Contiuning the dichotomy of Havana, there are some decidedly gorgeous revitalized neighborhoods and buildings in Habana Vieja, largely categorized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site area of the city, and the historical civic center of the city. Above, a patio central in a hotel that I did not stay in.
A street in Havana Vieja.
I’m a sucker for Painted Ladies and these girls sure look fine. If you ever go to Havana Vieja, these ladies are between Plaza de la Catedral and Plaza Vieja, closer to the latter.
Habana Veija, Habana, Cuba
Above is our taxi in Havana, aka our AirBNB host’s neighbor’s car. Jorge, the neighbor, asked for a daily fee and drove us to, from, and around downtown Havana. He was very gracious, played good music, and was definitely a great way to see the city. (Hailing a cab street-side will often result in very high fares). When we needed to get from Havana (northern Cuba) to Trinidad (southern Cuba), Jorge was able to find a friend who would take us the whole way.
If you are planning to go to Cuba, and are from the US, be aware: you cannot take money out of an ATM or use your credit card in Cuba. Bring 50% more of what you think you will need because taxis are very, very expensive, and Cuban public transportation is spotty at best. For example, we spent around 40 CUC daily on taxis around Havana for a family of 4-5, and 300 CUC on the taxi from Havana to Trinidad for the same number of people. This was with a salesman who speaks Spanish (my boyfriend) negotiating our fares. FYI.
Here is the AirBNB, aka Santiago’s house. The lovely 1921 home had been built by his grandfather, and he was renting out the main bedrooms on AirBNB and living in the back in an attempt to restore the upper level and generate some additional income. According to Santiago, under Fidel Castro, property owners were unable to renovate their homes without approval from the government, which had stymied his efforts to rebuild the entire second floor (!!) of his family home.
Vedado, Havana, Cuba
Straits of Florida
Near Havana, Cuba