Budget travel with Loop to: Cuba
Havana, Cuba Photo courtesy: Linhao Zhang
Of all the Caribbean islands, Cuba is by far one of the most fascinating. Rum, cigars, classic cars, and the revolutionary Che Guevara are just a few of things that it's famous for. Its isolation from the rest of the world is another feature that the country is known for and perhaps what adds to its mysterious allure.
Standing as one of the last few pillars of communism, Cuba certainly has quite the captivating history and its political isolation from the rest of the world has prevented it from being overrun by tourists.
With a beautiful blend of Spanish and African roots, Cuba is the largest and least commercialized island in the region and is a must-visit if you’re the type of traveller that chases a truly authentic experience.
If you decide to visit, we advise that you read up on a few things you should know before visiting the visually stunning island.
Fly to: Cuba
When: Sunday, October 28 -- Saturday, November 3
Airbnb Superhost Lilly and her family love sharing their house because "through every traveller, we get to know a little bit more about other cultures". An easy-going atmosphere makes it a great place to just relax, sit in the sun, and learn about Cuba through the eyes of a Cuban family.
The space is a modernist, mid-century apartment with up to date amenities including new elevators, safes, and fridges in the rooms. Situated in a great location with spectacular views, you can relax and enjoy the views of Havana.
The apartment is in a building that dates from 1959 and is located in the historical centre all tourist interests such as Muceos, The Castle of the 3 wise men of El Morro, La Bodeguita del medio, La Catedral, as well as restaurant, bar, and nightlife. Breakfast service is not included and costs an additional 5CUC per person.
This Airbnb is a beautiful apartment in an old building, very well preserved, and served as the inspiration to author Cirilo Villaverde to write the oldest novel of Cuba 'Cecilia Valdes'.
The apartment contains a hall, bedroom with a balcony that shows the beautiful views of the streets of Havana where you can see the Church of the Angel and the Museum of the Revolution.
For the meat lover
1. Ropa Vieja (which literally translates to “old clothes”)
The national dish of Cuba, ropa vieja is braised shredded flank, brisket, or skirt steak in tomato sauce and served over fluffy white rice.
2. Medianoche (Spanish for midnight)
This sandwich is so called because it's typically served around that time in the nightclubs of Havana. A sweet egg bread is filled with ham, pork, cheese, and pickles.
In Cuban cuisine, pulpeta is a type of meatloaf, made of ground beef and stuffed with ham and hard boiled eggs, seared and then gently simmered in a savoury Cuban-style sauce.
For the vegetarian
1. Corn on the cob
This isn’t the corn on the cob you’re accustomed to. The Cuban version consists of grilling the cob, rolling it in cotija cheese, sprinkling it with chili powder and pouring some drops of lime juice.
2. Yuca con mojo
Also known as one of Cuba’s national dishes, yuca con mojo is cooked cassava seasoned and sautéed in bitter orange juice.
3. Huevo habaneros
Eggs cooked over a sofrito – a slightly fried mixture of tomatoes, garlic, peppers, and onions.
Do (Airbnb Experiences)*
('Experiences' on Airbnb lets you book excursions or other activities designed and led by local hosts. Like homes, you can filter your search by dates, guests, and types of immersive activities that suit your preference by categories that include classes and workshops, concerts, arts, food and drink, nature, sports, history, music, entertainment, health and wellness, and nightlife.)
For the Foodie:
Walk the streets of Havana with a local food fan, learn about the day to day Cuban life through food and recipes, see where Cubans shop, try snacks like locals do every day during this gourmet walking experience. Stroll down the winding alleyways of the historic Old Town in search of interesting places to sample various Cuban street food, fruits, juices, cakes, coffee. Learn the history and culture of the region and how it influenced the development of Cuban cuisine.
For the rum connoisseur:
Cuba has a long tradition of rum cocktails, dating back to Prohibition in the United States and the Cuban War of Independence. You’ll meet in the bar of a paladar—a privately owned Cuban restaurant—and chat with the bartender to learn how to prepare three classic rum-based cocktails. You’ll also get to talk about the origins of some of the most renowned Cuban cocktails and learn about variations and new recipes.
For the History Buff:
Drive around in a vintage car to live the excitement of the Mafia dream of the 1950's in Havana, touching base with the meeting places of the bosses and examining the secrets of a past world. Visit hotels built up by Mob bosses from the U.S. and learn about the history of the time period; you may even be able to see a house that belonged to one of these leaders. You can also get to taste the flavours and aromas typical of the Mafia’s lands of origin. Italian food and beverages are included.
For the Cigar Enthusiast:
Meet your guide in a cigar lounge in Havana and learn in detail about the history of the world famous Cuban cigars. After buying a cigar of your preference (included in the price of the experience), you'll get a step-by-step guide explaining the ritual of smoking Habanos and enjoy a discussion about the production and different types of cigars with a Cuban expert.
For the Nature Lover:
In the heart of the city, there's the Almendares River. This river was connected with Havana’s growth since its foundation in 1519 as it economical backbone. You’ll uncover a Moorish castle, beer gardens, Gaudí-style landscapes, natural amphitheatres and huge walking trees. You can also taste an almost-extinct local beer. Biking through the urban jungle, you may see devotee people who practice Santeria rituals in this natural sanctuary.
*Airfare and accommodation prices quoted are listed at the time of publication. Due to fluctuating rates, prices are subject to change.