When I last left you, I was heading back from beautiful Varadero to Havana for my last night. I arrived back in Havana around 4:30pm. I was quickly met by a fast talking cab driver trying to get my business. It was raining at the time so I was solely focused on getting to my last casa.
The cabbie was a bicycle taxi and my mistake was failing to negotiate the price of the ride prior to hopping in the cart. As I mentioned previously, ALWAYS determine the price before you accept the ride. Once we arrived at the street for my casa, he tried to quote a ridiculous amount for the ride. However, being the strong willed person that I am I simply told him I didn’t have it and could only give him what I thought was fair. Sure he was mad, but it was either take it or leave it.
I found my last casa. I was staying with a lively woman named Odalys. She can also be found on airbnb.com. Her home isn’t directly in the heart of Old Havana. It’s tucked in a very authentic Cuban neighborhood about 10 minutes by car from Old Havana. Just like my first casa, the room had two double beds and super high ceilings. Odalys is super obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and can speak pretty good English as well.
Soon after I arrived, none other than Cuban bae came to meet me to spend my last few hours in Cuba with me and to show me around.
We literally walked from about 6pm to midnight seeing the real Cuba. He showed me Cuban markets, we ate in a Cuban cafeteria which was in someone’s home (my whole meal was $1.50 and that included fresh guava juice. I must add it was so delicious ), we had fresh squeezed Guadapo juice(see pic below), and we even ventured back to old Havana to try some of the local’s favorite street food.
Seeing Cuba through the eyes of a local for those last few hours, really allowed me to find a new love for the country. Everywhere we went locals of all shades and colors interacted and it was beautiful to see. Cuban bae explained to me that Cubans look out for each other. There aren’t homeless people and everyone always has somewhere to sleep at night. He also explained that everyone always has somewhere to get a meal too! So you won’t see many people begging on the street. (At least I didn’t)
I truly enjoyed my time in Cuba. Everything was very cheap and there is always something to see. If you plan to visit here are a few tips(although I’ve mentioned a lot of this before):
1. Brush up on your Spanish! This isn’t like most places where English is widely spoken.
2. Budget and take enough cash to last the duration of your trip. American credit or debit cards still aren’t accepted in Cuba. They hope to have that changed soon but there is no time frame on it yet.
3. Unplug and truly take it all in. I know we live in a society where posting everything is what’s common, but enjoy your time then post away once you return.
4. Let go of your expectations! Sure we’ve heard things about Cuba but when you go there with an open mind you will learn that none of its true. Cubans love the American people and I guarantee once you leave you’ll love them back!
I hope these posts have helped you in knowing more about Cuba. As always, happy Traveling! ✈️