Hotel Review: Four Seasons Maui, Hawaii

Hotel Review: Four Seasons Maui, Hawaii

We have reviewed the best Four Seasons hotels in Hawaii, which includes the stunning Four Seasons Maui in the most exclusive resort on Maui, Wailea. Four Seasons Maui is the most remote Four Seasons hotel on the Hawaiian Islands. I reviewed the best way to get discounts, deals and special offers at Four Seasons Maui, … Continue reading Hotel Review: Four Seasons Maui, Hawaii

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Hiking Kerlingarfjöll Geothermal Area (Icelandic Highlands)

Kerlingarfjöll Iceland

Hiking Guide to Kerlingarfjöll in Iceland

Kerlingarfjöll, Iceland

Deep within Iceland’s central highlands, Kerlingarfjöll is a group of small geothermically active and rust-colored mountains capped with snow. Here’s how to organize your own self-drive adventure.

Kerlingarfjöll is a lesser-known day-hiking experience not too far away from Iceland’s famous Golden Circle route. It was one of my favorite stops in Iceland!

If you want to get off the beaten path a bit and extend your Golden Circle trip with something more adventurous, this strange geothermal area is the perfect place to stop for a half-day hiking trip (and maybe spend the night).

Surrounded by rocky green peaks and Iceland’s Tuya volcano system, Kerlingarfjoll itself stands out with red & orange hues. Hiking these colorful rhyolite hills will expose you to hot springs, geysers, steam vents, and boiling mud pots.

In this travel guide you’ll learn tips for visiting this unique and photogenic spot.

Kerlingarfjoll Map

How To Use This Map

Click on the top left of the map to find separate layers marking the route, points of interest, and other goodies. To hide and show different layers just click on the checkbox next to layer’s name. You can also click icons on the map to see the names of places I mention in this travel guide. “Star” the map to save it to your own Google Maps.

Exploring Iceland's Kerlingarfjoll Geothermal Area

Exploring Kerlingarfjöll Geothermal Area

Hiking the Strange Volcanic Formations

Hiking the Strange Volcanic Formations

Exploring Hveradalir Geothermal Area

Some of the summits in Kerlingarfjoll are covered in snow year-round, like Fannborg and Snækollur. In fact, at one time there was a ski-lift, but as global temperatures warmed they removed it due to lack of snow.

I spent about 4 hours hiking around and photographing the Hveradalir geothermal area of Kerlingarfjoll after camping out in their campground the night before.

Walking through thick steam clouds pouring from fumaroles, and hiking up its muddy orange slopes, I felt like an astronaut exploring another planet!

More visitors showed up later in the day, but I initially had it all to myself.

Travel Photography from Iceland

Travel Photography from Iceland

Kerlingarfjöll Hiking Trails

Kerlingarfjoll is crisscrossed with different marked and unmarked hiking trails. You can spend a few hours, or a few days trekking through this wild Icelandic landscape.

Hringbrautin Ring Route – This is a full 3-day trek that takes you to every nook & cranny of Kerlingarfjoll. With two mountain huts along the way, there’s no need to pack a tent.

Austurfjoll Peaks – A tough 5-6 hour hike over all the highest mountains in Kerlingarfjoll, including the highest called Snaekollur at 1,428m.

Hveradalir Walk – The standard 2-3 hour walk through the geothermal area of Hveradalir. Steam vents and hot springs, with optional hikes up a few mountains.

Walking Into the Geothermal Steam

Walking Into the Geothermal Steam

Kerlingarfoll Iceland Photos

Can You Spot Me?

Boiling Mud Pots

Boiling Mud Pots

Myth Of The Troll Woman

The mountains of Kerlingarfjöll were once considered a refuge for outlaws and trolls. The weather here is notoriously bad — it can be very cloudy and windy.

The whole place is basically a big volcanic caldera, created by eruptions from a time when there were still glaciers of ice above it.

Icelandic legends tell the tale of Kerling, an old hag troll woman who was the daughter of the fire giant Surtur.

One day she didn’t make it home in time before the sunrise and was turned to stone by sunlight. If you look carefully, might spot her 30-meter tall stone pillar…

Driving Iceland's F-Roads

Driving Iceland’s F-Roads

Getting To Kerlingarfjöll

Because it’s located in the highlands, Kerlingarfjoll can only be reached by driving on Iceland’s notorious “F-Roads”. The F-Roads are essentially rough jeep trails that weave through the remote center of the country.

