Posts

Hello965 in Cuba

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 9.26.27 PM

  • VISA Process:

Kuwaiti (and GCC) nationals need a visa to Cuba. Each national need to contact the Cuban Embassy in their country or the visa services office to inquire about the requirements.

In Kuwait, this is what you’ll need:

– A photocopy of your passport (The passport itself is not needed)

– A personal photo (sometimes not required)

– Hotel + Flight reservations

– Application Form to be filled in the embassy itself

Hello965 Cuba

I fell in love with this lady! <3

 

  • Duration of my stay: 7 days (3 nights in Havana, one night in Trenidad de Cuba and 2 nights in Varadero)

 

  • FLIGHT

I choose the faster route the cheapest route, but you really have MANY options. As I mentioned in my previous post about Cuba. To add to it, you could always go through the Bahamas, Cayman Islands or else.

My Route was as follows: Kuwait – Abudhabi – Frankfurt – Havana and return via Istanbul (around 23 hours? more or less)

*** One big issue with this flight I took, my bags never made it to Havana via Frankfurt.

I was flying on Condor – A Thomas Cook Group flight, and had a very tight transit time (55 minutes). Unfortunately, I dealt with an impolite Condor representative, where she had confirmed 3 times that my bags were on board and 3 times dismissed me to “take care of other travelers”. The only reason I’m writing this, is because I was left with no bags for 4 days in Havana with not even a compensation from Condor.

FYI – shopping in Havana is VERY overpriced. I spent a fortune (i’m not exaggerating) just to buy shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush & paste, body gel and t-shirts for the days we have no clothes.   S

ANYWHO,

Hello965 in Cuba

1. Havana:

Stay: I stayed at a penthouse via Casa Particular. This is a tricky situation, if you’re comfortable staying at one of those, go for it at your own risk. Otherwise, stick to Hotel Saratoga in Old Town Havana, Nacional Hotel or read about the houses/rooms rented via the locals such as Casa de Miriam Y Sinai.

Activities:

– Museo Revolucion
– Plaza Vieja
– East of Havana, go on top of the hill
– Eat ice cream at the famous Coppelia Ice Cream parlour for the true Habanero experience (Yes, this is part of activities and an activity you must do)

hello965 havana
– Plaza San Francisco
– 50’s car ride/ tour

hello965 cuba
– Visit a Cigar Factory
– See Casa Fuster
– Drive on, or walk on the Malecon Street
– Plaza de las Armas

Hello965 Cuba

Cigar Factory Visit

 

Food:

– Rio Mar

– Vistamar (1st Av and 22 strt)

– Litoral (on Al Malecon)

– El Templete

– Restaurante Dona Eutimia

– A coffee/bakery/pastry shop next to Dona Eutimia, is a place called Bambini .. very cute!!

– La Fontana

Night:

– Tropicana show; touristy and commercial but definitely a nice experience for a first time visit to Cuba

– Up & down

– Saratoga Hotel Rooftop Bar

– 304 O’Reilly

– Casa de La Musica (All salsa, live band)

Hello965 in Cuba

2. Trinidad de Cuba (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Stay: For the first time ever, and since it’s a one night stay, I decided to book in a hostel. It’s called Dr Suarez & Sra Addys. The owners the same day of booking dropped me an email expressing their excitement to have us at their home. I loved loved my stay at this place, couldn’t have asked for a better experience in Trinidad!

The hostel has two rooms, each room fits two persons max. However, we needed an extra room, so the owners arranged for our friend to stay at the opposite house/hostel. If you need more rooms, just ask them and they’ll organize it.

Another option which I was looking at before booking with Dr Suarez is a hotel called Iberostar, which is the best recommended in Trinidad.

Activities:

– Valle de Los Ingenios Tour (RECOMMENDED!), I booked my tour via Havana Tour Company. This tour is about 19th-century sugar and slave trade! SUPER interesting.

hello965 trinidad

– Walk around the town, it’s a very small place, so just walk around and explore yourself

– Check out Plaza Mayor

– Train trip to the Valley of the Sugar Mills

– Hiking the Escambray mountains

– Checkout Galeria Pincelada Colonial

 – At night, checkout Casa de La Musica (All salsa, live band), it is similar to the one in Havana, but this is outdoors and beautiful atmosphere

Food:

Since my trip to Trinidad was super short, the place I got to try was:

1- San Jose

Actually, there was another restaurant that I absolutely hated, so won’t even bother to write it down.

 

3. Varadero

Stay: Melia Varadero Hotel is where I stayed, and where I recommend

Hello965 Varadero

Things to do:

– Go on a Catamaran to Cayo Blanco Island

– Varadero is all about the beach, so just relax and enjoy your hotel’s facilities and massages

– For the night, a place called La Rumba was recommended to us

hello965 catamaran

 Other destinations I stumbled upon that look interesting, you could look into more:

Cayo Largo & Cayo Coco – I read that these islands have two of the most beautiful beaches! – Not accessible via car

Useful websites other than this amazing post ofcourse;

I used these websites to book my hotels:

www.hotelscombined.com

www.Otel.com

www.casaparticular.com

www.hotelsclick.com

Hello965 in Cuba

Final words:

– I recommend you to hire a driver & rent a car for the whole period in Cuba. The driver most of the time act as a tour guide, where he’ll recommend the best places to see, reserve for restaurants when needed and take care of things.

– The way it works in Cuba from my personal experience, hiring a driver, and renting a car are two different activities (some websites combine both in one). I, contacted a driver, who in return recommended me the websites to rent a car from.

