After nearly five decades without direct flights from the United
States (though a few crafty Americans would fly up to Toronto, just
to get back down to Havana,) some 110 flights are scheduled daily
from America next month. Not to mention renewed interest from
European tourists too.
Make the trip before the hotspot effect takes hold. It’s hard to
know how long Havana’s remarkable Spanish Colonial buildings, Art
Deco blocks and Belle Epoque manses will remain. New investment is
set to pour in with the recent reopening, and the pitfalls of urban
renewal seem inevitable. Many of Havana’s buildings are crumbling,
bedraggled, some partially collapsing. But with their randomly
painted exteriors and mismatched shudders and styles, each street
is a decadent architectural cavalcade to behold.
When to go
Asap. Though they say avoid June through October if possible.
High summer is too hot for foreigners to handle, then comes
Who to take with you
Your Instagram husband. The entire place is a fashion editorial
waiting to happen.
Most likely to bump into
Karl & co. preparing for the upcoming Chanel cruise show in
Rumba dancing. It’s is an integral part of Cuba’s cultural
tradition, tied into the mysticism of local religion, Santeria. Old
Havana, the city’s historic center, which is a UNESCO protected
World Heritage Site. Wander aimlessly here, or make for the
beautiful Cathedral plaza. If you want to mix with the locals bring
a beer to the Malecon shoreline at dusk. Don’t bother with wine –
it’s hard to come by and overpriced when you do.
Food that isn’t Cuban. Decades of trade embargo has made foreign
cuisine into a near-impossibility, so Cubans cook best using the
ingredients they’re familiar with. Private (non state-owned)
restaurants called paladeres are best.
An essential to bring with you
Havana is hot, bright and sensual. Dress accordingly. On a
budget H&M’s latest collection of shoulder-baring summer
floaties will do the trick. Or, for a summer investment, see
Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s delicate peach Carnelia bustier dress.
Wear the dress with worked-in
VANS or last summer’s Eyties to keep you exploring and
dodging rickshaws in the streets, and as music drifts from every
corner of the city come nightfall, moving to the beats too.