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100 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip To Havana, Cuba

100 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip To Havana, Cuba

Old Apr 14, 15, 11:23 pm
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Exclamation 100 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip To Havana, Cuba

I just got back last week from visiting Havana. The list is way too long to put here, so I have posted it on my blog with pictures:

Check out 100 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip To Havana, Cuba - http://first2board.com/pointssummary...o-havana-cuba/

Let me know if you have any questions and I'll answer them here.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 12:41 am
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Thank you very much for your 100 things you have learned on your trip to Havana and it was interesting to see Havana with the eyes of a gringo.

Please allow some remarks:

You were surprised that there are no open container laws in Cuba. You will be surprised that I only know one country in the world where you are not allowed to drink your beer on the street.

You were eating on peso stalls and you seem to have liked the pizza for 5 CUP. You are the only gringo I have ever heared to do so. I really do not recommend it.

I like what you are saying about cuban coffee. By the way Starbuck´s is selling whatever but it is not coffee.

You stayed in Ydalgo´s penthouse in Vedado and I hope you enjoyed it. The breakfast was usually 8 CUC at his place but it is worth it don´t you think so?

You took very good pictures by the way.

At the end did you enjoy it or was it just an adventure?
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Old Apr 15, 15, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by carpetbagger View Post
Thank you very much for your 100 things you have learned on your trip to Havana and it was interesting to see Havana with the eyes of a gringo.

Please allow some remarks:

You were surprised that there are no open container laws in Cuba. You will be surprised that I only know one country in the world where you are not allowed to drink your beer on the street.

You were eating on peso stalls and you seem to have liked the pizza for 5 CUP. You are the only gringo I have ever heared to do so. I really do not recommend it.

I like what you are saying about cuban coffee. By the way Starbuck´s is selling whatever but it is not coffee.

You stayed in Ydalgo´s penthouse in Vedado and I hope you enjoyed it. The breakfast was usually 8 CUC at his place but it is worth it don´t you think so?

You took very good pictures by the way.

At the end did you enjoy it or was it just an adventure?
I've been all over the world and the only time I've seen beer bottles being drunk on the street is in Las Vegas and Brazil. Can you name other countries as well?

Cheese pizza was about 10 CUP , but with onions it was 15 CUP. It wasn't too bad at all for what you get. It's made fresh and hot.

Yes, Ydalgo's Penthouse Suite was amazing and definitely worth it. We had breakfast for 8 CUC each and it was worth it. In my post, I mentioned 'casa' breakfasts and I don't really consider Ydalgo's place a casa... it's more like a luxury casa/villa/penthouse.

Yes, I did enjoy Cuba very much and it's like a total different world out there! I would love to go back to Cuba, but of course visit other parts of the beautiful country. I stayed in Havana way too long (5 nites, 6 full days)!

Thanks for reading!
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Old Apr 15, 15, 11:11 pm
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Originally Posted by jammanxc View Post
I've been all over the world and the only time I've seen beer bottles being drunk on the street is in Las Vegas and Brazil. Can you name other countries as well?

Most countries in Europe like Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, Switzerland etc.

In Germany the legal age for alcohol is 14 - minors are allowed to consume and possess alcoholic beverages, such as beer and wine, as long as they are in the company by a Custodial Person.

In Thailand you may drink your beer as well in public. In Brazil and Argentina I did drink beer, wine and caipirinhas in public.

But we are here to talk about Cuba and not about drinking habits in public and as long it is legal in Cuba, especially on the Malecon at night time, it is OK for me.



Cheese pizza was about 10 CUP , but with onions it was 15 CUP. It wasn't too bad at all for what you get. It's made fresh and hot.


To be honest I never tried any food from peso stalls. All of my cuban friends are always warning me and especially the story with the cheese for the pizza is a running gag.

The ice cream at Coppelia (in the CUC area) is highly recommended. The quality was excellent.



Yes, Ydalgo's Penthouse Suite was amazing and definitely worth it. We had breakfast for 8 CUC each and it was worth it. In my post, I mentioned 'casa' breakfasts and I don't really consider Ydalgo's place a casa... it's more like a luxury casa/villa/penthouse.
It is nice to hear that you liked the place. I mentioned his place already long time ago here but nobody believed me. Better keep it as a secret.



Yes, I did enjoy Cuba very much and it's like a total different world out there! I would love to go back to Cuba, but of course visit other parts of the beautiful country. I stayed in Havana way too long (5 nites, 6 full days)!

Thanks for reading!
For only 5 nights in Havana you really saw a lot. For years I am planning to visit the Cementerio de Cristiobal Colon in Havana. I never made it because I did not want to pay the 8 CUC they were charging at the entrance to gringos.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by carpetbagger View Post
Most countries in Europe like Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, Switzerland etc.

In Germany the legal age for alcohol is 14 - minors are allowed to consume and possess alcoholic beverages, such as beer and wine, as long as they are in the company by a Custodial Person.