These gravel tracks aren’t really maintained and close down for the winter in late September or early October (after the first snow) until June. So hiking Kerlingarfjoll is a summer adventure.

Some F-Roads are more hardcore than others, requiring you to drive through rivers with no bridges. Luckily F-35 Kjölur, the road to reach Kerlingarfjoll, isn’t too difficult.

A 4X4 vehicle is required for all mountain roads in Iceland though, 2WD rental cars are not insured here because conditions are extreme (snow, ice, mud, sand, rivers, etc.)

For more tips about driving in Iceland, make sure to read this article first.

The 4X4 Road up to Hveradalir

The 4X4 Road up to Hveradalir

Golden Circle Extension

If you’re planning to self-drive Iceland’s famous Golden Circle Route, and you leave early enough in the morning, you can tack on Kerlingarfjöll to extend your trip.

From Gullfoss Waterfall the drive up F-35 to Kerlingarfjöll takes 2-3 hours, depending on how rugged your vehicle is. The road can get very rough in some spots. It’s also possible to get here from the town of Blönduós in the North.

Iceland’s highlands are no joke, and you need to be prepared with food, water, a full tank of gas, and warm clothing should you break down.

If you decide to add Kerlingarfjöll to the typical Golden Circle stops, you’ll need to spend the night there and drive back the next day. There’s no way you could do all of it and get back to Reykjavik the same day.

Kerlingarfjoll Mountain Resort & Camping

Kerlingarfjoll Mountain Resort & Camping

Where To Stay At Kerlingarfjöll

Kerlingarfjoll has a small resort with 20 double rooms and 10 smaller individual cabins and A-frames that you can rent out for the night.

This backcountry lodge has hot showers available (on a timer), bathrooms, a small shop, and a restaurant. There’s also a campground here, which is what I did. It costs 2000 ISK ($16 USD) per person to camp with your own tent.

From the cabins, you can follow a path beside the river leading to a nice little hot spring pool that’s safe to swim in. It takes about 30 minutes to get there on foot.

There’s also a remote backpacker hostel further up F-35 called Gíslaskáli Kjölur.

The Land of Trolls & Elves

The Land of Trolls & Elves

Kerlingarfjoll Travel Tips

  • Icelandic names can be confusing. Kerlingarfjöll is the mountain range, while Hveradalir is the actual geothermal area.
  • To reach the red hills and steam vents of Hveradalir, you can either hike from Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort (1.5 hours), or if you have a 4X4 vehicle, drive up a steep dirt road to save time.
  • Fill your gas tank before entering the highlands. There’s one gas pump at Kerlingarfjöll but it isn’t always working.
  • There are a few public buses that stop out here, the 610 and 610a, but you’d need to spend the night and take another bus back the next day.
  • The hiking trails can be very muddy, or even covered in snow depending on the time of year. Proper hiking boots are recommended.
  • The area is very sensitive to foot-traffic, so please stay on marked trails to avoid destroying the delicate landscape.

While many people travel Iceland’s famous Golden Circle, far less venture up into the rugged highlands. But as you can see, there’s a good reason why its worth the effort involved! ★

USEFUL TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR ICELAND
Iceland Map – Plan your trip around Kerlingarfjoll with this handy map
Book A Flight: Learn how I find cheap airline flights for travel
Rent A Car: RentalCars.com is a great site for comparing car prices
Find A Hotel: Check out my secret tips for booking cheap hotels
Protect Your Stuff: WorldNomads.com can insure your trip & gear
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Iceland
Suggested Reading: The Little Book Of Hidden People

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Tips for Hiking Kerlingarfjoll in Iceland's Highlands.

Have any questions about hiking Kerlingarfjöll in Iceland? What about other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below!

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.

Best Of Havana: What To Do In Cuba’s Capital City

Best Things to do in Havana, Cuba

Best Things to do in Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba

The vibrant capital city of Havana, Cuba has long been inaccessible to most American travelers, but thankfully things are changing. Here are my favorite things to do in the City of Columns!

In recent years, Cuba has seen some major changes as the United States finally eased restrictions on travel. More and more American’s are now visiting Cuba than ever before, and tourism has been on the rise — for good reason!

Only an hour away from Miami by plane, Havana is a fascinating blend of old and new, vintage cars and colorful, (often crumbling) infrastructure; its energy pulses with a mix of Spanish colonial architecture, booming nightlife and kitschy art galleries.

