Cuba, Havana has a not so very mysterious history. But the story intrigues us all very much. Nine out of ten people I talk to, Cuba is on their bucket list of places to visit in their lifetime. And we are some of the privileged American’s who was able to visit Cuba in 2018.
For me, this trip was very personal because it was brought to my attention that we, my family had some roots in Cuba. My grandfather from my mother’s side. Many Haitians would go to Cuba for vacation, work, and shopping in that era because of its beauty– and abundance of natural resources.
So for me visiting this location was absolutely a must in my lifetime. So the moment I had the opportunity to visit the country and learn more about the people first hand–it was a no-brainer. JetBlue Airlines was my carrier, and they made it simple for me to acquire a Visa once I answered the appropriate questions.
Finding a place to stay was going to be the most challenging part. But thanks to a friend who is a filmmaker and has made several trips back and forth to the country, I was able to find two wonderful places to stay and be able to authentically give a review of where to stay when in Cuba. Both locations were wonderful and priced right for the region. But each will attract a different audience.
I wanted to start first with Casa Adela. This quaint, mini-mansion as I want to describe it was an absolute stunner for me. The beauty of this Maison, built in 1930 with its lush garden, and neoclassic style decor was definitely my sense of style.
I can honestly say for anyone that is considering tying the knot in some place exotic– I can definitely see this beautiful 5 bedroom boutique oasis being suitable for your elopement– or small wedding that can host comfortably at least 40 people throughout the house for your ceremony and festivities.
The bride and groom and their immediate family can stay on property, while the others have local beautiful homes, and guest houses to stay in the surrounding areas.
Of course, there are lush hotels that are suitable for those guests traveling from other than the USA or don’t hold an American passport. You have some of the most amazing options. But for now, us Americans will have to follow the rules of engagement when visiting Cuba.
The rooms are beautifully designed and bathroom well stocked with some of the most wonderful products you will need to take care of your personal needs.
The customer service is first class from the moment you walk up to the secured gates. The on property meals are exquisite and well presented, plated on beautiful china. Every morning I might add you wake up to freshly made breakfast that will make you feel like you are staying at a 5-star hotel.
The grounds are absolutely delightful and well taken care of by the caretakers. You are free to enjoy a good book reading, exercise, do yoga, and simply a wonderful glass of wine as you leisure sit on the property.
Your host Reinaldo is youthful, gracious and very accommodating. This creative soul has put so much love into this property along with him and his family and the small staff that go above and beyond to make sure that this is a wonderful experience for all his guests.
The property is in one of the most famous or formerly infamous areas of Cuba-Vedado. Vedado is a large, mostly residential neighborhood a few miles west of Old Havana. … Vedado landmark hotels like the Hotel Nacional, the Capri, and the Riviera are towering odes to the 1950’s, a period in Cuba’s history notoriously steeped in opulence, gambling, and corruption.
Some of the homes in the area are well cared for like his home, but across the street, you can see what was once magnificent home now in desperate need of care to restore it back to life.
But it takes nothing away from the beauty of the country– but only seems to add character to the place. The mornings you can see the people either going to work or hurrying somewhere, while others are sweeping the front of their property and sitting and enjoying a cup of coffee. And at night we saw the young people playing cards and dominoes. All enjoying the peaceful moments of their neighborhood.
The house is also walking distance from Park Lennon (John Lennon Park)— that attracts hundreds of people–tourist taking photos all day.
If you walk a bit around the neighborhood like I did you will have an opportunity to explore the wonderful things the area has that are historical to the island. It is walking distance from the waterfront boulevard called the Malecon.
Things To Do While In Cuba
The music, culture is enticing. It will move your soul. There are many places you can go for music, dancing, and entertainment. The cost is reasonable.
What I will say is as someone that has traveled so many places– we should not go to a place like Cuba and be comfortable with they myth things “should” be cheap because of the countries condition. Be respectful of the culture, talent and the service you are given and pay them respectfully– everything doesn’t have to be a haggle. Be reasonable– they are artists trying to make a living. Respect the art.
The beautiful of the city is divine, but the beauty of the countryside is breathtakingly beautiful for those that want a simpler life of pure enjoyment and easy.
Don’t go there comparing– it is what it is for now. And there is so much beauty and warmth that can be found there for those who seek tranquility and want to enjoy culture and the amazing Cuban people.
The people are warm and inviting. The culture is rich with history–music and the arts. And the cuisine is magnificent and affordable.
The museums are fantastic and educational. But I strongly suggest you get a translator and/or brush up on your Spanish to get the full impact and appreciation of the island.
There is no way you can visit Cuba without visiting the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolucion). Both of these locations are worth visiting to gain some level of understanding of what transpired there in Cuba and some historical narrative from the Cuban perspective.
Money, Currency Exchange:
What you must be prepared for if you are traveling as an American is your credit cards will not work in Cuba. The American dollar is weak in Cuba. So what worked for me and my travel was changing my dollars into Euro’s and once I arrived in Cuba I then exchanged it to Cuban Convertible Peso which is the currency used in the tourism industry. The exchange rate for the CUC is to the US Dollar, 1:1. Most restaurants, bars, museums, taxis, stores (including local department stores), souvenir markets, lodging, and tourist transportation only take the CUC. 90% of travelers only exchange for CUC, and even if you plan on going to local food stands, everyone will accept CUC. You can go to the local bank and exchanged money but there is a wait and security is tight. But it is best to be financially prepared and have more then you need than not have enough and think you can use your credit cards as an American and you CAN NOT.
But for all you non-American’s it is a breeze.
Visit Cuba with an open heart, and mind– and you will come back filled with good food and appreciation for life and the basic thing that brought you and your beloved together –LOVE.
For more information on visiting the island and Casa Adela tell them World Bride Magazine sent you:
Calle 17 n ° 956
between 8 and 10 Vedado
La Habana, Cuba
Over the past several years, Myrdith Leon-McCormack has evolved from one of the nation’s most successful Celebrity Manicurist, represented by Factory Downtown, to one of the most sought after branding experts with her firm MLM Represents as well as a Huffington Post blogger.
Leon-McCormack, founder of MLM Represents, oversees all practice areas and is involved in providing strategic direction to select clients. Her particular area of expertise is advising clients on how to best leverage their brand as an asset to serve as a powerful leadership tool and drive their business performance.
Leon-McCormack’s innovative strategies to connect consumers more effectively by associating them with the world’s most influential celebrities, musicians, arts, film and personalities has been part of her incredible success to collaborating with some of the industry’s most influential people in the world of the arts, music, and film. MLM Represents client list includes: Isaiah Washington, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lois Samuels–the Vessel, and Justin Davis. Her new business has afforded her the opportunity to travel the world to wonderful destinations such as Egypt, Qatar, Dubai, London, France, Ireland, to name a few.
Leon-McCormack’s creative vision and strong knowledge of the entertainment and arts has created yet another venture with the weekly radio show, “Keep It Moving” with Marsha Jews on WEAA 88.9 FM, a national public radio station, as Executive Entertainment Producer.
As the Editorial Director of World Bride Magazine (WBM), she drives the magazine into the 21st century, where visions of people of color are seen in a more positive and progressive direction.