Travel to Havana, Cuba – Episode 806

categories: caribbean travel

Travel to Havana, Cuba (Podcast)

Hear about travel to Havana Cuba as the Amateur Traveler talks to Talek Nates, a Cuban-American, about the capital of the country of her ancestors.

Talek says, “I traveled to Cuba back and forth. I had family there up until recently. I love it. It’s beautiful. I love the music, the people, the nature. Havana is fascinating for many reasons. It is a colonial city. It was founded in 1519 by the Spaniards who came over, looking for gold. It was the jewel in the crown of the Spanish empire.”

“Havana and Cuba itself have been forbidden fruit since the embargo in 1962. And it was impossible for many, many years for Americans to travel there. During the Obama era, it became a little bit easier. During the Trump era, it became more restricted. Now, most recently, just a couple of days ago, it became less restrictive. Most Americans do not know that they can go to Cuba.”

This country that is so close to the USA has no McDonald’s and no Burger King. It still has its colonial fortifications, its old town, beaches, and the old cars that it is so well-known for.

Talek starts us in Old Havana visiting a series of the plazas. These include the plaza outside the cathedral, as well as the Plaza de San Francisco de Asís where locals will celebrate important events. She also suggests we visit some of the old hotels that were popular with Americans in the 1950s. Americans can’t stay there as their travel is more restricted, but citizens of other countries may take advantage of these hotels. 

Cuba is known for its nightlife which includes jazz clubs, open-air nightclubs, floor shows, and more eclectic venues like the Cuban Art Factory which is a converted cooking oil factory turned into an artistic venue. 

Havana has a number of well-known museums like the Museum of the Revolution and the Museum of Fine Arts but also smaller museums like the rum, chocolate, and tobacco museums. It also has a museum with one of the best collections of  Napoleonic artifacts.

We talk about what Americans in particular can and cannot do in Cuba. Talek also gives us some recommendations of things to do in Havana that she does not think are worth your time. 

Hiring an old 1950s automobile and visiting some of the beautiful beaches are on Talek’s list of things to do. 

Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage site “Old Havana and its Fortification System”. Talek also suggests a day trip to Viñales Valley to see one of the other 8 UNESCO sites in Cuba. This is a beautiful valley that is the center of tobacco cultivation and sits surrounded by karst rock formations known as “mogotes”.

Havana is an amazing city that should be visited before it looks like the rest of the world. 

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Show Notes
José Martí
Havana Cathedral
Plaza de Armas
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
Plaza Vieja, Havana
Plaza de San Francisco de Asís
Old Havana
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
La Zorra y el Cuervo
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana
Napoleon Museum (Havana)
Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolucion), Havana
Finca La Vigía – Ernest Hemingway’s Home in Cuba
El Capitolio, Havana
Tobacco Museum, Havana
Museo del Chocolate
Museum of Decorative Arts, Havana
Museum of Santeria
Cuban Art Factory
Dona Eutimia
Cafe Laurent
El Cocinero
Hamel Alley: A Place with its Own Identity in Havana
Bodeguita del medio
Playas de Este (Havana) – All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go
Viñales Valley
Havana Sugar Kings
10 Dos and Don’ts for your Cuba Trip


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

2 Responses to “Travel to Havana, Cuba – Episode 806”



I really want to visit Cuba



I recently discovered your podcast and instantly subscribed. In this episode in particular, the experience of visiting Havana can never be described by someone who does not live in Cuba. In the post on your blog by Barry Kramer “Cruising to Havana, Cuba”, he motivates visiting the island through a cruise, it will never be the same experience as staying in an Airbnb, living with Cubans, and experiencing Cuban culture… I will continue listening to the episodes, thanks for all this content

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