For a small city, Havana seems to have an endless list of things to do catering to every kind of traveler. Maybe you’re a cigar aficionado or simply looking for some R&R, Havana has something to offer everyone.

Best Things To Do In Havana

After spending some time in the capital city during my road trip around Cuba, I wanted to put together a comprehensive travel guide to Havana that would help you plan your own journey.

This is part of what makes Havana unique and what captivated me in particular — the sense that there is always something more to uncover around every corner.

Sure, the US trade embargo and the Cuban government itself hasn’t been particularly kind to the Cuban people, yet they still seem to make the most of the situation, and welcome tourists with open arms.

Whether it’s a sultry salsa performance or hidden dive-bar tucked away behind the narrow streets of a pastel-colored neighborhood — you’ll never get bored of finding things to do!

Visit El Morro Castle

Visiting El Morro Castle in Havana

Cuba’s Pirate Protection

El Morro Castle, otherwise known as “Castillo del Morro”, is a great starting point once you arrive in Havana. It’s situated on top of a rocky promontory at the entrance of Havana’s bay—it can’t be missed! It’s a massive fort with an equally impressive history.

The castle was built starting in 1590 to protect Havana against military attacks, and also served as a watch post to keep an eye out for enemies (like pirates!). It is composed of 3 bastions linked by curtain walls, casemented barracks and also houses cisterns, a chapel, officer’s quarters, a wine cellar, stables, and dungeons.

Today, Morro Castle is used as a museum and can be visited for a small fee. Its fantastic views make it a great first stop, a short taxi ride from the city center.

Explore Old Havana On Foot

Explore Old Havana Cuba Neighborhoods

Local Neighborhoods in Havana Vieja

As both the city center and the municipality with the second highest population density in Havana, Havana Vieja is quite possibly the most beautiful area of the city and a must-see if you’re visiting. Many buildings have fallen into ruin, but many starting to get restored.

The area is a colorful labyrinth of narrow streets, lively local neighborhoods, courtyards, forts, monuments, and churches that make up the pulsating heart of Havana. While you should definitely enjoy yourself strolling around the old city, just beware of jineteros, local hustlers trying to make a buck off you.

Tropicana Nightclub Show

Tropicana Show in Havana, Cuba

Havana’s Most Famous Nightlife

Known as one of the hottest cabaret shows in the world, the Tropicana Nightclub Show is a world-famous spectacle set in a lush, tropical open-air venue that bursts with colorful lights, glitter, and glam. Salsa-charged and sensual, it’s a must-do activity during any trip to Havana Cuba.

Performers’ gaudy, feathered costumes are spectacles in and of themselves, but it’s the show as a whole that leaves you floored. Tickets are a bit pricey -— roughly $85 USD per person -— but include a welcome drink and cigar. We had a great night there!

Tour Havana By Classic Car

Things To Do In Havana: Rent a Classic Car

Tour Havana by Classic Car

When you think of things to do in Havana, chances are rolling down the street in a colorful, vintage convertible with the top down is a top contender. There are plenty of options for vintage car tours in Havana, and most operate like a regular taxi.

For pre-planned tours, there is usually a flat-fee (about 40 – 50 CUC per hour) that the driver communicates up front. But if you’re feeling spontaneous, you can easily hail a vintage car to go anywhere in the city. Make sure to stop in some photogenic locations to get those Instagram photos!

Stroll Along “El Malecon” Boardwalk

Things To Do: Walk Havana's El Malecon

Stroll Along the Seaside on El Malecon

If you want an intimate glimpse at life in Havana, walk El Malecon. Translated as “the pier”, El Malecon is a restored seafront walkway situated along the city’s north coastline and provides lovely views of Havana’s iconic architecture.

It’s also the unofficial symbol of the city, and often can be seen on postcards and in films. El Malecon is a destination in and of itself, so food and music is abundant all along the pier.

And if you visit during late July or early August, El Malecon comes alive with one of the biggest festivals in Cuba —- the Havana Carnival.

Enjoy Cuban Cigars At Hotel Nacional

Best Activities in Havana

Cigars & Rum at Havana’s Famous Hotel Nacional

Cuba has elevated cigar smoking to an art form. For that reason, you can pretty much find a good cigar anywhere in Havana—but if you’re looking for the best spot to light up and take in the classy, glamorous, atmosphere that this city evokes, look no further than Hotel Nacional.

