Inside Havana, A Traveler's Guide

Atelier is one of about 400 paladares, or privately run restaurants, established in Cuba.

We are discovering the secrets of Havana, Cuba this week. Follow us as we explore where to eat, shop and more. 

First, we travel to Cuba with Irvina Lew. She visited Cuba with a five-day people-to-people tour, which was organized by SmarTours via a Sun Country charter from Miami. Read about her entire trip here

Among the countless blighted blocks in Old Havana, one which we experienced, El Callejón de los Peluqueros (Barber Street), is being transformed by an individual resident: he created a barber shop and museum in his apartment, launched a free barber school, hired gardeners to enhance the street (where Le Figaro is a welcoming café) and is currently constructing a children’s park.


Further from the city center, in Jaimanitas, one artist, Jose Fuster transformed Casa Fuster, his modest home, into a phantasmagorical, colorfully mosaic-studded, Gaudiesque, Park Guell-like home studio where Fuster’s disciples create and sell artwork.

Tours visit Revolution Square, which boasts a statue and 300-foot memorial to poet and national hero José Martí. Revolutionary heroes Che Guevarra and Fidel’s confident, Camilo Cienfuegos, are depicted in large iron sculptures fronting two of the adjacent government buildings. The plaza is encircled by “Yank Tanks,” the shiny shells of 1950s’ Ford and Chevy convertibles containing Russian or Mitsubishi engines, which are for hire and often do so with horns blaring enthusiastically.

Ernest Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigia, within a five-acre park and 10 miles outside the city, is a tourist destination. In 1940, the author purchased the 1886 structure for $12,500; it’s where he lived until 1960 and wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Old Man and the Sea” and “A Moveable Feast.” Through open doors, visitors can see the furnishings, books and accessories, including a ceramic by Picasso.

Keep following Luxury Travel Advisor for more about Cuba as a destination. And follow us on Instagram @luxurytraveladvisor.