Havana Do’s

  • DO appreciate that Havana operates on “Cuba time”, a kick back, laissez-faire attitude which means it can take 10 minutes before a waiter shows up to your table let alone takes your order.
  • DO stroll along the Malécon, the city’s ocean front esplanade where Havana Bay and the Gulf of Mexico meet.
  • DO try the Coco Glasé.
  • DO check out Plaza de Armes—Havana’s oldest square—for a market filled with thousands of second-hand books, revolutionary knick-knacks (pins, hats, paraphernalia) as well as old watches and posters.
  • DO try the finger-length bananas you’ll find at small markets around the city.
  • DO bring candy, pens, aspirin packets, travel toothpaste or other small everyday items that you can give to people when you’re out and about.
  • DO wander down the Paseo de Marti that runs in front of the capital building.
  • DO keep your small change with you.
  • DO give yourself plenty of time at the airport when leaving the country

Havana Don’ts

  • DON’T worry about exploring Old Havana on your own, it’s very safe, even at night.
  • DON’T get frustrated when things change unexpectedly, don’t go as planned or doesn’t live up to U.S. standards.
  • DON’T drink the water.
  • DON’T sleep in every day.
  • DON’T bring your credit cards, they aren’t accepted and the few ATMs that exist aren’t connected to banks in the U.S. For Americans it’s all about cash.
  • DON’T forget to try new things if you enjoy photography, Cuba’s brilliant colors and vibrant personalities are perfect muses for experimentation.
  • DON’T forget to negotiate your fare up front if you plan to take a bici-cab (a Cuban pedi-cab), coco cab (a tiny round vehicle that looks like a wheeled Pac-Man) or a traditional taxi.
  • DON’T be surprised if you spend most of your trip off the grid.
  • DON’T forget to look down, the old streets can be treacherous.
  • DON’T get caught in what I like to call “The Bubble”.