Hotel Nacional is not only the most famous hotel in Havana -— it’s also home to one of the city’s best cigar shops called La Casa del Habano. Or you can enjoy your cigar in the hotel’s backyard and bar, relaxing amidst ocean views, palm trees, and even peacocks strolling by!

Visit Hemingway’s Watering Holes

Hemingway's Favorite Bar in Havana

Have a Drink at El Floridita Bar

Ernest Hemingway lived outside Havana for twenty years, and naturally got much of the inspiration for his novels from the city—more specifically, from its bars. El Floridita, Dos Hermanos and La Bodeguita del Medio were Hemingway’s favorite bars when he lived there, and today they can be visited just like any other bar.

Watch out though, as a few of them have turned into tourist traps. La Bodeguita was my favorite Hemingway-approved watering hole and still retains much of the subdued, authentic atmosphere you’d expect Hemingway probably loved. They have live salsa music, and also make a mean mojito, which never hurts.

Try A Cuban Pizza!

Where to Eat in Havana, Cuba

Typical Cuban Pizza in Havana

Sure, everyone knows they should eat a Cuban sandwich while in Cuba. But did you know these famous sandwiches were actually created in Florida? Instead, why not order a classic Cuban pizza while visiting Havana!

What makes Cuban pizza special is the “sofrito” — essentially a holy mix of onion, garlic, and bell pepper sautéed in olive oil with tomato and spices. In Havana, crappy pizza is everywhere, and the good stuff is a bit trickier to find.

For starters, I recommend heading to 5 Esquinas Trattoria on Cuarteles Avenue. Their pizza is baked in a wood oven, and the spot is a prime location for people-watching. Another tasty spot is Bella Ciao, which has a reputation for the freshest pizza (and pasta!) in Havana.

Hit The Beaches Nearby

Beaches Outside Havana Cuba

Packed Weekend at Playa Santa Maria

Cuba’s proximity to the equator means that it’s always beach season in Havana. The island’s entire coastline is pretty much a white sand, turquoise-watered dream, so it’s hard to go wrong with picking a beach.

If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, head to Santa María del Mar, the biggest and most well-known beach in Havana. The downside to this one, though, is the crowds. But if you’re visiting in the autumn or winter you should be ok.

If you’re looking for a quieter beach day that isn’t as popular with tourists, try Playa Boca Ciega. Or even better, Playa Jibacoa (my favorite beach in Cuba).

How About Some Rum In A Box?

Make sure to try Havana's box rum

Horrible Cheap Rum in a Box…

Wander the streets of Havana for a night on the town, and you’ll soon learn all about “rum in a box”. Known as the juice box for big kids, this rotgut rum is sold in individual packs. You’ll see locals partying with their box of Tumbao or Planchao.

It’s cheap as hell, pretty disgusting, and will leave you with a painful headache the next morning if you drink too much of it. But if you want to make some new friends, rip a fresh box open with your teeth and pass it around!

Visit The Capitol Building

Things To Do: Visit the Capital Building

Havana’s Capitol Building

El Capitolio, or Cuba’s Capitol Building, was built in 1929 and based off of the US Capitol in Washington DC. It has been closed to the public for the last 8 years for a big restoration project — but just recently re-opened.

Previously used as the Ministry of Science & Technology, the newly renovated structure is now the seat of Cuba’s national assembly, where they selected a new president last April. Visitors can tour the Capitol in groups of 15 from Tuesday to Sunday each week.

Dance To Some Cuban Music

Nightlife in Havana Cuba

Live Cuban Salsa Music

Salsa is everywhere in Havana—in bars, restaurants, even impromptu dances along sidewalks are a regular occurrence. We hit the bars & clubs a few different times to check out live music, one of my favorites was a bar called Kilometro Zero.

But if you want to take your salsa admiration one step further, sign up for a lesson. Casa del Son is Havana’s biggest and best dance school, offering locals and visitors classes in just about every type of traditional Cuban dance.

Watch Cannons Blast Off!

Havana Cannon Shot at Fort San Carlos

Fort San Carlos Cannon Ceremony

Ever since the 18th-century, a cannon has been fired in Havana every evening at 9pm at the Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabaña (Fort of St Charles). Back then, Havana was divided in two and Cuba’s Spanish rulers would fire the cannon to inform the Habaneros to take shelter against pirate attacks.

