Why Havana?

Havana, Cuba is one of the most enchanting and mysterious cities not only to Americans at large, but specifically Black travelers. From the food to religion to the melanated complexions, Africa’s influence is readily apparent in Cuban culture. If you are looking for a short international escape to a place full of history, Havana is the perfect destination for you.

Key Info

Language: Spanish
Cost of Living: $$
Currency: CUC / CUP
Population: 2.2 Million
Passport/Visa Required?: Yes (More info)
Embassy: Calzada, La Habana, Cuba

Where is it?




Cash – Even with the embargo lift, cash is still king in Cuba.

UnSun Sunscreen – It’s hot down there, make sure to stay protected.

Toilet Paper – If you’re not staying in a hotel, bring your own roll

Flash Drives – These are to give away. Without internet, files are shared with flash drives 

Translation App – Although some speak english, this app can make your life easier




Coming Home: Cuba
Coming Home is a documentary film that follows DJ EFN and Garcia, two Cuban-American hip hop artists, as they travel to their ancestral homeland of Cuba for the very first time. The film chronicles their adventures and that of five friends accompanying them. Not only did DJ EFN and Garcia connect with their roots, they also found something very familiar to them: hip hop! The film features commentary from artists highly respected on both sides of the embargo.


Negro Soy Yo Cuba

Negro Soy Yo: Hip Hop and Raced Citizenship in Neoliberal Cuba

In Negro Soy Yo Marc D. Perry explores Cuba’s hip hop movement as a window into the racial complexities of the island’s ongoing transition from revolutionary socialism toward free-market capitalism. Centering on the music and lives of black-identified raperos (rappers), Perry examines the ways these young artists craft notions of black Cuban identity and racial citizenship, along with calls for racial justice, at the fraught confluence of growing Afro-Cuban marginalization and long held perceptions of Cuba as a non-racial nation.


Private Room with an Ocean View
#SoloTravel #Melanin Hosted

Beds: 2 | Bath: 1

This Cuban house offers its guests a very special environment where taste and tradition come together in a magic look “all white” Located in the most ancient part of the Malecon Habanero, seafront and within walking distance of downtown.

#Group Travel

Beds: 5 | Bath: 4.5

It’s located in the heart of Vedado close to the famous restaurants, bars and entertainment hotspots and just 5 minutes drive from Habana Vieja and Miramar. MALECON 360° is unique as it combines privacy, serenity, and security

Meliá Habana

Located on the Havana coastline right in the heart of the Miramar district this hotel is both modern and elegant. As soon as you enter the lobby you are immersed in a lush tropical garden. The hotel is also equipped with a cigar bar and the largest swimming pool of any hotel in Havana. With all these amenities no wonder this was home to the first family for their first trip to Cuba.

Meliá Cohíba
#Group Travel

Located in Vedado, a modern district in Havana, facing the sea, only 50 meters from the famous Malecón, the five star Meliá Cohíba hotel is a leading business and meeting hotel.

Fully air conditioned, with stunning views of the city and the sea, the hotel provides comfort and an elegant, modern design with Cuban marble and references to the world of cigars and the famous Cohíba brand.


Doña Eutemia

It would take a hard heart indeed to be immune to the charms of Leticia, the owner of Doña Eutemia. Small, old, personal, she wants an intimate place where you come to relax. So much so, that she states she wants you to linger, even if she has a long line outside. This paladar is located opposite an artist’s workshop within a few meters of the large state restaurant, El Patio, on Cathedral Square. The contrast could not be greater. The bar area has a modern coffee shop lounge feel (think Friends) with comfortable sofas, bright cushions and good music (modern lounge). There are many small pieces from Old Havana dotted around the place including in the main dining room, which has soft lighting and lots of nice touches. dining landscape.

Discover more at La Habana.

Facebook Page

El Atelier

  Atelier keeps getting better, recent renovations have improved the place while the food remains excellent. Atelier is run by Niuris Higueras who has a passion for creating food. She is the driving force–modest, capable, and warm. She defines the style of the food as signature cuisine, an experimental culinary workshop. The food changes every day, every week, hence those handwritten menu.

