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Sunday, April 30, 2017


The easiest way to tour Vedado, Miramar and the beaches and castles on the other side of the bay is to use the HabanaBusTour. There are 2 routes--T1 & T3 and you can get off and back on at any of its stops.

Both buses start at Parque Central.

T1 is on a double decker, open air tram. Buses leave every 20 minutes.

The T1 goes to Vedado and Miramar and costs 10 CUCs. It takes 2 1/2 hours to ride the entire route back to Parque Central.

The other route is T3 which takes you east of Havana to Fortaleza de San Carlos and the beaches.  Buses are every 40 minutes. T3 is on an air-conditioned bus. Cost is 5 CUCs. 

Inflation is evident here. Just a few months prior, it cost 10 CUCs to ride both routes.

2017 03 07

Saturday, April 29, 2017


On the way back to our apartment, we stopped at Helad'oro and had an ice cream.

Helad'oro is located on Aguiar & Empedrado.

1 flavor--1 CUC, 2 flavors--2 CUCs.

Turron de Mani--peanut nougat. It was the best ice we had in Cuba--creamy and full of flavor.

Sorbete d'Melon--watermelon sorbet. Refreshing and again full of flavor.

2017 03 06

Friday, April 28, 2017

Habana 61

We had dinner at Habana 61 one night. Before I left the US, I made a reservation online:

The restaurant is located at, you guessed it, 61 Habana.

It's a modern restaurant that was packed with tourists.

Glass of White Wine--3.50 CUCs. This was a Spanish wine and pretty good.

Cristal beer--2 CUCs.

Seviche--4.95 CUCs. This was delicious--Peruvian style marinated raw fish.

Ensalada de Pulpo a la Cubanita--6.75 CUCs. This was an octopus salad that was very well prepared. The octopus was tender and not chewy.

Ropa Vieja--6.95 CUCs. I liked this better than the one at Dona Eutimia.

Pescado Mantequilla de Alcaparra (fish with caper butter)--8.25 CUCs. This was my favorite dish. The fish was tender and the caper butter was delicious.

The entrees were served with beans 

and white rice

Flan--2.50 CUCs. Another thick & creamy flan.

2017 03 06

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hemingway's Hangouts

Hemingway had many favorite hangouts in Havana. After all, he spent over 20 years in Cuba.

El Floridita boasts that Hemingway used to get his daiquiris here. 

El Floridita is located at the end of Obispo, near the Museo Nacional de Belles Artes.

Today, the restaurant is crowded with tourists.

Another of Hemingway's hangouts was La Bodeguita del Medio. It's located at Calle Empedrado, between Cuba and San Ignacio. It's another crowded place.

The bartenders line up glasses and make 20 mojitos at once.

Outside, the walls are covered with graffiti. It's packed with tourists and even this local with a cigar hanging from his mouth.

2017 03 06

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sloppy Joe's Bar

My husband's grandparents spent their honeymoon in Havana and they had a picture of themselves at Sloppy Joe's Bar. We went to the bar to see if we could recreate the picture.

Sloppy Joe's Bar is located at Agramonte & Animas. It was a popular hangout for American tourists during Prohibition and its popularity continued until the 1950s. It was described as one of the most famous bars in the world by the LA Times. 

Business sank when the US embargo took effect and in the 1960s a fire closed it. The building remained intact but was an empty shell until 2007, when restoration was begun by the Office of the Historian of Havana. The bar finally reopened in 2013.

There were lots of pictures on the walls in the exact style as my husband's grandparents' picture. There was even a woman in some of the pictures who was in his grandparents' picture. The bartender told us it was probably the owner's wife who used to hang out in the bar and take pictures with the tourists.

Order a drink and get potato chips and chicharron (fried pork rind).

We even ordered what they had to drink--a pina colada--4 CUCs. I was not a fan of this. The coconut milk was overpowering.

His grandmother had a Negroni--5 CUCs. During its heyday, Sloppy Joe's offered over 80 different cocktails. I'm not sure there were that many on the menu today. In any event, the bar was quiet and probably not quite as popular as in the past.

