top 5 non-toursity things to do in havana
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eat at a paladar
Paladares are restaurants run by locals.
So basically it's just a local’s house and they open their doors and stoves to strangers. It feels like skipping up to your grandma’s house for a quick bite.
When you go up to ask for your food you can see everything from their living room to their family pictures on the mantelpiece.
If you'd like to contribute to the well-being of the local families, this is a good way to get your tourist dollars into their pockets rather than that of the mainstream restaurants.
people watching in plaza del cristo
Here you’ll find a lot of tourists, but you’ll also see the locals just kicking it and going about their daily lives.
The image above has to be one of my favourite pictures that I've ever taken. This man has a permit (as seen around his neck) to be working on the street.
I caught a little boy running around his balcony in his pjs on a Friday, playing with his giant pet rabbit.
The lifestyle is relaxed so you’ll see young men coolin in groups and kids off leash. In Plaza Del Cristo you’ll see a ton of internet cards littered all over the ground. People come to this park because it’s a wifi zone.
In Havana, you can’t get access to internet unless you use a wifi card. I met a guy who does IT for a hotel, and even he from his own pocket, has to buy internet cards in order to do his job which I thought was pretty whack. But also gained a new perspective on why working in Canada is a blessing.
enjoy the music
Here are a few non-related but beautiful images because I didn't quite have anything music related lol.
You’ll find restaurants with open windows and archways instead of doors. From the streets you can hear live bands performing traditional Cuban music.
I was shocked because the quality of their voices made it sound like they were playing off a record. The city offers beautiful warm sound on every corner.
stay in a casa particular
People offer up their homes as a hotel service. Some are more “put together” others are more lax. Choose the right one and you’ll get the inside scoop on family structure, daily life and Cuban culture.
the old city wall
They call it the worlds biggest couch. Tourists come to take pictures and locals come for a siesta, and believe me siesta is a thing here.
It was around 1:00 just outside the city, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. All of a sudden I’m seeing grown men under trees, hats over their faces, out cold. And I don’t mean a few men. I mean groups of men. All passed out, snuggled up to their landscaping equipment.
Also, I'm always gonna keep it real. This is the pollution in the water. Great for games of I-Spy. There are full-blown watermelons floating there if you look close.
visit the street vendors
I would skip out on the traditional markets because they sell toursity knick-knacks that you could find in pretty much anywhere. But the food stands are where it's at. Grab some fresh fruit for lunch, or watch a vendor make dough into fried churros.
I'm actually not sure if this is toursity or not but I have to mention it because the food was so good. This restaurant is called Chacon 162 and you can check it out on trip advisor here.
I honestly wish I could tell you the names of the things that I ate for certain, but I'll give it a stab.
So my main course was some kind of a blue cheese crema. Almost like a cheese soup. Very strong, very delicious. It was an incredible combo with these super salty empanadas dipped in. And then there was a vegetable soup. I'm not remembering it much so couldn't have been all that good. Exhibit A...
Right, well. I hope this was helpful. Feel free to leave a comment if you want any more advise and I will personally respond :)