We all know about the cigar factory and the Hemingway tour, but did you know Cuba has so much more to offer and is fast becoming competition for 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.
Exchange at Finca Tungasuk
Spending a day in this farm is an invitation to step outside the tourist bubble and into the world of an organic family farm in the countryside of this beautiful island. You may choose to start your day very early and arrive at 7 am to work as a volunteer and be a part of the team; or simply visit and enjoy the beautiful setting and the delicious home-grown and homemade juices and food while learning about the everyday life of the lovely couple who started this farm-to-table project. You can even take the short trek to an ice-cold waterfall, for a pre-lunch swim.
International Galleria Continua, which represents artists such as Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor, has opened this contemporary space in Havana’s Chinatown. Take a private studio visit to its impressive list of the best contemporary Cuban artists, spread around the city in studios in old Havana and Vedado. Galleria Continua represents Reynier Leyva Novo, Alejandro Campins, Carlos Garaicoa, Susana Pilar and others.
Ride Havana in an 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 became available to the public in 1975. This is the perfect opportunity to see Havana like the locals do for an hour and to take some amazing photos.
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 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, take yourself on a panoramic tour of the city, or a ride along the Havana harbour, visiting non-touristy sites and streets.