Take a plug adaptor – their outlets are different. Do not accept national currency instead of CUC. Be wise.
Accommodation – I stayed at VEDADO HOTEL, in the neighborhood of Vedado, the best place – it has everything and is close to the historical center. Good, but very expensive for the service they offer.
Shopping – for gifts and souvenirs, the best choice is the CRAFT FAIR, any other place is expensive. They sell paintings, clothes, everything. At the fair, bargain!
Taxi – it is the best transport, but do not take the blue/yellow Lada – according to the Cubans, they overcharge. The white Lada is better and more economic, they charge the fair price. Even so, always ask how much it will cost before. You can also find new American cars working as taxis. They are safe but 3 times more expensive. Travel agencies and hotels will tell you to get only these, they have a deal.
JAZZ CAFÉ – pretty nice bar for tourists, across from Meliá Hotel – live music (a mix of salsa and jazz) and reasonable prices.
FRESA Y CHOCOLATE – inspired by the movie Strawberry and Chocolate, this is a themed local bar that Ana took me to, very trendy with Cuban music, no tourists. It is on Calle 23 near the cinemas.
MORRO – a bar at the bottom of the lighthouse. A 007 movie had some scenes filmed there. To reach the other side of the bay, you need to go through a tunnel under water, built in the 50s and in good conditions. You must try the mojito and the Bucanero Fuerte beer. They call it dark beer, but there is not black beer. In Cuba, dark means it is not crystal and is stronger than the soft one we have in Brazil.
Money – everything is expensive, they follow the European prices. 1€ = 1,25CUC and a meal is about 12CUC. It is best to take euro; you might lose about 20% if you take dollar. With accommodation and all, the costs stay on 50€, at least. Credit cards are rarely accepted and they charge 11% on the final price. Do not even consider taking American Express or any other American credit card. The prices for tourists are a rip-off, and do not bother researching. Equal prices for the same services.
Internet – it is forbidden in Cuban homes, it is not easy to find and is expensive – about 4CUC for 15 minutes. I found it at HABANA LIBRE and NACIONAL hotels – this last one is worth a visit, extremely beautiful.
Street names – I spent 2 days lost in the city, complaining that the streets have no name plates. Much after I found out that the names are on the corners, on the floor. Check the picture.
Travel agency – HAVANATUR, it makes tours countrywide.
Translated by Lúcia Maciel