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February 7, 2017

Havana ii

Part i here.

The next day, I hit the streets early to beat the crowds.

Plaza de la Cathedral. The cathedral is built in Baroque style, but check out the different sized towers.

Bar Floridita, where Hemingway liked his daiquiris. I didn't drink any here because they're twice the price (although cocktails in Cuba are shockingly cheap in general).

Met up for one last tour activity, which was a walking tour. I'd hit up most of the sights the day before already.

After saying goodbye to everyone, I moved to a casa in a slightly different part of town. Not sure why I chose this one, as it was a little out of the way (closer to Central Havana), but it was cool to see a different and slightly more residential side of Havana.

The walk towards old Havana from there was seriously photogenic too.

I met up with my friend Jess again and we walked along the Malecon, a stretch of road by the sea. The buildings along here are amazing.

We walked about half an hour, all the way to the Hotel Nacional. It's a big and famous hotel from the 30s, and looks like a movie set.

We had drinks on the terrace facing the sea; I felt like we were in some sort of James Bond film from the 50s. It sounds cheesy, but I totally recommend doing this.

We walked back at dusk, which was considerably easier in cooler temperatures.

The next day, I met up with Jess again and we did the hop-on hop-off bus tour. I've never taken one before but it's a good way to get around the sights of Havana, as it's 10CUC for the whole day, which would be the cost of a taxi from just one destination to the next.

Plaza de la RevoluciĆ³n.

We didn't do much hopping off since it was so hot, but it was interesting to see the more suburban part of Havana too.

Some shots from my last morning before I left for the airport.

In terms of practical advice, travelling here is difficult in a few ways. Visas are easy to get from most Central American airports (I got mine at Mexico City airport for 25 pesos). You can only get the currency (CUC) in the country, so the line for the currency exchange at the airport is ridiculous. To complicate matters, they have a dual currency system where locals use the CUP, which is worth less, so you need to make sure you're not getting ripped off. It's difficult to book things online (although there is Airbnb now), so you can either arrange your travels when you get to Havana, or if you're like me and need a plan, do it through a company or agency. For women travelling alone, despite how uncomfortable getting catcalled in Havana is, Cuba is generally quite a safe country (as their laws are quite harsh).

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