Cuba is a museum. Years of isolation produced such effect. With this in mind, what better way to travel the country than on a rolling museum? American vintage cars, preserved by the quality of their makes and the imagination of local engineers, can take you anywhere you like, the fare depending on the ride and the shape of the car. You may sightsee Havana from a presidential convertible Buick from the fifties, or take a 1940s Chevrolet cab to your next stop. Regular cabs fares range from 10 Cuban pesos–not convertible–for fixed shared rides, while scenic rides are about 25 to 50 CUCs the hour.
The Bodeguita del Medio is a typical Cuban bar-restaurant. Since its foundation, it has been visited and frequented by many famous people, from Ernest Hemingway and Nat King Cole to Pablo Neruda and Gabriel García Márquez. All visitors have left their mark in the place, be it a souvenir, a photograph, a personal belonging, or just their signature on the wall.
Once the Cuban home of Ernest Hemingway in Havana, Finca Vigía is now a museum dedicated to the author of For Whom the Bells Toll. The property is preserved pretty much like Hemingway left it, and it displays a huge collection of the writer’s paperwork, his personal library, photographs, and many of his hunt trophies. A replica of his yacht El Pilar stands by the pool where Ava Gardner once swam all naked.
The International Book Fair is a feast for writers, publishers, and literature lovers celebrated annually between February and March. It begins in Havana and later expands to the other provinces. Each fair is dedicated to an author and a country or culture.
The Havana Film Festival promotes Latin-American filmmakers, films, and industries. Starting in 1979, for two weeks the movie theaters in Havana–and some other towns–show the latest of Latin-American productions, plus some film shows from the rest of the world, including retrospectives of notorious filmmakers and cinematography.
The Havana Biennial is an art exhibition that takes place in Havana every two years, aimed at promoting contemporary Latin American and Caribbean art circles and artists. Started in 1984, the Biennial has become a festival of arts, where challenging reflections and speeches about contemporary and local societies and philosophies have the center of attention.
Opened in 1930, this historic hotel has seen many notorious guests check in and out. Its impressive structure and design, beside the views of the city and the sea it offers, make it one of Cuba’s most desirable luxury hotels. Located in Vedado, close to the seawall, it also hosts a museum of memorabilia of every important guest it has had, as well as a small museum dedicated to the 1961 Missile Crisis.
Built as the Habana Hilton in the 1950s, the Habana Libre Tryp is one of the larger hotels in Cuba. Standing on a hill in Vedado, it was designed by the renowned architect Welton Becket in collaboration with Cuban architects Lin Arroyo and Gabriela Menéndez. The hotel opened on March 22, 1958, and it was Latin America’s tallest and largest hotel.
The cocotaxis are an engine-powered rickshaw patented by the Cuban government for transporting tourists mainly. It has the shape of a yellowish coconut–thus the name–and provide two passenger seats. Due to its rather poor motor power, they don’t usually ride for long distances. However, it may be a cheap and nice way of sightseeing while you move to your nearest destination.