Ah, the allure of colorful Cuba! To explore Havana like a local is to slow down while taking in the rhumba and salsa rhythms, vibrant art, vintage cars and picturesque architecture in Old Havana. And maybe even while sipping a classic Mojito. To make the most of your Cuba cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line is the only cruise company to offer a 4-day cruise from Miami to Cuba than includes an overnight in Havana! Talk about maximizing your vacation time, wow. Let’s take a look at how you can Explore Havana Like a Local.
Savor the Flavor
Showcasing African and Spanish influences, Cuban cuisine offers dishes rich with root vegetables and seafood. After you’ve sampled fresh fruit and street food from the abundance of vendors, try a paladar, a traditional family run restaurant, where authentic food choices include Cuban sandwiches, fried sweet plantains or vaca frita (fried beef with onions). Finish with a refreshing libre granita and a cortadito (Cuban coffee). Or have a farm-to-table experience on the Mediterráneo Havana shore excursion, which includes plantation visits and a delicious lunch.
Soak up the Culture
A trip to Cuba wouldn’t be complete without enjoying its’ unique cultural heritage. Take a vintage taxi ride around the city or better yet, why not drive yourself? The Modern Havana in an American Classic shore excursion provides a chance to drive one of these beauties while touring sights such as Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square) and the riverside Parque Almendares (Havana Forest).
Besides enjoying the Free Open Bar on board Norwegian Sky, be sure to try a Mojito (rum, mint & lime) at a traditional live jazz venue like La Bodeguita del Medio, or a Daiquiri (rum, lime & maraschino liqueur) at one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hang outs, El Floridita. Soak up the Cuban rhythms at Café Taberna, see the showgirls at the iconic Tropicana Cafe, or live music at the hip Café Teatro Bertol Brecht.
What would a trip to Cuba be without visiting an art gallery, a rum factory and seeing how their famed cigars are made? You can easily do all 3 on the Today in Havana shore excursion, or include visiting an underground cave and a prehistoric mural by embarking on The Viñales Valley coach tour. Other recommended island destinations include the 18th-century Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, where a nightly ceremonial Firing of the Cannon takes place, along with the colorful neighborhood of Jaimanitas (nicknamed Fusterlandia), after it’s most iconic artist, José Fuster.
Of course, exploring Havana like a local always includes soaking up the Caribbean rays. Playas del Este is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and it’s only 30 minutes out of the city.
The Life of Hemingway
If you’re a fan, a visit to Cuba wouldn’t be complete without exploring The Life of Hemingway, one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s most popular shore excursions in Havana. You’ll see his 1930s hotel room and visit Museo Hemingway Finca Vigía in San Francisco de Paula, along with the village of Cojimar, where Hemingway docked his fishing boat, the El Pilar.