2016 03 06

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

El Chanchullero

After touring Centro Habana, we had lunch at El Chanchullero.

It opens at 1 pm but get in line by 12:45 or you won't get in for the first seating.

El Chanchullero is located on Teniento Rey between Cristo & Bernaza. The sign outside says that Hemingway was never here.

It's across the street from Iglesia del Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje, the Church of Good Voyage. The church sits on a nice square. There are many benches to sit and people watch.

El Chanchullero is a small restaurant with a few tables on the ground floor where you can see the action in the tiny kitchen. There are 2 more levels upstairs--the top level is a covered patio. The most interesting table was on the 2nd level--it's in a jail cell.

There was a $1 bill on the wall where Washington had been changed to Che Guevara.

The mojito was delicious--2 CUCs.

Jugos Naturales--1 CUC. This was a Guava smoothie and so good.

The other Jugos Naturales was frutabomba--tasted like mango.

Pollo Yosvany--4 CUCs. This was chicken stir fried with vegetables. It was served with a small salad and rolls. Delicious and so inexpensive.

Cordero Lomo Encebollado--5 CUCs. Lamb with onions, served with a side of cream sauce. Not sure what the sauce was. The lamb was a little tough.

Service was very slow. It took us over 2 hours to get through lunch and this was all we had. We tried to order flan but was told they were out. I think it was more like they couldn't keep up with the service. It was a good thing the food was good and inexpensive. Extra bonus--the restaurant accepted US dollars--$1 = 1 CUC exchange rate.

2017 03 06

Monday, April 24, 2017

Centro Habana

Centro Habana is the little-visited section of Havana located between Habana Vieja and Vedado.

Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas is located just a few blocks from the Capitolio. It was once one of the country's largest cigar factories. Founded in 1845, it employed 750 workers and produced 12 brands of cigars, including Cohiba, Monte Cristo, Romeo & Juliet and Partagas.

The production of cigars has been moved to a remote location but you can buy cigars here. There's no need to shop around. There's no difference in price.

Cigars are not cheap. A Cohiba will cost 18-20 CUCs each. Cohibas are made with whole leaves and were Fidel Castro's preferred brand. 

El Barrio Chino or Chinatown is located just a short walk from the Fabrica de Tabacos. At its height, there were 10,000 Chinese living here but nowadays, there are no Chinese. The concrete gate marks the beginning of the 10 square blocks that make up Chinatown.

3 blocks west of the gate at the intersection of Cuchillo, Zanja and San Nicolas is the only area that is discernibly Chinese. 

There are a few Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood.

This gate was more in line with what you would expect to find in a Chinatown. It was at the end of the row of Chinese restaurants.

2017 03 06

Sunday, April 23, 2017


At #25 Malecon is Nazdarovie, a Soviet restaurant with a great view of the sea. The menu says that the restaurant celebrates the social and cultural bond between the people of Cuba and the people of the ex-Soviet Union. Nazdarovie is a toast "to your health."

From Habana Vieja, you can take a shortcut through this dilapidated alley to get to the Malecon.

We sat on the balcony with a wonderful view of the sea.

Mojitos--3 CUCs. If you prefer a taste of the Soviet Union, you can also choose from 12 different Vodkas.

Marinated Eggplant--3 CUCs. This was served cold and delicious.

Pielmeni Siberiano--4.90 CUCs. Russian style raviolis filled with ground beef and pork and garnished with sour cream and herbs. Another delicious dish. The dill worked well with the sour cream.

Golubets--5.10 CUCs. Cabbage roll stuffed with meat, rice and spices, cooked in a fresh tomato sauce and sour cream.

Borsch--4.40 CUCs. This was not what I expected. It was beet soup with chunky vegetables. It had good flavor.

Beef Stroganoff--13.50 CUCs. I liked this dish. The beef was tender and the sauce was creamy.

Our waitress wore a t-shirt that said "Back to the Havana."

2017 03 05