Today, the nightly event is still quite a spectacle, equipped with a drum roll and artillery cadets lining the fort dressed in colonial uniforms. The event is free, always on time, and onlookers are encouraged! This is one of the lesser-known things to do in Havana.

Stay Hydrated With Guarapo

Cuban Sugar Cane Juice

Cuban Sugar Cane Juice

What is guarapo, you ask? It’s raw sugar cane juice that’s been extracted from palm-tree sap, and also the most delicious drink you can find in Cuba. The cheapest, too. It’s usually mixed with lime and ice and can be found pretty much in every bar, restaurant, or street side bodega.

You can also try it as an alcoholic beverage (usually mixed with rum). Guarapo is on of the best drinks to try in Havana, and a consistently fantastic spot to get your cane-juice drink on is Arsenal Street, right in front of the train station.

Viñales Tobacco Fields Road Trip

Vinales Tobacco Farm

Visit the Tobacco Farms of Vinales

After a few days in Havana, no one would blame you for wanting to escape the city for a day to find something else to do, and the town of Viñales should fix you right up. It’s a small village tucked away in the middle of green fields, tobacco plantations and rock formations.

About a 2-3 hour drive from Havana, Viñales makes for a great day trip, although I do recommend spending at least one night there to get the full sense of the town.

There are buses leaving daily from Havana to Viñales, or you can rent a classic car like we did. Viñales is known for its tobacco farms and limestone hills. Horseback riding is a popular way to enjoy the lush scenery and country atmosphere.

Visit Cámera Obscura

Plaza Vieja in Old Havana

View from the Gómez Vila Building

You can get a brilliant 360-degree panoramic view of Old Havana from the top floor of the Gómez Vila building in Plaza Vieja, the tallest building in Old Havana. It’s got the only “Camera Oscura” in all of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The camera projects real-time images of the city at 30X magnification through just a peephole onto a dark screen. Havana’s Cámera Obscura costs only 2 CUC to visit, and even the view from the roof is totally worth it.

Trip Out In Fusterlandia

Artwork in Havana Cuba

Fusterlandia Art Installation

Cuba’s rich artistic tradition is alive and well in part thanks to artist Jose Fuster, who has built a mosaic tile wonderland called Fusterlandia in the fishing village of Jaimanitas, just 20 minutes outside of Havana.

Fusterlandia is unique in that it isn’t its own site-specific artwork, but rather crafted into the neighborhood. Residents have actually allowed Fuster to decorate their homes and turn them into colorful, eye-popping gems.

There is a gallery you can visit between 9:30am and 4:00pm, Wednesday to Sunday. If you don’t make it to the gallery, you can always just drive through the neighborhood to get a feel of things.

Eat At A Local Paladar

Where to Eat in Havana Cuba

Where to Eat in Havana

If you only stick to government-run restaurants frequented by tourists, you’ll miss out on Cuba’s true flavor. So make sure to stop into a paladar (locally-run restaurant) for an authentic Cuban food experience.

Good Cuban food is a delicious fusion of African and Spanish food, and very much resembles a lot of the food you can find throughout the Caribbean — rich, dense, and heavy on the spices.

One great paladar I recommend is called San Cristóbal, located in the bottom floor of an early 20th-century mansion. Make sure you try the traditional ropa vieja. Shredded, stewed beef with vegetables!

Explore Havana’s Green Forest

Explore Havana's Forest

Explore Havana’s Forest

El Bosque De La Habana (the Lungs of Havana) is a swamp-like forest home to the Almendares River and is a popular spot for locals to get away from the city center and breathe some fresh air. It’s a recreational area for Habaneros with playgrounds and an amphitheater for concerts.

Many of Havana’s classic car tours pass through the park. The 300-year-old banyan trees are covered in green vines, and it’s a very cool place to visit. You might see locals practicing Santeria in the river, a Caribbean religion where members sacrifice animals.

Plaza De La Revolución

Havana Bucket List: Plaza de la Revolution

Giant Che Guevara Mural at Revolution Square

The largest public square in Cuba, and one of the largest in the world, Plaza de la Revolucion is where Cuba’s most important government offices are located. The Ministerio del Interior boasts a massive mural of Cuba’s revolutionary hero Che Guevara.

