I just got back from Cuba, a trip I took without François but with my best friend. So much fun to have a girls trip, although I missed my hubs! I'm not the all inclusive, resort, type so when we found a great last minute deal for a flight and apartment in Varadero we jumped on it. Varadero beaches are incredible but even if you're not staying on a resort, it's a resort town. There isn't much exploring to do, other than eating at a few restaurants and checking out the market and marina. It was missing an authenticity to it. Still, we met some awesome Cuban people and chilled on some gorgeous beaches. Go to the Varadero public beach, it's amazing. One of the highlights of the trip was our day in Havana, about 2 hours away. We hired a tour guide and a taxi driver for about 150 CUC. Totally worth it. They taught us so much, not only about Havana, but about Cuban history, communism, the revolution and more. One face you see often in Cuba is Che Guevara, one of the revolutionary leaders.
My favorite thing about the city was the incredible architecture. Even the decrepit buildings were beautiful. The old cars are fun too.
What I love most about Havana is the fact that despite it being touristy Cuban life is all around you. Like these elementary school kids playing at recess in an Old Havana square.
There's a very bohemian vibe to the city. Art and terraces are everywhere. The type of place you want to sit, writing and drinking coffee all day. And then at night, sit some more with a mojito watching a dance show.
There aren't any beaches in Havana but people head to the water front to cool off by the ocean. When the sun sets they dance and play music. Aw the Cuban life!
A day in Havana was enough to know that my next trip to Cuba will involve at least a few days here. Then I'd like to backpack to less touristy towns and stay in Casa particulares (homestays). They're everywhere in Havana and look at how beautiful some of them are. They're also apparently very affordable.