What’s Doing in Havana

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Restaurante Bar El Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio were two of Hemingway’s bars of choice as evidenced by the apocryphal quote, “Mi mojito en La Bodeguita, mi daiquirí en El Floridita” or “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.” Despite how touristy these have become, they are both worth a visit for an adult beverage.

Finally, the new Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana offers the San Cristobal Panoramic Restaurant where the views live up to the name as well as the adjacent El Surtidor Pool Terrace and Bar on the rooftop deck, offering genuine Cuban hospitality, views of Parque Central and the Great Theater of Havana , and splendid fare. The hotel is home to the Evocación Tobacco Lounge, which offers an excellent selection of Cuban cigars and rum.

HOW TO GET TO HAVANA

Commercial flights from the United States to Cuba started in September 2016.

Gate area, Terminal 3, Aeropuerto Internacional José Martí in Havana

Gate area, Terminal 3, Aeropuerto Internacional José Martí in Havana

Currently, six U.S. airlines, namely American, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United, , offer non-stop flights to Havana and other cities in Cuba from gateway cities that include Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Miami, New York.

For U.S. residents, a U.S. passport and a Cuban tourist visa (obtainable at the airport for $50 at the time of departure) are all that’s required provided the passport is valid for the entire duration of the visit. Travelers are required to have health insurance valid in Cuba with the result that airlines are adding the cost of the insurance to the price of a ticket.

Upon arrival, the visitor will need Cuban convertible pesos, which are available upon arrival at a one-to-one exchange rate with the U.S. dollar. U.S. credit cards are not accepted yet, although credit cards issued by banks outside of the U.S. are. Expect limited acceptance, however, especially outside of Havana.

Once there, getting into the city center from José Martí International Airport is easy via taxi. The fare should be 20 to 25 Cuban convertible pesos. If the taxi isn’t metered, make sure to agree on the fare before proceeding.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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