– Renting a car is tricky. If you do reserve a car online, and the car reservation is CONFIRMED, that’s not the end! You must pay the car full amount ONLINE for the reservation to be confirmed. I didn’t pay online because I wasn’t aware of this, so when I reached, I didn’t have a car. (Thanks Rafael for organizing a car for me!)

– Entering Cuba is not a big hassle. However, those of you feeling uncomfortable waiting, there’s a VIP service fo  25 CUC. Where an employee escorts you from the minute you leave the plane, passes you through VIP and Diplomats lane, and off to the luggage.

At the exit/Leaving Cuba – you’ll need to pay 25 CUC at the airpot, so just make sure you have the 25 CUC at hand on your way to the airport.

– In terms of safety, I haven’t encountered any dangerous situation or felt unsafe at any point. Caution is always good, so just keep your shiny and expensive stuff at home. Cuba has the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere! You will be surprised by the visible police presence in Cuba.

– Heads up, Havana is not cheap. The minute they know you’re a tourist, they’ll automatically charge you much higher than original price/cost.

– WiFi & Internet: Almost all hotels have at least 1 or 2 computers to go on the internet for foreigners. Otherwise they’d charge you for an internet card to use for your laptop/phone. Having said that, Cuba’s internet is very slow, and some applications are blocked such as “Snapchat”.

Best time/weather to see Cuba: March, April October and November are the months with the nicest weather and less rain. Peak Season is December / January/ February.

– MONEY EXCHANGE – You can ONLY exchange money INSIDE Cuba. To exchange, you need to get Euros with you, and exchange either at the airport when you first get in, or in any hotel in Havana. I, for instance, exchanged at both Melia Cohiba and Nacional Hotel. Also, make sure you don’t get out of Cuba with their currency (CUC) because you will not be able to exchange it outside of Cuba.

– Cigars: For Cigar purchases, you are only allowed 50 pieces ‘per bag’ (carry-on VS. suitcase). More than 50 pieces, you’ll be asked present receipts of your purchases.

– Finally, don’t expect to eat delicious food. All food is spiced with only salt, pepper and lemon. So don’t have any expectations. (get your own spice if you could)

hello965 classic

***  Always remember, you could email us on info@hello965.com to plan all of this for you.

Cheers!

Hello965

Before You Die, This Should Be On Your List:

Before you die, you should:

 

  1. Set foot on all continents.
  2. Live in at least two countries with completely different cultures.
  3. Swim with Sharks.
  4. Learn at least one foreign language.
  5. Bungee Jump.
  6. Learn how to surf.
  7. Go on an African Safari.
  8. Get your body on its ultimate shape at least once.
  9. Have your own business.
  10. Own A pet
  11. Dive into the waters from a cliff.
  12. Go Camping.
  13. Sing to an audience. (Karaoke counts)
  14. White water rapids.
  15. Paint and frame your painting.
  16. Drive across an entire country.
  17. Travel in First Class Suite at least once.
  18. Climb a mountain.
  19. Ride an elephant.
  20. Party until sunrise.
  21. Travel around the world.
  22. Dance at the carnival in Rio.
  23. Go on a cruise.
  24. Ride a horse in the ocean.
  25. Take a bath in a hot spring.
  26. Fly a kite.
  27. Go Skiing.
  28. Backpack through another country.
  29. Go to the Opera.
  30. Run a Marathon.
  31. Run a Triathlon.
  32. Hot Air Ballooning.
  33. Sleep under the stars.
  34. Go to the Olympics.
  35. Trek to Machu Pichu.
  36. Ride Gondola in Venice.
  37. Spend a night in a tree house.
  38. Go Lavender Picking
  39. Stay in an overwater bungalow.
  40. Attend a music festival.
  41. Swing on the Edge of the World in Ecuador.
  42. Go to a Masquerade Ball.
  43. Bathe in Milk and roses.
  44. Live happily ever after.
  45. Experience Zero Gravity.
  46. Stand on a Boulder Wedged Between Mountains.
  47. Go to a Cenote in Mexico.
  48. Participate in a FlashMob.
  49. Build an Igloo.
  50. Go Flyboarding.

 

 

Start.

Hello965 team

Mexico City Itinerary

Mexico is a very magical place; and very close to my heart. Mexico City, is the capital of Mexico officially known as Mexico, D. F., or simply D. F. Mexico City is the country’s largest city as well as its most important political, cultural, educational and financial center.

Airport Name: Juarez International Airport (MEX)

Many of the most visited tourist attractions in Mexico City are concentrated in the historic center, including the Plaza de la Constitucion or Zocalo, the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, Templo Mayor, Palace of Fine Arts and Alameda Park. A few blocks north of the Palace of Fine Arts, Plaza Garibaldi is one of the best places in Mexico City to hear live mariachi music.

You’ll also want to explore the neighborhoods of Zona Rosa, Roma, Condesa, Coyoacan and San Angel. Home to lovely parks, plazas, shops, markets, cafes and some of the top tourist attractions in Mexico City, these artsy neighborhoods are especially popular among visitors to the city and foreign residents. Nearby, in the trendy posh neighborhood of Polanco you’ll find some of Mexico City’s top nightspots and chic restaurants.

Speaking of Polanco, during my last visit to D.F., i stayed at the W Hotel Polanco and I highly recommend it. Great location, excellent services.

Some of the near by attractions to W Polanco are:

  • Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe
  • Polanco Commercial District
  • Plaza of Three Cultures
  • Tehotihuacan Pyramids
  • Archeological Museum
  • Museum of Modern Art

Food.

Biko

Merotoro

Nicos Mexico

PUJOL

Quintonil

SUD 777

Maximo

Mercado San Juan

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 6.54.12 PM

I will update the food section in particular as soon as I remember the good restaurants I’ve personally tried!

Cheers

Toomzie