A pub crawl with hundreds of strangers is a thing in Old Havana. There is the bar (Floridita) where Papa drank his favorite daiquiri. Then there is the Bodeguita del Medio where he imbibed on mojitos. I opted not to get a drink in Dos Hermanos, his third frequented spot because I was running low on pesos; it was either a couple of drinks or a taxi ride back to the airport.
Unfortunately I did not change enough money upon entering the country and found it impossible on the weekend to buy more CUC’s. I found a place for lunch that accepted euros (and I highly recommend this little eatery: 304 O’Reilly’s). Note to self: next visit buy many more pesos! The line at the airport to exchange currency was long and slow indicating that perhaps this was the only spot around!
While I did the central city, old city and the waterfront on foot, I took the new hop-on hop off bus to see the greater city neighborhoods. Saw some of the new hotels that charge Miami beach prices or maybe more!
I stayed in a private home just a few blocks from all the action. The couple had devoted a bedroom with a private bath 74 steps up from the street connecting to their small but comfortable apartment. The room included an air conditioner and a fridge. I knew that things like soap and other toiletries are hard to come by for the locals so I brought some extras along to leave behind.
I realize there are ethical concerns in touting tourism in Cuba. In addition to the U.S.’s continued reluctance to end all embargoes, one is only supposed to go there under the auspicious of twelve approved categories and “tourism” is not listed. In fact, the general consensus now, is that if you go, you had better not go to the beach! Another reason is that the influx of travelers have caused food shortages and price surges for the Cubans.