Archive for January 9th, 2017

Cuba – 2nd world country, 4th world life. Tips and tales from 7 days in Havana.

January 9th, 2017

Time is the least thing we have of.
– Hemingway

My impressions of Havana Cuba January 2017

Arriving and exchange of money is pretty standard – they will x-ray your bags on arrival. TIPS: if there is a line currency exchange (and there will be a line,) in Terminal 1, go upstairs, a fraction of the line and time spent! Also, make sure you know your Terminal – getting dropped off at Terminal 3 for your return flight will result in trying to wrestle-up a way to Terminal 1 at 6am that won’t eat into your Exit Tax* and your wait to Check-in* 😉

I hitched a ride from the airport to my first of 3 Airbnbs, with two American teacher gals, who arranged to meet later in the week.

My first Havana Airbnb was up 60 steps on the 3rd floor of an ancient, slightly decrepit building, near Avenue 23 – a main road into the old town. The ‘hostess’ was a gal in her 20’s, who was not there or helpful, but her 87 year old grandmother was so loving and sweet, kissing me and hugging me every time we met with a gleeful exuberance and a swiftly flowing river of Spanish, where only a few familiar words surfaced. My second up 75 stairs, no kidding, but a lovely view and rooftop patio!

General hint: All beds in Havana are hard and slightly lumpy and all your hosts will tell you they are new, and by new, they mean within the last few years. Some will have a plastic mattress cover, all will have painfully thin sheets, but apparently newer than new (think mattress new) and a Janka Hardness scale rivaling Macassar Ebony.

*Exit Tax: Save 25 CUC to pay upon departure, OR confirm your Exit Tax is included in your ticket – mine was, but saved extra money Just In Case.
*Check-in: You will have to check-in, you will have to wait in line, there is no ‘elite’ line, you will not be able to change your ticket in a way that will involve money (upgrade, early boarding.)

Rooster on Plaza Vieja