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Havana for the Indian traveler

June 13, 2018

Everything you need to know to visit Havana

Viva la revolution! The ongoing David vs. the Goliath story is very much alive and kicking. Situated just 103 miles off Florida, parts of Havana will transport you to the 1950’s. The El Malecón and Art Deco architecture will remind you of south Mumbai, especially Marine drive. Though getting there is expensive and arduous, it’s still well worth the effort.

Havana

El Malecón, an 8 km long seaside boulevard comes to life as the sun goes down. To Cubans, the heart of the city is not the city center but this road that has the Atlantic on one side and Old Havana and the trendy Vedado on the other. Come the night and it fills up with locals and tourists alike; some holding loved ones close, others dance to boom boxes. Restaurants, bars, and shops are all within easy reach.

Old Havana dates back to the 16th century when it was a thriving Spanish port. It has five plazas and is filled with restaurants, shops and places of entertainment. The Museo de la Revolución and the Museum of Fine Arts are both located here. The Havana Tour Company offers a guided tour that lasts 3 to 3 ½ hours and makes you aware of the rich history of the place.

Finca Vigía was Ernest Hemingway’s house for 22 years. He wrote ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ here; in this well-maintained house, you can see his typewriter, his collection of more than 9,000 books and other personal items. Finca Vigía is about 12 km from Old Havana and a shared taxi will cost you $3 to $5.

Plaza Vieja is the most picturesque of all the plazas. Built in 1559, it has hosted bullfights, executions and in recent times it was even a car park. Today, the plaza has art galleries, restaurants, and even a camera obscura. Frequented by both locals and tourists, it’s a great place to relax with a cool drink and watch people pass by.

Playas del Este, some 16 km east of Havana has a number of sugar white beaches that stretch some 8 km. The first one is Bacuranao and the last one is Playa Jibacoa. For peace and quiet Playa Tarará and Bacuranao are the best but require a small entry fee. Playa Boca Ciega or Guanabo are favored by the locals and can be fun. Mi Cayito and Boca Ciega are popular with the LGBT community. For families, Playa Santa Maria is the best as it has many amenities.

Cuba is a popular destination so book early if you plan to visit it. This will also bring added benefits and discounts and make your trip smoother. For all your currency needs, take a multi-currency forex card from Centrum. It’s secure and convenient to use and lets you withdraw cash from ATMs too. Don’t forget to get travel insurance as well. Visit www.buyforex.com to know more.

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