Touring Havana in a Vintage Convertible! To visit Havana is like stepping into a time machine and setting the dial to the 1950's.
For someone who loves people, vintage cars, street photography, rum or cigars, Havana is amazing! The people are very friendly and you are relatively safe walking around in Havana.
We opted to go on a cruise to Havana. Now, I am not really what you would consider a "cruise" person. I have friends that love, love, love them. My friends say, "Oh, the food is great!" I find the food to be ok. My friends say, "There is so much to do on a cruise ship!" I find the activities and the herding of people from place to place monotonous. But, with the regulations and restrictions on travel to Cuba, I found the cruise was the way to go. We booked on Norwegian Cruise Lines. We were aboard the Norwegian Sky. The staff was very nice. The food was ok. I did read a good book. I took salsa dance lessons. I did a morning yoga/stretch class. I went to the casino and played roulette and blackjack. I found a little machine that had a controller that you tried to fit a key into a slot, then you take home about $1000.00. I blew about $60.00 there, just knowing I would get it the "next time". I drank Pina Coladas.
I am also not a fan of group tours, but we booked tours. A Cuban Cigar and Rum tour to satisfy the OFAC regulations through Norwegian Cruise Lines. They keep the records for you for the 5 year requirement. We visited the Rum Museum of Havana Club. We went to the Tobacco Factory where you meet famous cigar experts and watch them roll the cigars.
We went to listen to the Cuban African music in the Callejon Hammel alleyway in downtown Havana. This is a really neat area. Lots of art work on the walls and in the alleyway. They have turned a very depressed area into something beautiful.
Afterwards, we took a private group tour in a vintage car with I Love Cuba Photo Tours. The contact is Yosel Vazquez... email@example.com. Rey was our guide and he was amazing! He was very knowledgable and a photographer. This gave him a unique perspective for guiding me as a photographer.
About 1 in 3 cars driving down the road were vintage.
The Cuban people were very sweet. They would ask if you were from the USA. When you said yes, they would thank you for coming to Cuba.
We went to Plaza de la Revolucion. Our guide told us brief facts concerning the Revolution. There were vintage cars parked along the side of the plaza.
Hotel Nacional was beautiful! Many famous people including the mafia, celebrities, and government officials have stayed here.
I had a Mafia Mojito and it was delicious. A small group of three musicians came to the table and played for us. Oh, if the walls could talk in this place.
I am so impressed with these cars. No spare parts available, and yet they have kept them going all of these years.
We toured the streets of Havana in the Colonial Squares.
This area was one of my favorites.
The children are all in uniforms for school. This color is for Elementary School.
Her shirt says it all.
Flower delivery. If you look closely, you can see there is only one pedal on the bike. The seat is horrendous, and yet someone works with this. I have to admire the Cuban people for their tenacity to make what they have work.
Pay phones for those who still do not have cell phones.
Cats laying around at the market.
Extensive public art installations by local artist José Fuster, with colorful, whimsical mosaics. The bus stop and the neighborhood are done in mosaic.
For Ernest Hemingway fans, his house is outside of Havana. There are tours that take you as a drive by and look, or for the more serious fans, you can tour the inside as well.
Bar Floridita, where Hemingway hung out. Floridita or El Floridita is a historic fish restaurant and cocktail bar in the older part of Havana, Cuba. It lies at the end of Calle Obispo, across Monserrate Street from the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana.
Hotel Ambos Mundos. Hemingway lived here for 7 years in the 1930's.
An Edsel. My husbands favorite of all of the cars that we saw.
After our last tour, we walked to Plaza Vieja.
We had a traditional Cuban dinner at La Vitrola. Be sure and eat the Cuban rice.
Parking in front of La Vitrola.
Be sure and pick up some Havana Club 7 Rum and cigars before you leave!