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Steves 8 Hour Havana Tour?

Hello Again to all my Friends!

I am asking for some help once again :)…does anyone remember the thread for “Steve’s 8 Hour Havana trip” , I can’t seem to find it! :’(
We used it as a guide in October and my friend is going to Jibacoa in Feb and I said how helpful it was and now I can’t find it! Please help me save face and seem like the brilliant brunette that I am!! :-*

[quote=@lulu]Hello Again to all my Friends!

Please help me save face and seem like the brilliant brunette that I am!! :-*
Check your messages

That’s the one!

Your welcome…I’m planning on putting it to use next week

It’s an excellent resource for anyone visiting Havana:


Form old time’s sake, how about reposting that famous bar walk in Havana. There was even a video wasn’t there?

Credit to martian:


This pub-crawl has been used several times and is totally reliable in obtaining the desired result – a moderate state of inebriation. One crawl included my sister’s family, two of her friends’ families (including one Canadian Provincial supreme court judge and a couple of teenagers) and still yielded satisfactory results.
This can be either an evening, or an afternoon (this write-up assumes an afternoon).

We usually start in the bar at the Inglaterra Hotel – ideal because everyone knows where it is, the architecture is great (Arabian tiles), and it simply is a good bar. Plus the wimps can have a coffee first to line their stomach.

Then head out directly across the street, through the Parque Centrale through the groups of shouting men. These fellows act like they are about to kill each other – what is actually happening is they are debating baseball….who has the best pitcher etc.

Continue straight ahead past the Art museum and you see a busy street and a pedestrian mall (simply a street where traffic has been banned). At that corner, is the famous Floridita bar/restaurant. This is where Hemingway actually spent a LOT of time and where tour buses now unload tourists to be fleeced. Wander in and take a look – interesting pictures on the wall –but outrageous prices …$6 for a daiquiri.

OK, now time for a drink – continue alone the busy street (Monserrate) one block south and you come to 2 good bars:

  • One is open air – one of the best “people-watching” bars in the city

  • The other has an old-fashioned swinging bar door (I think this is called the Monserrate bar). Actually there are some good snacks here….I recommend the garlic shrimp. And there often is a band.

One block east, at the corner of Brazil and Bernaza is the Hanoi Restaurant – this attracts both Cubans and budget travelers……a complete mea for $3, and its very good for the price. Plus one of the cheapest places for mojitos in Havana Vieja.

Now back a couple of blocks north to Obispo and take a right turn. Several bars but the most activity is probably in the Lluvia de ora….lots of tourists, but usually a good band.

Then continue on Obispo to the Café de Paris ….similar….usually music and decent pizzas.

Now head south 5 blocks to a big square (I think this is the Plaza Vieja) which has recently been totally renovated with E.U. money. Very nice. At the south-west corner is a fairly large bar/restaurant. Good BBQ and other food, and interesting atmosphere (they have a beer drinking contraption that is about a yard/meter high – you have to be in a REAL beer drinking mood.

Now head back north, one block PAST Obispo to Calle O’Reilly (a good Cuban name). Turn left and there is O’Reilly’s on O’Reilly. Downstairs is nothing special, but head up the winding metal staircase. A moment of peace in the noise of Havana. Unique.

Now we’re getting our second wind so time for something serious. Continue west on O’Reilly and you come to a dump named Bar Bilbao. This is the only true Cuban bar left in centeral old Havana. It’s fun to watch tourists stop at the door, look in, and then decide “nope”. Actually the “décor” is interesting – this bar has been discovered by the professional soccer club in Bilbao Spain and they have left all kinds of stuff all over the walls.

They don’t particularly encourage tourists but once you’re there, its great. This is where I bought the adults in my sister’s group of 7 adults a round of double rums and a cigar – total bill was $1.75. AND THOSE WERE REAL DOUBLES. A single rum is 5 pesos and a cigar is 1 peso (that’s non-convertible pesos). A peso is equal to a nickel.

The trick here is to have some “nationale” money….non-convertible. So when he brings your order you have those pesos out. Otherwise they might try to ding you tourist prices in convertible pesos – just act like you know what you’re doing.

About this point, the organized tour tends to kind of fall apart. You can find your own way from here.

One restaurant recommendation however. Head back over to “the Prado”, that the street that runs in from of the Inglaterra (where you started) and runs north up to the ocean. The real name of the street is Paseo Marti, but evryone calls it Prado. Anyway there is an Italian restaurant (not the one at the corner of Neptuno)….it’s farther north….I think the number is #168, its on a corner. Anyway it has VERY good pasta and pizza for about $3.50 each. Highly recommended.

