There was no way that I was going to miss out on an opportunity to go to Cuba while I was staying in Mexico City. Not only was it substantially cheaper and easier than going from the states, I had also been taking Cuban Salsa classes 4 days a week for 3 months. More than the old cars, more than the people, more than taking pictures, I wanted to dance in Cuba. I had dreams of dancing the night away with incredibly fine Cuban men (yes the people in Cuba are as attractive as you’ve heard) Unfortunately, the dancing part of the trip didn’t go as planned (more on that later) but I loved my trip in Cuba and can’t wait till I get to go back.
The flight from Mexico to Cuba was a quick and painless. Two quick hours on the plane, and a frantic moment at customs when a man asked me for an insurance card I didn’t realize I was suppose to have, and I was IN CUBA!
Some of the blog posts I read suggested going up to the second floor to change money and talking to the information desk, and I really appreciated the information. I weaved my way through the hordes of people, walked up the stairs, and found a relatively calm second floor. I exchanged 2000 pesos (100 USD)( definitely not enough I should have exchanged 4000 pesos) and after speaking with the information lady, got in a cab.
My two cabbies (I think the driver was training the second man) were incredibly friendly. They pointed out different important landmarks, gave me suggestions, and even explained the huge line of cars we passed on the freeway (there is an extreme shortage of petroleum and apparently people will wait in lines over 7 hours to fill up their tank). Overall I paid 30 CUC– which was on par with everything I read online. However, a friend in the hostel said he only paid 15 CUC after much bartering.
My ride took about 15 minutes and then on to the task of finding my hostel. My taxi driver had a little bit of trouble finding the hostel and I ended up having to walk half a block to my hostel as he had accidentally driven past the door. I stayed a Hostel Caribe Havana for about 11 CUC a night and really enjoyed it. The first time, however, it’s slightly hard to find as there are any signs. Hostel Caribe is kitty corner to a park three doors from San Rafael with a white door. The doorbell is on the right hand side slightly above. You’ll know you have the right door if you see a sticker saying “Hostel Caribe” right on the top right of the door.