An extreme impulse decision led me and a couple buddies wandering the streets of Havana for the weekend of my 29th birthday. Having no clue what we were getting ourselves into we decided to explore first and ask questions later.
Any Americans curious about traveling to Cuba know that you have to exchange your dollars into any other national currency and then convert them into the Cuban Peso. American currency is not accepted for conversion on the island, so make a budget before you go! There are no ATMs for Americans. You also have to buy internet cards for wife use with cash and the lines can be very long so plan ahead if you plan of using data.
The first night we were lucky enough to see the Buena Vista Social Club at the Rosalia De Castro cultural society. It was an incredible honor to experience this historic band live. After some amazing food and even better cocktails it was time for some dancing and a lot of it. My face in the photo says it all.
The second day we set out into the heart of the city to explore everything the local art, music and food scene had to offer. Every cafe had live music and were packed with people drinking coffee and cocktails. Local galleries and street vendors had every type of art you could possibly ask for. The city was filled with a type of electricity I had never felt before. By the end of the afternoon I finally found the hole in the wall vinyl shop that we had been searching for all day.
That evening was the night of my birthday and it was time to let loose. After asking everyone we could about the best place to dance and enjoy the night light it was a unanimous answer, Fabrica de Arte Cubano. The Cuban Art Factory was by far the most energetic unique place Ive ever been. It was a multi leveled art galley packed with exhibitions and countless bars. Nothing I say could possibly do it justice, if youre there...go.
It was so sad this was such a quick trip. However, the best feeling in the world is leaving future thrills on the table and getting to go back and see more. If I had to takeaway anything from this trip was the extreme kindness of the Cuban people. From a random stranger on the street to our Air BNB hosts everyone was just so amazing.