3 days in Havana – a travel guide

As I’m writing this, I’ve got to admit: it hurts a bit not being in Cuba anymore. From Viñales to Trinidad; I loved everything in between, but Havana stood out. Impossible to compare the capital to any other city in the world, and that’s okay. Ready for 3 days in Havana? Vamos.
3 days in Havana: day 1
Day 1 – morning: start exploring

Time to get breakfast first. We went to Café Bohemia on our first day in Cuba, mainly because it was perfectly located on Plaza Vieja, which was the start of our tour du jour. Try the mint-lemon-honey juice or the Bombohemia if you’re into caramel in your coffee. The food is fine, but the interior had such a familiar cozy feeling to it, we loved it.

Time to start walking! There are four main squares in Havana: Plaza Vieja, Plaza San Francisco, Plaza de Armes and Plaza de Catedral. Start walking in that order through the little streets, take your time, enjoy the walk.

If you’re craving your first cocktail, there’s a cool pirate bar close to Plaza de Catedral. If you’re facing the cathedral, take the closest street on your left, walk past the famous bar La Bodeguita del Medio and you’ll see a little outdoor pirate bar on your right. Great mojito.

Day 1 – afternoon & evening: sleep isn’t for the weak

We picked out a restaurant close to Plaza de Catedral, named Cafe de Roma. My vegetarian paella was fine, my boyfriends ropa vieja was delicious. Not expensive and good food.

After two cocktails, our jetlag hit hard. Nap time. After that, we wanted to see the Havana skyline, so went up to the Iberostar Parque Central rooftop bar and snapped some pictures.

Time for a cocktail (enjoy them while you can, by the end of your trip you’ll be sick of them). Walk through Obispo, a lively street with many bars and restaurants. They all have a touristy vibe, but some of them offer free WiFi, which is quite rare in Cuba. So we had a drink in a bar called Agramonte.

Hungry? Get ready for my number 1 dinner tip in Havana: 5 Esquinqas Trattoria. An Italian restaurant located in a beautiful little street (with three more restaurants if you’re not into Italian food)(but who isn’t?). The Margherita was literally the best pizza I ever had.

3 days in Havana: day 2
Day 2 – morning: they see me rollin’

Breakfast spot by day, Mexican restaurant and cocktail bar by night: El Dandy. Amazing pineapple juice and refined breakfast. After breakfast, we had to arrange some practical things, like our tickets to see Buena Vista Social Club and our transportation to go to Viñales. My number 1 tip: get your shit done on time.

Walk to El Capitolio, one of the most impressive building in Havana and very well preserved compared to the rest of the city. If you’re facing El Capitolio and you go right, you’ll see it immediately: all the pretty oldtimers lined up, with the Gran Teatro de la Habana as a beautiful backdrop. If you’re in Havana, a car ride in an oldtimer is a must. We paid 40 CUC for a ride of an hour through New Havana. We probably overpaid a bit, but it was the prettiest pink car in town so it was worth it. I won’t forget this car ride anytime soon, enjoyed it a lot.

Day 2 – afternoon & evening: rum baby

Lunch time! We weren’t very hungry so skipped lunch, but skip to the end of this article to get a shortlist of other food spots.

Since traveling is about learning, we went to the Museum de Ron. It was nice to learn more about rum, which is very much used in Cuba. The museum felt a bit commercial. The entrance is 7 CUC and the tour lasts around 45 minutes.

Getting ready for a night out! Unfortunately, we got scammed walking to a restaurant so our night fell into the water and we went home and watched Netflix.

3 days in Havana: day 3
Day 3 – morning: wander

We had breakfast in La Vitrola, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The food was fine but such bad service. No thanks! Fortunately, there are a lot of food spots on Plaza Vieja so you can easily pick something else.

If you’re into walking tours, this morning is your chance! Search one of the many free walking tours Havana has to offer and learn more about this pretty city.

Day 3 – afternoon & evening : Bueno Vista Social Whut

We went for a late lunch at 5 Esquinqas Trattoria again, since we loved our visit so much the first time. Afterwards, we went looking for the best canchánchara of Havana, and found it in Neuva Plaza. The cocktails are a tad more expensive but 100% worth it.

Let’s go for a walk! The Paseo del Prado is a beautiful boulevard going all the way to the water, where you can watch the sunset. There are a lot of art installations so it’s the perfect place to stroll.

Craving Indian food? Me neither, but the restaurants name convinced me: Buena Vista Curry Club. The food was okay for Cuban norms, it was a bit more expensive, the piña colada was to die for and the interior very hip.

Time to go to the number one must-do in Cuba: go to a live performance of the old school Bueno Vista Social Club. Unfortunately, we didn’t like it. At all. I promise there’ll be a blogpost where I explain why.

Restaurants & bars in Havana we didn’t try but are supposed to be quite good:
  • El Chancullero: hip and casual restaurant with classic dishes. There’s often a line but pass it and go up to the rooftop bar for their smaller tapas menu.
  • Habana 61: Cuban food in a newer version that unfortunately is so popular you need to make reservations
  • La Guadarilla: Apparently one of the best restaurants in Cuba. Make reservations!
  • Fabrica de Arte Cubano: old oil factory, now a drinking/live music/fashion/design hotspot.
  • El Cocinero: Hip restaurant right next to Fábrica de Arte Cubano.
  • Lamparilla: Mexican food!