The square is a bit out of the way from the heart of the capital, so most tourists get there via one of the classic car taxis that you can rent from Old Havana. Driving by this famous mural was one of my favorite things to do in the city.

Pop By Hemingway’s Old House

Earnest Hemingway's House in Havana

Earnest Hemingway’s House in Havana

Just outside of Havana you’ll find Finca Vigía, the former colonial home of Earnest Hemingway. It’s where he wrote some of his most famous novels like: For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. You can’t go inside the house itself, but you can look through the windows.

There’s a museum there open from 10am to 4pm Monday through Saturday and 9am to 1pm on Sundays. It’s a bit of a haul to get out there from Havana, so only do this if you have some extra time. Visit early in the morning to avoid the bus tour crowds.

Hotel Kempinski Rooftop Pool

This beautiful panoramic pool terrace and bar at Havana’s Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski has awesome views of the Havana Vieja area, including the recently refurbished Capitol Building.

This new infinity rooftop pool (and the luxury hotel) is an example of things to come as Cuba prepares for increased tourism. Unfortunately, Americans aren’t technically allowed to book this hotel, as it’s owned by the Cuban government.

Fabrica De Arte Cubano

The Cuban Art Factory

The Cuban Art Factory

The Cuban Art Factory was founded by famous Afro-Cuban musician X-Alfonso, and is one of Havana’s hippest spots to soak in modern Cuban culture. It’s a mix between a nightclub, gallery, and performance center that promotes local Cuban artists, writers, photographers, and filmmakers.

Open from Thursday to Sunday, this giant factory building is often packed by 11pm, and is the perfect place to start your wild night on the town in Havana. Each room is different — some with live bands, others full of art. You’ll have a wonderful experience no matter what you’re in to.

The Revolution Museum

Havana Revolution Museum

Plane from Cuban Revolution

Formerly the Presidential Palace, Havana’s Revolution Museum depicts the time period before, during, and right after the Cuban Revolution. You can still find bullet holes in the central staircase from a failed assassination attempt of President Fulgencio Batista.

Out back you’ll find some old military vehicles, tanks used during the Bay of Pigs operation, airplanes, and the yacht used to ferry Castro from Mexico to Cuba to start the revolution in the first place.

Climb La Guarida’s Staircase

The Staircase at La Guarida Restaurant

Old-School Romantic Staircase

Probably’s Havana’s most famous Paladar, La Guarida Restaurant sits at the top floor of an old dilapidated-looking building, complete with a beautiful grand staircase. Traveling celebrities often stop in to eat here.

It’s usually difficult to book a table, and the meal prices aren’t cheap either. But you’re really paying for the interesting atmosphere & history. It kinda feels like you’re staring into your own international spy movie from the 50’s! Pretty cool.

Getting To (and Around) Havana

Despite the recent easing of Cuba’s travel laws, some restrictions are still in place for Americans. Technically you can only visit if you fall into one of 12 special categories.

However there are some ways around the rules, and it’s totally possible to visit as a tourist if you follow a few completely legal “loopholes”.

How To Legally Visit Cuba As An American

Airlines that serve Cuba directly from the US now include: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Jet Blue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.

Once you’re on the ground, local taxis are everywhere. There are the classic car versions, which are kinda expensive (negotiate first), or the local shared taxis, which only cost 0.50 CUC per person (but you need to know their set route or speak Spanish).

Best Time To Visit Havana

Havana is sunny year-round, so you really can’t go wrong in terms of choosing a time of year to visit. But be wary of the force of the Cuban sun! For those with light skin, like me, take extra precautions from sunburn.

The autumn can be lovely but visiting might be risky because of hurricane season. A happy medium is to visit sometime in the winter (November-March), as it’s both warm enough to enjoy the beaches but not hot enough to make you wish you were back in your air-conditioned hotel.

During the winter, the crowds have lessened and you can experience a more authentic Havana. Plus, I’ve heard New Year’s Eve in the capital is an unforgettable spectacle!

Where To Stay In Havana

The most authentic places to stay in Havana are called Casa Particulares, which are guest rooms in Cuban family homes that you can find by simply asking around.

Typically, these rooms run from 10 to 30 CUC per night, but be sure to add a bit to that cost if you want homemade breakfast included.

If you need a proper hotel in Havana, Hotel Saratoga, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, and Hotel Florida are good ones.