 Discover More at El Atelier

Facebook Page

El Cocinero

Located underneath the imposing brick chimney of the same name (which used to be a vegetable oil factory), this bar/restaurant is reached via 3 flights of circular stairs, which go up vertiginously lighthouse style. It is worth the effort to reach the sunken roof, which has ample space for drinks and food. This place has a renovated industrial space look, good music, nice décor and has attracted a mixed crowd of affluent young Cubans, expatriates as well as families for dinner which is also (for now) served on the roof terrace.

Discover More at La Habana

Facebook Page

San Cristobal

Located underneath the imposing brick chimney of the same name (which used to be a vegetable oil factory), this bar/restaurant is reached via 3 flights of circular stairs, which go up vertiginously lighthouse style. It is worth the effort to reach the sunken roof, which has ample space for drinks and food. This place has a renovated industrial space look, good music, nice décor and has attracted a mixed crowd of affluent young Cubans, expatriates as well as families for dinner which is also (for now) served on the roof terrace.

Discover More at La Habana

Facebook Page


Casa de Africa 

Founded in 1986 and located in a colonial palace in Old Havana, the House of Africa has played a pivotal role in preserving the historic legacy of African slaves who were brought to the Caribbean Island centuries ago. It’s a major educational institution frequented by researchers, linguists and students in general uncovering Africa’s undeniable influence on Cuba’s history.


Parque Martin Luther King

Explore Parque Martin Luther King (MLK) located in the Vedado district. It’s dedicated to civil rights icons Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Back in the day, Fidel Casto and other Cuban leaders invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to visit the island. There are two plaques with likenesses of Dr. King and Malcolm X along with benches for zenning out in the chill surroundings.



Municipal Museum of Guanabacoa

Since its creation in 1964, the Museum of Guanabacoa has undertaken the work of rescuing objects relating to Afro-Cuban rites. The museum exhibits, for the first time in Cuba, a whole collection of goods corresponding to the religious expressions of African origin. Carriers of these religious expressions are the followers of a heritage of traditions, habits, spiritual values, and materials that give traditional popular culture a genuine singularity, which helps give authenticity the national culture and in particular the culture of Guanabacoa.


Callejón de Hamel

This colorful and lively street is perfect for art heads and travelers interested in chatting with locals (be sure to invite them for a drink to hear their stories). There are galleries full of impressive Afro-Cuban art and alleyways with murals and sculptures. Wear your dancing shoes for rumba every Sunday around noon and check out the small shops for Santería beads and novelties.



Fabrica de Arte Cubano

Located in a  former cooking oil plant near the Almendares River in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood. La Fabrica del Arte Cubano (FAC) has quickly become one of the hottest spots in Havana. For a $2 cover you can drink Havana Club and explore Cuba’s growing underground art and music scene. At the FAC you can see the work of a Cuban photographer or listen to any number of cuban musicians and maybe even QuestLove.


Santa Maria Del Mar

After you’ve had your fill of soaking in all the history of Old Havana, escape to Playa del Este where you’ll find 4 amazing beaches to choose from. The most popular of these beaches is Santa Maria Del Mar. Here you can have a fresh coconut and enjoy the clear blue water. You can simply relax or even do a few water sports if you’re up for it.


Estadio Latinoamericano

Despite the hard times the Cuban people have suffered over the years, Baseball has always been something that brought the people together. If you find yourself in Havana between November and April you should make sure to check out a game at Havana’s baseball stadium. Built in 1946 the energy of the stadium is still the same as it was then. For 3 CUC you can have an experience you wont soon forget.



Looking to explore a side of Cuba you don’t normally see on postcards? Check out the Vinales valley in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba. It will take you about two and a half hours to get there from Havana but it’s more than worth the trip. Along the way you will see picturesque glimpses of the Havana countryside and Vinales valley, most famously the Pinar Del Rio. Once there make sure to take a boat ride through the Cueva del Indio Caves and then take a picture of the Mural de la Prehistoria. There’s a lot of nature to experience in Vinales so make sure to dress accordingly, but it’s worth taking a half day to explore these off the beaten path gems.


Partagás Cigar Factory

Over 166 years old and counting, the Partagás Cigar factory is the most popular factory in Havana. Soon to be under renovation, this factory gives you a glimpse at why Cuba’s reputation for Cigars is so renowned. Inside this factory you can feel the history and the art that is cigar rolling. Now that restrictions are lifted make sure to take a box or two with you.


