I haven’t blogged for a while (sorry) but I’m back! I went to Havana in Cuba and it was an amazing trip in every way and I’m going to tell you all about it!
There are things you need to know before turning up like I did but fear not, I’m here to let you know what to do, where to go and the rest in this blog post!
I also had a stopover in Amsterdam which I’ll tell you about. This isn’t going to be an aimless recollection of a recent trip, it’s more of a travel guide of sorts which will hopefully help you out!
I flew from
London Heathrow > Amsterdam > Cuba
so I will give you all of the details!
You need a visa to get into Cuba! I needed to apply for a visa by sending a copy of my passport, flight information, my hotel information and pay a fee! I also needed travel insurance ready in case they asked for proof at the border.
2. Airline: KLM
KLM, what a pleasure it was to fly with your airline! KLM had last minute flights to Cuba that fit my schedule perfectly and they were less than £500 which was a bargain for me! They also had a layover in Amsterdam (where I spent the night and left early the next morning) which I absolutely, wholeheartedly and completely took advantage of!
Warning ⚠️: If you have a long layover ie. 10 hours + (I had an overnight layover), I would recommend booking a hotel like I did as the airline does not provide you with accommodation.
If your layover is in the day then there is no need for a hotel, just explore the city (you don’t have to worry about luggage as it goes directly to Cuba) but if it’s overnight layover then the only other alternative is staying in the airport!🤷🏾♀️
📍Amsterdam hotel recommendation: Renaissance Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Hotel
This hotel was very nice, close to the airport and had 24 hour room service (yaaaay). They also had shuttles (every two hours) to pick you up and drop you off to the airport. I believe these only run from 6am to maybe 10pm but double check!
Red Light District 🤫
📍Bar: Cafe Corso AM (They don’t accept card)
🛑Yes, I did visit the red light district, yes it was my second time there, yes it was awesome, yes there were lots and lots of girls in the windows and an insurmountable number of men surrounding them. I felt pretty safe though and the girls were very very friendly and I was not mad about it! I also had some very good beer called Wieckse. Side note: Withdraw cash! because some of the bars we went to in the red light district did not accept card! 🛑
Now onto Cuba!! 🇨🇺
I’M GOING TO WRITE THIS IN CAPITALS TO EMPHASISE THIS POINT BECAUSE IT WAS BY FAR THE MOST FRUSTRATING PART OF THIS TRIP! MANY PLACES IN CUBA DO NOT ACCEPT CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS! ESPECIALLY AMERICAN CARDS! WITHDRAW ALL OF THE CASH YOU’LL NEED FOR THE TRIP BEFOREHAND!
I wish someone had told me this, we had thought that £100 cash and bank cards were enough for an eight day trip but this was not the case! There weren’t very many cash points at all ! This resulted in us having to go to the money exchange (in the hotel) which at times had very hostile and angry staff. There were two very nice people who worked on the weekends in the same place and it’s worth mentioning them because nice people are underrated! Please don’t make this mistake because it is unnecessary hassle and very annoying!
In the photo above I had ordered filet mignon (look at the plate) that HAD BEEN MICROWAVED! So I ate Wojciechs’ sandwich instead!
This is important!
Cuba is a communist country, they have a wonderfully basic lifestyle preserved in time almost.
There were no fast food chain outlets that dominated areas etc. The constant, I found was rice, pork and beans. Every restaurant seemed to have this option and it was always delicious.
There were other options on the menu too but pork, rice and beans was always a reliable meal.
For the sake of keeping this blog post short and sweet, I’m going to end this part here but in part two, I will tell you about hotels, the best restaurant (in my opinion) in Havana where the Obamas frequented, the home of the daiquiri and Earnest Hemingway’s favourite bar, awesome music, creepy caves, cool cars, who to trust and of course show you my attempts at smoking Cuban cigars annnnnd much moreee
Love Michaela ❤️