Havana, Cuba

Just 90 miles from Key West, Cuba remains undiscovered country to many Americans, because of an embargo dating back 1963. This past year, President Barack Obama lifted limitations on Cuban Americans’ visits. But average folks still a legitimate excuse, whether it’s professional, educational, or humanitarian. Still, a large number of Americans go each year with no license, traveling via Mexico or Canada. Technically, they risk six-figure fines. We visited captured, and here’s what we should found.

DO

Wander Calle Obispo, a well known walkway in Old Havana, and order a mojito at coffee shop La Dichosa. It’s a block in the capitol and fewer touristy than Hemingway’s Bodeguita del Medio, in which the daiquiri was invented. Hail a pre-embargo ’57 Chevrolet convertible taxi for any 30-minute ride to Playa Santa Maria, where beach chairs and cold drinks cost you a couple of pesos. For any small sum, the cabbie will wait and escort you to Havana prior to a midafternoon Industriales (Cuba’s Yankees) game. Go to the Museo en Revolución, where Fidel’s form of history is displayed within an old presidential palace, then visit the Partagas cigar factory-the earliest in Cuba. Purchase a Cohiba and smoke it along El Malecón, a large walkway where Havanans of every age group gaze toward Miami.

STAY

The 80-year-old Hotel Nacional overlooks Havana Bay and El Malecón and has a breezy 19th-century veranda for smoking the hotel’s choice of Churchill and Lusitanias cigars-as Buster Keaton, Errol Flynn, and Lucky Luciano did prior to the revolution. Your accommodation is lush but additionally somewhat insulated from everyday Cuban existence. Nearer to the center of town may be the Spanish Colonial Hotel Sevilla across the vibrant Paseo del Prado promenade. It’s less expensive than Hotel Nacional while offering a sensational rooftop bar, where Graham Greene drank rum and penned Our Man in Havana. Possess a couple of sniffs from the Havana Club 15 Year, then, if you are too soused just to walk, grab a pedicab for any slow ride round the crumbling colonial splendor of Old Havana during the night.

EAT

Most of the ingredients Miamians use to prepare great Cuban food simply aren’t available, and far from the sea food catch it is not come to touristy restaurants remains to rot around the docks. But you will find exceptions. Cajitas (meaning “little box”)-offered around the sly from homes-are filled with grain, black beans, salad, plantains, along with a sliver of pork and price in regards to a dollar. Restaurants in Havana really are a gamble, but piano bar La Roca serves moderately priced sea food and chicken ($50 for 3 entrees along with a wine bottle), and nearby La Torre offers overpriced but scrumptious American entrees around the 33rd floor of the hotel. Dessert? Mind to Calle Obispo for twenty five-cent strawberry frozen treats offered via a window by a classic Cuban lady in a little shop known as La Copelia.

Photograph thanks to istockphoto.com