Havana, Cuba - Our AeroMéxico captain has just informed us that we have begun our initial decent into the Havana area. I glanced out the window, saw only open sea and returned to reading my book. Soon the direction took a fresh sense of urgency as tray tables went up, seat backs were upright again and our beloved electronic devices were switched off until landing.
Our tour guide Felix, a native of Havana, had started his spiel and was fountain of knowledge. We considered ourselves lucky to have him, as he shared so many historical insights and those of contemporary Cuban life as well. You could hear a pin drop on the bus as it lurched about all eyes and ears were on Felix. We pulled into a convenience store attached to a gas station to get bottled water; there was none to be had. On the third stop we were rewarded with twelve bottles of water; we bought every bottle they had! First lesson, plan ahead; I soon learned just how resourceful Cubans are.
Stepping into the elegance of the grand lobby we encountered tourists from all over the world. However the spirit of what once was lives on. I had my first mojito in Cuba within ten minutes after arriving at the Nacional. The lobby bar is moniker much too mundane for the space that is a national shrine to Blue Eyes, Johnny Mathis and the Kennedys and let's not forget the mob! Yes, the plan was to develop Havana into another Las Vegas. Fidel had other plans.
Exploring Havana is a treasure trove and the hospitality is great. As a first time visitor I visited a rum distillery, learned how cigars are made and savored the best Cuban coffee. The cuisine in Cuba is clearly not a foodie's paradise but is quite tasty. Black beans and rice are served with virtually everything; pork and chicken are staples. Saw Ernest Hemmingway's haunts, who was quite chummy with Fidel. There are groups of men on streets who gather in the parks to spontaneously discuss beisbol, the national sport of Cuba. You can pick up substantial works of art La Feria San Jose or was that San Juan? Ha! The true beauty of Havana is really the people who are resourceful and more importantly warm and welcoming to those that are compelled the visit their special land. It is a time capsule, but only a time capsule of the American influence before the revolution. Cubans continue to grow and evolve every day; what a great reason to return to this special land!
AeroMexico has regular flights to Havana from Mexico City, making Cuba highly accessible from our country. If you would like more information on how to travel in style to this Caribbean treasure, contact me and I will be glad to introduce you to our tour operator.Jeff Bates is a Real Estate agent at Tropicasa Realty. If you have questions about this article, or would like to speak to Jeff about buying or selling a home or condo in Puerto Vallarta, you can contact him at jeff(at)tropicasa.com, or 322-142-8170
Since 1997, Wayne Franklin and his team at Tropicasa Realty have been a trusted name in Puerto Vallarta real estate. Tropicasa Realty is the region's representative for "The Leading Agents of the World" and with over 100 years of combined experience in real estate, all agents of the company are affiliated with AMPI. Wayne Franklin or any member of his knowledgeable team can be contacted in-person at their Romantic Zone Office - Pulpito 145-A at Olas Altas or in their San Marino Office - San Marino Hotel at Rodolfo Gomez 111-4. While in PV they can be reached at (322) 222-6505 or by calling 866-978-5539 (Toll-Free) from the U.S.
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