For the Gram

Melanated POV

Cuba is full of black people! You won’t ever be hard pressed finding one. Your experience may be like mine where you’re constantly mistaken for Cuban. Or any other Caribbean islander. I was everything but American while in Cuba, lol! But bring all your hair products!


They embrace us. It’s like, ‘you’re still our people.’ They’re just happy to see us. We went to the beach one day, and it was just like, ‘hey, you want some rum?’ We didn’t find really good rum until beach day.

– Brittany

Traveling to Cuba was unlike any experience I ever had. Thanks to the central location of my Airbnb, I was able to easily adopt the Cuban culture and because of my hosts, I truly felt like a local. It was everything that I’d imagined. The food was rich and flavorful. The people were passionate and inviting. Havana, itself, was beautiful & modern, yet traditional. My heart already belonged, even though this was my first time there. It felt like home.

– @moraaonyonka


Outdoor Parks

In order to use the internet in Cuba you will need a Nauta card. You can purchase them at most of the big hotels or some local stores for $2 CUC per hour but be mindful you can only get 3 at a time. Now if you are looking to get the most bang for your book, try going to either the Habana Libre Hotel (near the outside stairs of Havanatur office) or the Miramar Business Center (front of building). Here you will find people selling Nauta cards for $3 but in bulk so that you can get enough for your needs. Now if you don’t feel like being couped up in a hotel try one of the many outdoor wifi hotspots.

  • La Rampa (from the Malecón up to cine Yara in Vedado),
  • Parque de 51 in La Lisa,Parque Coyula in Playa/Miramar,
  • El Anfiteatro de Marianao y el Paseo de la Villa Panamericana
  • Parque Mónaco in 10 de Octubre;
  • Pabellones Central and 14 at Expocuba (Parque Lenin)
  • Calle 23, near Nacional Hotel (see Map for exact cross streets)
  • Parque Fe del Valle in Havana Centro (Galeano y San Rafael)


If you are looking to escape the heat and work indoors then one of the major hotels throughout Havana might be the perfect place for you to get some work done. These hotels require that you at least get drink if you are going to enjoy their Wifi, but hey some Havana Club while you get some work done doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Hotel Capri (Calle 21 entre calle N y O, Vedado) (Map)
Cost: 4.50 CUC per hour

Hotel Parque Central (Neptuno e/ Prado y Zulueta, Habana Vieja) (Map)
Cost: 8 CUC per hour

Hotel Panorama (Avenida 3ra y Calle 70 Miramar): (Map)
Cost: 8 CUC per hour


Almacenes De San Jose

If you are looking for handcrafted goods this is the place for you. Located at the Port of Havana, in this warehouse-style market you can find everything from Afro-Cuban instruments to baskets made of coconut fibers. And because of Cuba’s growing art scene there is no shortage of art for you to check out. So if you are looking for a painting or two to take home you are in the right place. Just in case you came unprepared, you can exchange money on site but make sure your haggling skills are up to par as you will need them when it comes to shopping.


Palacio de la Artesanía

Also known as Casa de Don Mateo Pedroso this 18th century palace had a variety of functions over its history. From palace to jail and now to a shopping mall this beautiful structure is a place where you can get your fix for Cigars, rum and a variety of other souvenirs including art. Check this place out not only for the gifts you can find but just experience a piece of Cuban history.



Cuba Skate

Cuba Skate is a nonprofit initiative based in Washington, D.C. Started in 2010, Cuba Skate’s aim is to support and grow the Cuban skateboarding community by providing access to skateboarding equipment that is otherwise unavailable on the island. In doing so, Cuba Skate hopes to foster a constructive environment for Cuban youth that will have a positive impact on the greater community. Cuba Skate expands the future for these skaters by creating a chance to continue skateboarding, and developing, year round.

Cuba Skate | Donate Here

Helpful Resources

On The Ground

WiFi Guide

AlaMesa: This app is the Yelp of Cuba

Cuba Casa Directory: This app is the AirB&B of Cuba

Local Resources

Like this? Be sure to share it with your travel crew. Head over to our Contribute page to submit your own travel guide.


  • Show Comments (0)