Early in 2017 I had the supreme opportunity to visit Havana, Cuba. I remember my Aunt had been talking for months about visiting once the travel restrictions eased. My overwhelming love for everything Latino made it extremely easy to say YES when the day came.
For any of you that were baited into reading this post due to the title, I’ll cut right to the point. What about Havana made it so easy to fall in love with?
Simply put, the lively and colorful culture of Havana made an everlasting impact on my soul.
From its history, its people, its rum, its cigars and its cars, Havana is a city that will make you feel like you are in a dream. It takes you back to the days where ’21st century’ problems were nonexistent and one can sit back and enjoy life the way it’s meant to be lived. Happy.
Upon arrival at the airport and processing Customs (which was unlike any other experience in my life), we were greeted by an old yellow Volkswagen bus with a chipper friend of my Aunt named Helena, our tour guide and our (extremely handsome) driver.
Over the course of four days we did a number of tourist and local things including a walking tour of Havana’s four plazas, visited Hemingway’s favorite bar, attended dinner shows, toured a herb garden, took a cooking class (where we also learned how to make the famous Cuban mojitos), visited with a local musician over lunch, toured a voodoo parlor and shook our hips at a well-known nightclub.
One particular event of the trip that I will never forget was buying Cuban cigars out of a hotel room in one of the nicest hotels in the city. Our guide said he ‘had a guy’ that we could purchase authentic cigars for half the price.
Needless to say, we were in for the adventure and the experience was worth it.
I’ll save the details to avoid incrimination but it was an interesting 30 minutes that I will never forget.
During all all of these activities, we were greeted with smiles and kindness by the Cuban people. Equally inviting, there was something special about the feeling of the buildings, their rustic, colorful and airy vibe. To top the sensory overload off, the car scene was amazing. We even took a convertible ride in an old pink Cadillac and it was simply breathtaking. If you are a car fanatic, Havana must be added to your bucket list.
My quick summary of why Havana is so lovable simply doesn’t give it the justice it deserves and I encourage everyone to visit the island, meet its people and enjoy an ice cold Cuba Libre.
The memories of Havana will live on and every time I hear Havana by Camila Cabello, all I can think about are those lovely days in Havana soaking up the sun, the friendly Cubans and the delectable rum.