Stories

This is Havana in 24 Hours

Nine. 

The number of times Cody and I have been to Cuba combined. Holguin, Guardalavaca, and Varadero, but never to Havana. 

 

We decided our tenth time must include a visit to Cuba’s capital city, major port, and province; Havana.

Buildings in Havana

Welcome to Havana

Although we booked an all inclusive holiday in Varadero, we spent two days and one night in this charming old city. We were greeted by colourful boulevards, Spanish colonial architecture, a mobile car museum, delicious mojito’s, and beautiful people.

 

As soon as we arrived, we rushed to our hostel- Casa Pa Mochileros to drop off our bags, and were back out on the streets in a matter of minutes.

Unlike Varadero, Havana’s vibe is authentic and real. The energy of Havana is infectious, and the city legendary. We covered a lot in twenty four hours.

Our first stop was for some Cuban food, as the food at our resort in Varadero certainly left something to be desired. We managed to find some vegan friendly food for an excellent price.

Food in Havana

Such a nice change from resort food

We devoured black beans, rice, salad, fried yucca, sweet potato, and potato chips and people watched for a while.

 

While strolling the alleyways, we were invited into a typical Cuban home where we were welcomed to view the home owners Santeria shrine.

 

Santeria is an African-Caribbean religion influenced by Catholicism; and although we are not big fans of religion, we definitely love a lot of the kitsch that comes with it.
Santeria protector

Cody and his great find 🙂

Moments before being invited in, I spotted an interesting looking amulet on someone’s doorway with one eye, and a tongue with a dagger through it.Cody LOVED it, and this woman happened to be selling these amulets, so of course we bought one.
La Bodeguita Del Medio

This is where the Mojito was invented…..Mmmmmmm Mojitos

After our purchase, we said our gracias’ and hasta luego’s, and followed our ears to the music in the distance. The music led us to one of Havana’s most famous bars; El Bodeguita Bar-the birthplace of the mojito.

The small bar was crowded with people enjoying the live band stuffed in the corner, and eagerly waiting for their mojito’s lined up at the bar.

El Bodeguita was buzzing and overflowing to the streets where people were lighting Cuban cigars and enjoying the cool rain coming down.

 

This moment truly felt like authentic Havana, or at least what you see of it in the movies- but we know there is so much more to it than mojito’s and cigars.
Live music in Havana

No matter where you go in Havana, there is always live music

It is the people that make Havana and the rest of Cuba.
Cubans don’t have a lot, life is a struggle-but they are very warm, and always have a smile to offer.

 

Once we returned to our hostel, we chatted with our new amigo Maurice. Maurice is an artist and designer, and also helps to run Casa Pa Mochileros Hostel in New Havana.

 

He is a bright mind with so many ideas on how to connect with people from around the world and create community.
Havana, Cuba

Us with Yasser and Maurice

The next morning we went for breakfast with Maurice and Yasser- the other half of Casa Pa Mochileros. We talked about the state of Cuba, it’s people, and making change over vegan pizza and strong Cuban coffee.

 

We really enjoyed our time in Havana, and wish we could have stayed longer. Good thing there’s always next time!

 

A special Gracias to Hostelclub.com for finding us a great place to stay during our time in Havana!

 

Comments To This Entry.
  1. Hannah @ GettingStamped September 19, 2014 Reply

    Jealous! Cuba is on our bucket list…but being American’s we just have to get there from outside the USA. I have heard nothing but amazing things about Havana, someday we will make it.

    • Giselle and Cody September 20, 2014 Reply

      Hannah, hopefully someday you guys will make it there. It really is a great place to travel and it is so safe there.
      Next time we head there we will not stay on a resort and just backpack around the country.

  2. Tyler September 19, 2014 Reply

    Looks like an awesome time! The culture and people look so inviting!

    • Giselle and Cody September 20, 2014 Reply

      Tyler, You should think about going there for a vacation.

      It is not that expensive to fly from Saskatoon.

  3. Franca September 19, 2014 Reply

    I love the video and those old looking cars are so cool! Havana definitely has a great vibe, lively people and great music, I also like a lot the colonial architecture, so colorful! Is Cody drinking a mojito too in one of the photo?

    • Giselle and Cody September 20, 2014 Reply

      The Mojito that Cody was drinking had no alcohol in it 🙂

      You and Dale would love Havana for sure. So much great art and architecture everywhere. It really is a great place to get lost in.

  4. Elizabeth September 19, 2014 Reply

    Great video! Havana looks very colourful. I have visited Cuba several times and have yet to visit Havana. After this video, I have decided I will visit Havana on my next trip to Cuba! Thanks for sharing.

    • Giselle and Cody September 20, 2014 Reply

      Elizabeth, we should really plan a trip together. It has been talked about numerous times and it really should happen. It would be so much fun to explore Havana with you and have a few (many) Mojitos!! 🙂

  5. Lucia Pereira September 19, 2014 Reply

    FANTASTIC GUYS!! makes me want to return to Habana soon!!
    Very well done Cody…..both of you are having the time of your lives….
    I love the Cuban band and how you continue with the music in the background.

    GREAT JOB!!!! lucia….

    • Giselle and Cody September 20, 2014 Reply

      Lucia, Thanks so much for deciding to travel to Cuba with us and celebrate our anniversary.
      It is always so much fun to have you with us on our travels. Are you ready to do Cuba again?

  6. Camels & Chocolate September 24, 2014 Reply

    I’ve actually ONLY been to Havana, as I was there for 10 days and it was Cuban holidays and thus no cars left to rent to get around. Curious how you felt about it in comparison to the other places you’ve been there?