In Thailand you may drink your beer as well in public. In Brazil and Argentina I did drink beer, wine and caipirinhas in public.

But we are here to talk about Cuba and not about drinking habits in public and as long it is legal in Cuba, especially on the Malecon at night time, it is OK for me.




To be honest I never tried any food from peso stalls. All of my cuban friends are always warning me and especially the story with the cheese for the pizza is a running gag.

The ice cream at Coppelia (in the CUC area) is highly recommended. The quality was excellent.





It is nice to hear that you liked the place. I mentioned his place already long time ago here but nobody believed me. Better keep it as a secret.




For only 5 nights in Havana you really saw a lot. For years I am planning to visit the Cementerio de Cristiobal Colon in Havana. I never made it because I did not want to pay the 8 CUC they were charging at the entrance to gringos.
Buy some peso flowers and convince them that you're visiting a family member at the cemetery so you can pay entrance in MN.
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Old Apr 19, 15, 8:55 am
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Good to know you learned something while in Cuba Mr. Ng, its no different than LA is it? LOL
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Old Apr 19, 15, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by djjaguar64 View Post
Good to know you learned something while in Cuba Mr. Ng, its no different than LA is it? LOL
Cuba ≠ L.A nor anywhere else on this planet. Totally unique and different from anywhere else.

Last edited by tmac100; Apr 19, 15 at 10:04 pm
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Old Apr 21, 15, 8:47 am
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When I was in Havana in 2013, I ate many "peso pizza" food stalls as did many of the others in my group towards the end of the trip when we started to run out of money. To my knowledge, none of us had any issues with the food. The chinese restaurant that some found in Vedado was a different story...
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Old Apr 29, 15, 9:24 am
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Currently in Havana. When I return to the MENA on Saturday I will update Jamison's OP blog. A few tings are outdated - Cuba is in some flux and this place is developing well......
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Old Jun 4, 15, 9:00 pm
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Thanks for starting the thread and posting your experiences. I recently returned from Cuba and had a wonderful time. A few thoughts on the 100 Things list:

jammanxc (12. Cristal beer is really good...)
Cristal/Bucanero were both fine and cheap. I gave the edge to Cristal. Running out of beer, having only one type, or having none at all is common (especially true around big holidays). You will also see Presidente and Heineken available in various places.
(21. Cars always have the right of way...)
This is very true. Be extremely careful when crossing any roadways. I had my share of close calls during my visit. Many roadways have numerous potholes/bumps and the drivers will swerve to miss them. Sometimes they will drive down the middle of the road or in the opposite lane for smoother travel. At night things can get even more dangerous. It is not uncommon for drivers to turn off their headlights due to alternator/battery charging issues. Simply put: be very careful when walking on or near roadways.
(22. There is a dual currency system in Cuba...)
The word on the street is a single currency system (the CUP) is coming....This is hearsay and I have no official knowledge about the changeover.
(23. Cubans really do make on average 20 CUC per month...)
I was told there is a range of $10-$50 per month depending on the government/private job. Jobs with access to tourists are coveted and the highest paying. Bartenders, tour guides, waiters (at popular Paladares), and tour bus drivers (that speak at least one foreign language) do better than most.
(36. You can buy fresh fruit with Cuban pesos (CUP)....)
If you like fresh fruit, then Cuba is a place you may like. Lots of variety, availability, and very cheap. Mangos (various types) where everywhere as it was the beginning of the season for them (May).
(53. Cuba is really laid back...) (55. Five minutes does not literally mean 5 minutes...)
I affectionately call it "Cuba time". 5 minutes turns into 10 minutes, 10 minutes turns into 20 minutes....
There is really no rush to do many things in Cuba. One may view this positively or negatively, but I personally found the slower pace refreshing.
(62. There aren’t any homeless people – Even though Cuba is a poor country, you won’t find beggars on the streets or homeless people sleeping on the streets...)
I do not know about the homeless part, but I was asked plenty of times for a peso or two. Usually from old/young citizens. On the weekends, many children asked for money. A simple "No" would suffice and they would move on.
(74. The line for Coppelia ice cream is ridiculous.. ..)
Helado is readily available, very good, cheap, and quite refreshing during the heat of the day. Nestle seemed a big player (or maybe just in the touristy areas?)
(92. It’s quite easy to get scammed with the 3 peso/1 CUC coin...)
The 3 CUP "Che" peso coin does make for a cheap souvenir - if you do not overpay for it...

Other thoughts:
Surprising to me, I only saw one (automatic looking) rifle during my visit (in front of a bank). I had expected a bit more "militarized" Cuba, but I just did not see/feel it during my visit.

"Yuma" : Foreigner, non-Cuban, or American.

"Por la izquierda" : on the left (aka: black market). Maybe someone with more Cuba experience can explain this fundamental aspect of the Cuban economy.

"Resolver" : to resolve (or find a solution). I found this "dicho" very fitting for Cuba. It is a word used to mean the Cuban people will always find a way to live and survive together.
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