Travel Tips for Havana Cuba

Travel Tips for Havana Cuba

Useful Travel Tips For Havana

  • If you want to save some money, and don’t have to go too far, trying hiring a bicycle taxi or a “coco taxi” scooter for a fun ride.
  • Don’t spend all your time in Havana! There is so much more to Cuba than the capital city. Check out Vinales, Trinidad, and Varadero if you have the time.
  • Bring a filtered water bottle, as bottled water can sometimes be difficult to find outside of major cities.
  • Even if you normally prefer hotels, I recommend spending at least one night in a casas particular with locals to see what it’s like.
  • Learn some basic Spanish words! While some English is common in Havana, attempting to speak Spanish will give you more opportunities to interact with people.
USEFUL TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR CUBA
Havana Map – Plan your trip around Cuba with this handy map
Planning Advice – Get help planning a legal trip to Cuba
Book A Flight: Learn how I find the cheapest airline flights
Find A Hotel: My tips for booking affordable accommodation
Protect Your Stuff: WorldNomads.com can insure your trip & gear
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Cuba
Suggested Reading: The Other Side Of Paradise

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25 Awesome Things to Do in Havana, Cuba - Literally everything touristy and non-touristy that you could possibly want to do in Havana and more!

Have any travel questions about things to do in Havana? Other suggestions or tips? Drop me a message in the comments below!

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.

Review: Memoire D’Angkor Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap

Review: Memoire D’Angkor Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap

The magic combination of a beautiful hotel and a perfect location is so hard to find and yet so I was delighted to stumble upon the Memoire D’Angkor Boutique Hotel. Stunning inside and out it’s location in Siem Reap in north western Cambodia near to the world heritage UNESCO site of Angkor Wat quite literally … Continue reading Review: Memoire D’Angkor Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap

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Star Alliance: Fly United & Swiss Deal Transatlantic For 248USD RT

Star Alliance: Fly United & Swiss Deal Transatlantic For 248USD RT

There is currently a great Star Alliance deal from Northern EU airports to Los Angeles. The price is $248 RT in Economy including free carry-on, some miles and you can book for dates in spring 2019. You would fly on United and Swiss. This flight can be found here and this price won’t be around … Continue reading Star Alliance: Fly United & Swiss Deal Transatlantic For 248USD RT

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Private Jet Flight For $118 RT (Yes Really!)

Private Jet Flight For $118 RT (Yes Really!)

This is a great deal for anyone who has dreamed about flying on a private jet. OK this deal is for a seat on a private jet and not the entire plane, but for this price, who’s complaining! Incidentally to rent an entire plane on this route would cost $7,725. Fly JetSuitX for $118 RT … Continue reading Private Jet Flight For $118 RT (Yes Really!)

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Breaking News: United Plane Slips Off Runway In Massive Storm

Breaking News: United Plane Slips Off Runway In Massive Storm

Just a few hours ago, this United plane slipped off the runway, almost definitely because of the bad weather conditions which Americans have been suffering in the US Midwest in the last 24 hours. United Airlines #UA656 arriving from Phoenix(PHX) slid off Runway 4R at Chicago O'Hare today approx 17:26UTC. No reported injuries. Ground crews … Continue reading Breaking News: United Plane Slips Off Runway In Massive Storm

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The Newest Four Seasons Hotel In North America!

The Newest Four Seasons Hotel In North America!

Four Seasons are one of the most popular luxury hotel brands and THE most popular brand for clients of our luxury travel concierge. We make hundreds of bookings daily for clients who who take advantage of the free benefits that we offer at all Four Seasons hotels. The Newest Four Seasons Hotel In America One … Continue reading The Newest Four Seasons Hotel In North America!

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10 Best Gift Ideas For Travelling Kids

10 Best Gift Ideas For Travelling Kids

Travelling with young children can be both a wonderful, yet stressful experience. It can be a struggle to keep them entertained, especially during long haul flights or time-consuming journeys. We’ve rounded up the best gift ideas to keep your children busy, whilst your travelling to and from your destination, or already on vacation, to make … Continue reading 10 Best Gift Ideas For Travelling Kids

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IC Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort Club Lounge Review

One of the highlights of the InterContinental Phu Quoc Longe Beach Resort is the superb club lounge. Located behind an imposing pair of wooden doors, the club lounge runs the whole length of the left wing of the resort. This peaceful and private area is run like a ‘resort within a resort’, with special amenities … Continue reading IC Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort Club Lounge Review

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