    • Giselle and Cody September 25, 2014 Reply

      Kristin, Every other time we have been to cuba it has always been all inclusive resorts. We are not huge fans of those but sometimes the prices are so cheap it’s nice to take off for a weekend not worry about anything. After spending time in Havana we are definitely going to skip out on the resorts next time and head straight to Havana.

      There was such a great vibe in the city and we really enjoyed….Even if it was only for 24 hours.

  7. Abi September 24, 2014 Reply

    Ah…love Havana. Thanks for bringing back happy memories.

  8. Kristin Addis September 24, 2014 Reply

    Cooool! I want to go so badly

    • Giselle and Cody September 25, 2014 Reply

      Kristin, if you get the chance you should go.

      It is safe, fun and everyone is super friendly. Great country to explore.

  9. Diana Edelman September 25, 2014 Reply

    I want to go to Cuba SO badly!! I wish I could have gone with you two!! Cannot wait to get there and experience Havana for myself. It looks simply amazing!

    • Giselle and Cody September 26, 2014 Reply

      Diana, you will absolutely love it there.

      We really should plan a trip to Cuba together. Fly out of Canada and we will all go together.
      Super duper cheap to fly from Toronto to Cuba. 🙂

  10. Alex September 26, 2014 Reply

    Amazing! Love the video, took me a few tries to stream it on my Thai internet but worth the wait 🙂 Cuba is very high on my travel wish list. Have possible plans to head there in May!

    • Giselle and Cody September 29, 2014 Reply

      Alex, so glad you took the time to stream it with the amazing Thai internet 🙂

      Where in Thailand are you at the moment? Hopefully you make it to Cuba. Can’t wait to read what you thought of it.

  11. Sheena September 26, 2014 Reply

    That eye-tongue is so great!

    Also hello, so glad I found your blog through Alex!

    • Giselle and Cody September 29, 2014 Reply

      Sheena, welcome to Mindful Wanderlust!! Glad you found us.

      We are always on the look-out for weird pieces of art while we travel.

  12. Ayngelina September 26, 2014 Reply

    Love love love this video. I’ve just made a note to visit Cuba in 2015, I’ve been putting it off for far too long.

    • Giselle and Cody September 29, 2014 Reply

      Thanks so much Ayngelina. A lot of people know of Cuba but have not travelled there.

      It really is a wonderful country and should be high on everyones list. Look forward to hearing what you though of it.

  13. Ligeia and Mindy September 27, 2014 Reply

    Hi Cody and Giselle,
    Havana (and all of Cuba) has been on our list for quite some time. It seems like a great place – your post is awesome! Love the pictures and the adventures you had, especially the shrine and the music!
    We are also relieved to know that there are vegan options in Cuba. Beans and rice might sound boring but I remember having that in Central America and wow, we were amazing at just how flavorful something so simple could be! And it sounds like the fried yucca might be worth the trip too. 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody September 29, 2014 Reply

      We were a little worried how the food in Havana would be after eating our crappy resort buffet for a few days, but we were surprised. We found another great little restaurant where we ordered Vegan pizza with TONS of Vegetables. Many of these countries rely on basic food and nothing to fancy. Meat is fairly fancy so they cook a lot without it. We also carry a bottle of hot sauce everywhere we go just in case there is not to much flavour. 🙂

  14. Stan Roberts October 2, 2014 Reply

    I love Havana and Cuba. Been 13 times in the past 15 years and I will always go back.

    It’s great to see young people living their life the way they want to. Keep it up guys!!

    • Giselle and Cody October 4, 2014 Reply

      Thanks so much Stan.

      13 times in 15 years!! Wow, that is incredible. Good for you! I am sure we will get to that point one day 🙂
      When was the last time you were in Cuba?

  15. Jarrod October 15, 2014 Reply

    So this is what you did when you took the month off of work hey?? Pretty sweet. Glad to have you back though.

    • Giselle and Cody October 15, 2014 Reply

      Jarrod, I can’t say that I am glad to be back. Hahaha Get in the Ditch!!

  16. […] spent working in Saskatchewan and Toronto to save our pennies for 2015, but of course we managed to get away to Cuba in September for my birthday and our […]

  17. I’ve got to say, I’m super envious you’ve been to Cuba so many times! It’s been on my bucket list for a while now and I’m finally hoping to make it a reality this year. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody January 8, 2015 Reply

      Hopefully you will be able to get there Molly.
      We find that a lot of people who have so little are some of the friendliest and giving people we come across.
      They learn to live life with what they have. That is the case in Cuba.

  18. Geoff Dobbs January 17, 2015 Reply

    hi Giselle and Cody
    Just seen your short film on Havana loved it it brought back so many happy memories of my trip there can’t wait to go back soon .

    • Giselle and Cody January 17, 2015 Reply

      Hey Geoff,

      Cuba is a pretty wonderful place. We are thinking of booking flights in April to head back.
      Maybe we should visit somewhere new?? Glad you liked the video!

  19. Albert March 23, 2015 Reply

    This is one of my favourite places to travel. I haven’t been to a lot of places but I have loved the three times I have travelled to Cuba. People are there so friendly.

  20. […] got us excited for the local Caribbean vibe that we had experienced in other Carib destinations (Check out our 24 hours in Havana video), but only a few hours into our explorations we both agreed that there was something […]

  21. Lucia Pereira April 1, 2017 Reply

    Hi guys,
    it’s been a long time since we’ve been to Cuba….I loved
    Habana….So, lively with an organic vibe and the most friendly people….Love the vintage
    cars!!

  22. Lucia Pereira April 1, 2017 Reply

    Had to watch that video again….SOOOO Great! Love the music
    and those mojitos….virgin ones for me and Cody….hehehe

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