We all know about the cigar factory and Hemingway tour but did you know Cuba has so much more to offer and is fast coming to be on a par with the rest of the world’s capitals. Here are just five of the most popular experiences, from out of the way paladares to unique ways to explore and see the city.
Rumba Party at Restaurant Grados
A return to old school paladares where the owner is the chef and the house including the kitchen is yours to roam. Raulito chats as he cooks while you enjoy a drink. Expect long lost childhood recipes from pre-revolution Cuba such as the delicious lamb slow-cooked in pru (an eastern Cuba herbal drink) or a countryside classic called farm eggs on a bed of maize.
Enjoy the performance of one of Havana’s best folkloric musicians and dancers. Professional dancers will teach you the beautiful art of Rumba, and will explain its history and characteristics, accompanied by live drummers. Rumba, a word that also meant “party”, is a music style developed by Afro-Cuban workers in the poor neighborhoods of Havana and Matanzas.
Exchange at Finca Tungasuk
Spending a day in this farm is an invitation to step outside of the tourist bubble and into the world of an organic family farm in the countryside of this beautiful island. You may choose start your day very early and arrive at 7am to work as a volunteer and be a part of the team; or simply visit and enjoy the beautiful setting and the delicious homegrown and homemade juices and food while learning of the everyday life of the lovely couple who started this farm-to-table project. There’s even an option for a short trek to an ice-cold waterfall, for a pre-lunch swim.
International Gallery Continua which represents artists such as Aieiwei and Anish Kapoor has opened this contemporary space in Chinatown and us at CPT can arrange visits as well as private studio visits to their impressive list of the best contemporary Cuban artists, spread around the city in studios in old Havana and Vedado. Galeria Continua representst, Reynier Leyva Novo, Alejandro Campins, Carlos Garaicoa, Susana Pilar, and others.
Ride Havana in a Ural motorcycle with sidecar
Nostalgic for the old days? Ural motorcycles came to Cuba in 1973, initially supplied by the Soviet Union for military use, but available to the public starting in 1975. This is the perfect opportunity to see Havana like the locals do for an hour, take amazing photos, and meet and converse with retired engineers, veterinarians, etc.
Take an e-bike tour of the city
This is a wonderful way to see a lot of Havana in a short time. The lithium batteries give you an extra power but you are still using your own energy at a predetermined level. They are great for hills and in warm weather. Go for a day or half a day at the beach, a panoramic tour of the city,
or a ride along the Havana harbor, visiting non-touristy sites and streets.
Johnny Considine is CEO of Cuba Private Travel. Cuba Private Travel is a private travel company that creates extraordinary bespoke experiences on the Caribbean island of Cuba.
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