All posts filed under: Insider’s Guide

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4 Best Cigar and Rum Brands in Cuba

When you think about Cuba, what immediately comes to mind? Did you picture yourself smoking an incredible cigar, rum cocktail in hand? So did we. If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean island and looking to purchase the best of both, we’ve created a list of our favorite rum and cigar brands in Cuba. Cohiba Cigars Launched in 1996, Cohiba remains one of the most prestigious cigar brands in the world. Each of its cigars—shorter but thicker than those from other companies—is created with a secret blend of tobacco leaves from several of the island’s best tobacco regions, including Pinar del Río. The Cohiba Behike line is the first Habano to feature 6 different leaves in its filler as opposed to the normal 5, providing consumers with a slow burn and lasting flavor. Cohiba Behike ‘BHK 54’ (Behike 54) – Box of 10, USD $525 Havana Club Selección de Maestros “Maestros roneros” (“master rum-makers”) behind all Havana Club rums select barrels based on their aromatic properties to produce their Master Selection bottles of triple-barrel-aged …

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6 Best Bars in Havana

Today, Havana’s most famous bars include El Floridita, the re-opened Sloppy Joe’s and the iconic Hotel Nacional, with its sublime terrace. All of these places are fun and full of atmosphere, but are also packed with camera-touting tourists, and very few locals. Plus, they harken back to Havana’s past. For a glimpse of the future, visit these new bars and clubs in Havana. Bohemio Bar Calle 21 #1065 e/ 12 y 14, Vedado (+53) 7-833-6918 More of a café than bar, Bar Bohemio is owned and managed by ex-ballerinas from the National Ballet Company in Havana. This is a comfortable and warm place with great music and a relaxed vibe. There is a large patio terrace outside and nice space inside the spacious Vedado mansion. Photo by @mgliszczynska. Casa Miglis Lealtad #120 e/ Ánimas y Lagunas, Central Havana (+53) 7- 864-1486 www.casamiglis.com The bar at this buzzy Swedish restaurant (a first in Cuba) serves some of the best mojitos in the city. Owner Michel Miglis renovated the high-ceilinged building into an arthouse cinema-inspired space with whimsical …

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Why You Need to Visit Havana’s Craziest Ice Cream Shop

Tanja Buwalda, originally from Ireland, fell in love with Cuba and Cuban food so much that she decided to move here for a few years. While living in Havana, she discovered Coppelia Ice Cream, an ice cream parlor that goes way beyond traditional American corner ice cream shops. This place attracts enough locals that there are lines out the doors and a whole system of rules to follow. It’s all worth it though, as Buwalda explains here. Visit Buwalda’s website for more stories from her life in Cuba. By Tanja Buwalda Coppelia, an ice cream parlor in Havana’s Vedado district, is a city institution and one of the best places to experience the “real” Cuba. From little old abuelas to teens on their first date to rock-and-rollers with their rats (yes, pet rats are a thing), it seems like everyone from Havana comes here, minus the tourists. In fact, it’s one of the few places where I don’t feel like a tourist. Built in 1966 with a flying saucer tower at its center, the building …

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Damián’s Tip: Santy Seafood Restaurant

Each week, our insiders working here at Cuba Travel Network give us their best tips on where to go in Havana. This week, Damián, our developer, tips us a hole-in-the-wall seafood and sushi restaurant in the far west of the Playa neighborhood in Havana. Damián: “In the maelstrom of life in Havana, Santy is a safely-kept oasis.” Santy is more than just another seafood restaurant. If there could only be one world-class restaurant in Cuba, Santy is it. While it’s been open for years, and is widely talked about throughout Havana, it’s hard to find. Damián: “Starting with its entrance, Santy is unlike any restaurant in Havana. From the outside, it doesn’t look different from a modest house, but once you enter, you’re automatically shielded from the speed and madness of the city.” Tucked away on Jaimanitas river in western Havana, rustic decor and nautical themes match the restaurant’s location overlooking wooden docks and boats. Damián: “The river and boats create a setting that allows you to slow down and relax.” Far away from the …

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A Photographer’s Experience in Havana: Jorge Quinteros

“Photography in Cuba: It’s Not Easy,” reads a 2015 New York Times headline. New York-based photographer Jorge Quinteros respectively disagrees. Quinteros is one of many international photographers who’ve traveled to Cuba, and photos from his recent trip capture authentic, daily life in Havana. We talked to Quinteros about his visit to Cuba and his experiences photographing the people of Havana. What inspired you to travel to Cuba? In a big way, other photographers inspired me to visit Cuba. I think a lot of photographers are doing a great job highlighting Cuba’s rich culture—especially the people that make up the fabric of the country. The purpose of my trip was to do just that. Beyond taking photos, I wanted to tell a story about each local I met along the way, and to give a voice to those who may have felt they didn’t have one to begin with. How did you plan your itinerary? I did a lot of research. There were specific places I wanted to visit, like the Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym. I …