Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Havana Wonderful Time; with Its Colonial Grandeur, Bars and Beaches, Cuba's Capital Makes a Revolutionary Destination for a Four-Day Getaway

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Havana Wonderful Time; with Its Colonial Grandeur, Bars and Beaches, Cuba's Capital Makes a Revolutionary Destination for a Four-Day Getaway

Article excerpt

Byline: ALICE O'KEEFE

THURSDAY

09.30 VS063 departs Gatwick (08705 747 747, www.virgin-atlantic.com; flights from [pounds sterling]590 return).

14.10 Arrive Havana. Once through immigration, jump into one of the official taxis waiting outside the airport to take you to your hotel ($20).

16.00 Stay at Titi and Miraida's beautiful colonial house in the tranquil, leafy district of Vedado (Calle J 559, 00 537 831 0548, vejerano@infomed.sld.cu.

From $20 per room, per night). It has two big double rooms and a private kitchen and bathroom. Or stay at the Hotel Nacional (Calle O at corner 21, Vedado, 00 537 873 3564, www.

grancaribe.com. Doubles from $200 B&B), the grandaddy of Havana hotels.

17.00 The Plaza de la Revolucion is the political epicentre of the city, with an iconic monument to Che Guevara. You can take a lift to the top of the Jose Marti Museum on the Plaza, the highest point in the city, for panoramic views.

18.00 To Bodeguita del Medio (Calle Empedrado 207, Havana Viejo, 00 537 867 1374), for an early-evening mojito.

20.30 Dine at Los Amigos (Calle M, between Calle 19 and 21, Vedado; around $15 for two), one of the most popular paladares (private restaurants) in Havana. The musicians from Buena Vista Social Club eat here and the fried plantain is delicious.

FRIDAY

09.00 Take advantage of the jetlag to explore, before the heat and crowds become oppressive. Hop in a taxi to the old town, Havana Vieja ($4).

09.30 Breakfast in Hanoi (Calle Brasil 507) for cheap and cheerful fare including fruit, eggs and coffee ($5).

10.00 Stroll around the cobbled streets of Havana Vieja and soak up the atmosphere. Don't miss: Farmacia La Reunion (Calle Brasil at Calle Compostela), a stunning antique chemist's shop; Plaza de la Catedral, where live bands play in the shadow of the Baroque cathedral.

11.00 Restoration is nearly complete in the stunning 18thcentury Plaza Vieja, with its new chic cafes and restaurants. Try the freshly brewed beer in Taverna de la Muralla, on the corner of San Ignacio.

11.30 Browse the book market in Plaza de Armas, where the city's more colourful characters vie to read your palm or serenade you.

12.00 The Feria del Tacon (Ave Tacon) is the biggest and best market for souvenirs, including rum, art and crafts. Buy cigars from a state-run shop.

Fidel Castro smokes Cohibas: Casa del Habano (Calle 7 and Calle 26, Miramar, 00 537 204 2353).

13.00 Lunch at Casa Julia (Calle O'Reilly 506A, 00 537 862 7438; around $25 for two) which serves traditional Cuban food - rice and beans, meat and fried plantain - and boasts fantastic kitsch decor.

15.00 Ride the creaky ferry to Casablanca, departing from the Customs House (Ave Carlos Manuel de Cespedes). Climb the steps to the white marble statue of Jesus and stop at the cafe to admire the stunning view of dusk over the Havana skyline with a long drink. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.