Here is the link to the Wild Bill’s Havana Pub Crawl Video…


I love to watch this for the sights and sounds of Havana, it brings back so many good memories ;D

That was amazing…thanks for reposting it

Bring along a printout of martian’s pub crawl and Steve’s to do list and you’ll have interesting day in Havana.

Another spin on the pub crawl…

Havana Pub Crawl:

It’s a decent beginner’s route through Old Havana that’s good for first-time visitors, or light drinkers.

1.) Start in the rooftop bar at the Inglaterra Hotel – great view of Parque Central, the theatre, etc. Quiet, no one to bug you. Great mojitos. Have one and move on.

2.) Go down to street level and have another cocktail at their sidewalk patio bar, the Galeria La Acera del Louvre. Watch the street action. Lots to take in, but again, you’re slightly removed from it.

Head directly across the street, through Parque Central, past the large groups of shouting men who are just about ready (it appears) to kill each other. Don’t worry, they’re simply discussing baseball. If you really want to see some drama, put a video camera on them - their decibel level (and hand gestures) will double.

3.) Continue straight ahead past the Art Museum until you get to the famous landmark (and tourist trap) the El Floridita where Hemingway spent a lot of time slurping back daiquiris. Wander in, have a look, have an overpriced daiquiri if you must.

4.) Exit, turn left, and at the end of the block (corner of Monseratte and Obrapia) there’s two good bars, the open air Castillo de Farnes, and the Bar Monseratte where you enter through an old fashioned saloon style swinging door.

5.) The Castillo de Farnes is a great people watching bar, the Bar Monseratte will be less hassle, and it has decent pub food and usually a pretty good band.

6.) Now, head back a couple of blocks to Obispo and take a right turn. There’s several bars along this lovely stretch. Go into any of them that are rockin’. One of my favourites is the La Lluvia de Oro. Lots of tourists and well connected hustlers, and many times a good band.

7.) Continue down Obispo to the Café Paris. It’s similar to the La Lluvia de Oro with good music and decent pizzas.

8.) Exit and make a right turn, south from Obispo, and enjoy a leisurely stroll down San Ignacio for 4 blocks until you reach Plaza Vieja. It has a lovely fountain (quite rare in Havana) in the centre. In the southwest corner is a trendy European style micro-brewery, the Taberna de La Muralla. They have beer drinking contraptions that are about a metre high – you have to still be in a real beer drinking mood.

9.) Go the northeast corner of the Plaza and you’ll find one of my favourite classy places, the Taberna Beny More. Wonderful place.

10.) Exit and turn right, following one of my favourite restored streets, Mercaderes, back 3 blocks to Obispo, then another block further to O’Reilly. Turn left, and one block later slip into the O’Reilly Pub, and carefully negotiate the antique winding wrought iron staircase up to the second floor. Enjoy a moment of peace in the noise of Havana.

11.) After the 10 cocktail warm-up you’ve enjoyed to this point, you should be ready for some serious drinking by now, so turn left on O’Reilly and continue west for a couple of blocks until you reach the Bar Bilbao, one of the few truly Cuban bars left in the tourist section of Old Havana.

It’s a dump. They don’t particularly encourage tourists, but once you’re there, its great. Have some real Cuban Pesos on you (not Convertible Pesos) and enjoy a double rum for 8 pesos, and a cigar for 1 peso. (1 Convertible Peso = about 24 Cuban Pesos. Do the math. We’re talking cheap.) The decor - if you can call it that - is sort of interesting. The bar has been discovered by the professional soccer club from Bilbao Spain, and they have left all kinds of stuff all over the walls.

Go one block south, back to Obispo, and walk back to Parque Central.

At this point you’ve had a decent tour from Parque Central, down Obispo, through a few sections of Old Havana and back to Central. It’s only a thumbnail tour though - there’s a ton of great places I haven’t mentioned.

The night is still young, and you have loads of time to start some serious drinking and dancing…

A few more thoughts…

Real Havana Bars:

My all time favorite is La Puntilla, half an hour walk west of the Cohiba. There’s hilarious karaoke (they always pick the most pissed Cuban client to perform), a very relaxed atmosphere free of tourists, jineteras and the like and the weekend discotembas (80’s dance music that is!) attract very very weird crowds. Casa de la Amistad is fun on Tuesdays, but the word has been spread now and sometimes tourists outnumber Cubans and I even saw a couple of jineteros last time I was there.

