When I boarded my flight and started my adventure to Havana with Cuba Travel Services, I had no idea what to expect. But what I discovered was a place that makes your soul sing, your feet dance, and your eyes wide with wonder. This is Havana, like you’ve never seen it before.
Day 1: An Old Havana Walking Tour
The trip starts the Cuban way, with a mojito. Hemmingway’s favorite comes from la Bodeguita del Medio. As you wonder through Old Havana’s many squares you’ll be swept away by their beauty. My favorite, Plaza de Armas.
Every day in Plaza de Armas there’s a local market but it’s much more than just books.You can find old cameras, antiques, and it’s a perfect place to soak in local street life.
On day 2 We’re off to Vinales for a feast at El Paraiso, Wilfredo’s organic farm.
We have fritters, rice, chicken, eggplant, pumpkin, beats, and the food is still coming. And this is the pork. The roasted pig is the main event, it’s carried up the hill just before lunch is served. Piping hot, dripping with fatty juice. One of the best meals in Cuba.
Next it’s off to meet Benito for a crash course in Tobacco farming.
Benito: This is the second in my life.
Courtney: You said suck on it!
Courtney: And as I quickly learned, no cigar is complete without a little Cuban Rum.
Benito: You know the white coffee here in Cuba?
Courtney: I think it has something to do with rum!
As the cool breeze blew through Bentio’s house one white coffee turned into several, I got the hang of cigar smoking, and all was well in the hills of Vinales.
On day 3 a morning of dancing at the Habana Compas dance Company headquarters. They’re classically trained dancers and powerful percussionists. They perform around the world fusing Spanish styles like Flameco, with contemporary dance.
It’ a rush. It’s something amazing. You have to be on the stage, you have to feel it. you have to live it.
Courtney: Can you teach me a little?
And finally,we visit Muraleando. An abandoned water-tank turned community arts center that teaches fine arts to the children of Lawton, a modest neighborhood in Havana.
Manuel: To see the children, their transformation, children that come from low-income families, children with behavior problems, we see them transform and learn. The doors are always open for you at Muraleando! Gracias.
Food is an important part of the Havana tour, and El Litoral was a perfect way to end the trip. Nautical-chic design, scrumptious seafood dishes and a perfect location right along the water.
Cuba isn’t a place to see. It’s a place to feel. It’s the people make Cuba special. And you see it in every smile, every wave, every chat, every cheers. Until next time…