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).

Havana

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

El Capitolio

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

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!

Hotel Inglaterra

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

 My martini on my last night

My martini on my last night

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. 

La Guarida

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!

El Chanchullero

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!

 My meal at  La Dichosa ! I chose the shrimp

My meal at La Dichosa! I chose the shrimp

La Dichosa

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!

Atelier Restaurante

Fancy food and a beautiful rooftop! Need I say more?

La Roca

This is a great place if you are looking for cheap food (ranging from 5 CUC) and they even serve Paella

Places to Drink

Cafe Arcangel

  • Best coffee in Havana that serves Cuban breakfast

  • CUTE PATIO that is super Instagram Worthy

  • Get table by the window for optimum IG lighting

Cafe Habana

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

La Floridita

  • 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!

 One of the infamous daiquiris!

One of the infamous daiquiris!

Chacon 162

  • BEST Cocktails in Havana (bartender pays a lot of attention to detail)

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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. 

Quick Bites

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

Helad’oro

  • You can find Mojito and Rum flavored ice cream here (among other flavors!)

  • Cost: 1 CUC per scoop

Photo Ops

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. 

Plaza Vieja

  • 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!

Nightlife

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)

 A classic Cuba Libre!

A classic Cuba Libre!

Beaches

Santa Maria del Mar

  • This is the Most Popular beach in the Havana area. Get there early to get the best spot

Playa Bacranao

  • 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

Plaza Vieja

  • 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.

Vedado Market

  • Fruit & Vegetable market around Calles 17 & K with cheap peso food & even a restaurant

Calle Obispo

  • Best ice cream in Cuba on Calle Obispo (just 1-2 pesos/4-8 cents each)

Calle Desamparados

  • South of the market on Calle Desamparados is a beer dispensary

  • Sell glasses of beer in a bar for 6 pesos/24 cents

Vinales Valley

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.

 Just sippin'on my Coco Loco

Just sippin'on my Coco Loco

Cienfuegos

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!

  Palacio del Valle entrance

Palacio del Valle entrance

Places to Eat

Villa Maria

  • Enjoy a hearty and fresh lobster meal for 12 CUC

Trinidad

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)

 The inside of  Discoteca Ayala

The inside of Discoteca Ayala

Nightlife

Disco Ayala

  • 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

Beaches

Playa Ancon

  • 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

  Where the rum is stronger than the WiFi

Where the rum is stronger than the WiFi

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,

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