In many cases it doesn’t matter which venue you go, but who performs there. Cafe Cantante for example can be rife with jineteras or full of dance-crazed youngsters depending on the band (try it if Arnaldo y su Talisman are playing, they perform at least twice a month usually). I’d avoid sterilized places like La Zorra y el Cuervo, el Gato Tuerto and the hotel venues that attract mostly pale-skinned extranjeros. Tropical, Amanecer and the like (ask your concierge, I can’t place a whole list here) are places that attract mostly locals, but not my style. One place I like is the tiny disco in the upper floor of the Dos Gardenias complex in Miramar. I have never seen foreigners there and the dance music is tolerable even for my dance-hater’s ears. Dos Gardenias itself attracts mostly Cubans and the music is great, bu you will need a bit of Spanish because the style there encourages interaction (mostly boleros, although not exclusively).

For something more Cuban try Cocodrilo in Vedado close to the Cohiba or La Roca close to the Nacional for stand-up comedy. Rikimbily is my favorite although arguably the most popular is Robertico. In La Roca there is sometimes live music. Unexpectedly, 70’s and 80’s rock afternoons are held sometimes at La Maison, which is the least rock place in La Havana! These days really rock and you could be lucky enough to catch that super regular Cuban 50-year-old lady who dresses like Alice Cooper and bangs her head relentlessly (un personaje de cinco estrellas).

Ask around what’s on at the Karl Marx but you need “connections” to find a ticket at times. Concerts of Buena Fe, Alfonso X and the like are not to be missed if you have the chance.

The top advice though is to go where university students go. To find out what’s going on, go the university main building, next to the library where all the “what’s going on” is posted, from rock concerts to ska gigs. Ask the students where the “freakies” are bound to go this weekend and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who don’t care where you are from, what you look like and if you are looking for new “frens” or “chicas”. If your Spanish is not too bad you could easily be invited at a university house party (there’s always one on, even on weekdays).

Las Canitas, which is disco-like and yes, mostly Cubans, mostly under 25s. Tourists do show up and jineteras don’t discard the place either, but mostly it’s an OK place to go out. What cracked the atmosphere a bit was their decision a few months ago to ask for IDs, which angered several non-jinetera people (“mikeys”, if you know what I mean).

If you want to try a bar where no foreigner ever enters, try Los Violines, that’s Paseo and Quinta. There is nothing going on ever there, but when they have football, baseball or sports on TV it unexpectedly packs with shouting Cubans. It’s the only place I’ve seen locals playing cards. Some soft drinks are from many years ago, so check the expiry day.

Another suggestion is a disco close to Rio Almendares, unfortunately the name escapes me now. I’ve been there three times and with the exception of 2-3 foreign residents I saw no tourists there. It packs with Cubans because it is ridiculously cheap. I mean REALLY cheap. The taxi there is likely to cost you more than your first ten drinks, to give you an idea.

Johnny’s used to be BY FAR the worst night club in Cuba (when it comes to drugs and the quality of the “gentlemen” that used to hang out there) but then the Central Committee took over and turned it into a decent if somewhat sleepy place. Someone told me it’s more active today, but I haven’t been.

One thing that is crappy nowadays is the atmosphere in La Habana Vieja. There is nothing going on and they close down so early that you may think you are Sweden for Christ’s sake (and without the blondes!).

And before I forget, Diablo Tun-Tun was one of the very very few places that’s still open till 6am in Havana. Mostly Cubans, although some tourists find their way there as it’s just around the conrner from Casa de la Musica Miramar. The taxi drivers who hang out there are all illegal and charge whatever they feel like, so it pays to have pre-arranged your return if you don’t have your own wheels. On salsa nights it’s a terrific dancespot and the odd hip-hop nights are excellent (well, I’ve only been to one, I may have been lucky altogether).

In Centro, if you meet the right people you could find someone who can show you around the “penas”, which is a highlight of non-nocturnal Havana music life.

And last but not least, the coldest beers in Havana I have come across are at the Casa del Cientifico on Prado, and you can have them at the no-frills balcony or even better inside, under one of the most impressive ceilings in the country. The place will soon be turned into a university activities hall, so hurry up. Around it there are a couple of not too bad places either, although the area is nothing like it used to be 8-9 years ago.

This should be in the FAQ.

Done lots of reading lately and your tour sounds like I would hit just about all of it. So much to see and do. Having read early history I could probably now relate to all the statues. I hope to do a week trip and just indulge. Thanks for the reminders on what a fantastic Island Cuba is. Gracias Betty