Traveling to Havana as a Backpacker?
Looking forward to discovering an exotic city? To immersing in the amazing retro feeling where classic cars are driving on the streets? To admiring beautiful and colorful buildings? To swinging to salsa music or rumba rhythms? Or to relaxing with a delicious Cuba Libre and then maybe with a famous Cuban cigar?
Okay, grab your backpack, buy a plane ticket and head off to Havana! Although the flight to Havana could be a bit expensive, thanks to the several "low-budget" B&Bs and guest houses a trip to Havana will still be affordable. At HostelsClub.com you will find many cheap hostels and pensions to enjoy the authentic Cuban atmosphere and hospitality.
In Havana there are many "hidden treasures" and it is not easy to mention all the interesting places. Just walk down the Malecon Boulevard which connects Old Havana to the modern Vedado district. With its relaxed and lively atmosphere it is a popular meeting place for young people, especially in the warm evenings; along the boulevard there are jugglers, magicians, musicians and other street artists who exhort you to dance and let yourself go with the flow.
The most interesting sights you can't absolutely miss in Havana are La Cabana fortress, Che Guevara's house, Partagas cigar factory, the La Habana Vieja (The Old Town, an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982), the Art Museum - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, the El Museo de la Revolución and El Capitolio.
Take a stroll in the old town and you will feel the soul of the city: all its corners, squares and side streets filled with salsa rhythms, jazz sounds and aromas will get you in the right mood. Here there are many different cafes, small restaurants, shops and galleries. In the Plaza de Armas visit Ambos Mundos Hotel, where Hemingway lived from 1932-39: you can use the original elevator from the 20's to reach the rooftop terrace bar where you can get a rum on the rocks and admire a great view over the city with the Christ statue, fortresses Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana and Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro.
Eat in a small family restaurant where you can get authentic dishes at a good price. These small restaurants are called Paladares, the mother is usually cooking in the kitchen and all that she prepares is really fresh. Caribbean food lovers won't be able to wait to have their chicken or fish with rice, beans or sweet potatoes. Do not forget to taste fresh Cuban pineapple, it will be a revelation. You can also try La Guarida in Havana, it is a well known restaurant, famous for serving dinner to Fidel Castro, his brother Raul and Che Guevara; it is recommended by many travelers and is not expensive. Don't forget that Cuba's national drink, rum, is as cheap as mineral water; even in fancy bars and restaurants a mojito is only about three pesos. However, you can also try Cuban beer, light "Cristal" or spicy "Bucanero".
Tip: if you are travelling from Europe, bring euros with you. Dollar exchange in Havana is extremely expensive. This will help you save money for more Cuba Libres and salsa parties!
All dance lovers will enjoy Sunday rumba parties in Callejon de Hamel, located between Calles Espada and Aramburu. This is also the most colorful area of the city, it is a sort of open-air gallery in the city. We can also recommend you to vist Cementerio Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus Cemetery), there are many celebrity tombs, mausoleums, galleries and grave chapels which tell the story of the city. Guided tours through the cemetery are also available. And if you want to spend the evening among locals, salsa music Bar Monserrate is just the perfect place. Located in Calle Monserrate it is already well know by tourists, but still attracts many locals with its good music, relaxed atmosphere, and delicious food at reasonable prices .
Get a deep view into Havana's everyday life by spending one night in a typical Havana B&B or “casa particular”. A privately run guest house is the best option if you want to feel really comfortable, however Hostelsclub.com has a wide selection of small hotels, apartments and hostels too. And if you have HostelsClub.com Memebershipcard you can save up to 15% on your stay in Havana.