on my research/places I went to.
I truly hope this helps!
Til' My Next Planning Guide,