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Havana: 8 Things to Discover

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You probably already have an idea of what to expect from Havana, even though you've never set foot in the Cuban capital before. Yeah, salsa music and dancing are going to happen, and you could end up drinking more rum than you know. But there are a few surprises up her beautifully-customized sleeve in this sensational city. So what are some of the things in Havana that you probably didn't know you could do?

Have A Cigar Rolled Just For You

It is hardly news that you will find splendid cigars in Havana, but in addition to buying a stash of these babies to take home with you, you can search out one of the various cigar stores in the city that has a Torcedore in-house. A Torcedore is a cigar roller master, and they primarily work in the cigar factories themselves. There will be one on staff at several cigar shops who will roll a cigar just for you, while you wait. You can smoke it right there and there if you want, but because after they've been rolled, cigars need to dry out a little bit, it's best to see the hand-rolled cigar as a rare souvenir. For a special moment, you should take it home and save it, like when you want to remember your time in Cuba... or when you want to show it off to your friends.

Spy On People

Camera Obscura from Havana is a bit of an oddity. This attraction (located in Havana's Old Town in Plaza Vieja) doesn't really have anything to do with Havana or Cuba, and it's just a cool, random attraction. The "Camera" is a wide room where the guide is able to monitor the direction of his eyes, using it on buildings and the skyline of Havana in general to zoom in. They could even watch people walking on the street below at random. The image is then projected onto the wall of the chamber in great detail. It's a weird and but very fun way to see Havana from a different perspective.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/havana-8-things-to-discover/ by Tyreece Bauer on 2021-01-27T12:52:27.398Z

Drink Some Pure Sweetness

For its rum and cocktails, Havana (and Cuba in general) is renowned. While in town, there's another cocktail you need to try. Request a bottle of Guarapo for yourself (which can be found all over the city). It's pure sugar cane juice, so it's incredibly sweet (rather unsurprisingly). The first time, it may be a little too sweet, but this sugar shot can be curiously addictive.

Go On Safari

The best known wildlife in Havana is possibly the people you encounter in the bars and clubs in the early morning hours. But more conventional animals can also be found in the town at the Havana Zoo (located next to the Plaza de la Revolucion). The zoo features a "African Plain" on an old bus that you drive through, sort of like going on a safari. Ostriches, zebras, and even rhinos are present. It's not for everybody, but it will surely be loved by any children you may be traveling with. And it can be a relaxing way to spend a morning the night before after drinking so much rum!

Old-Fashioned Military History

Visitors to London are likely to have stood at Buckingham Palace after the change of guard. With all this noise, the Queen is potentially getting irritated. Something close is happening in Havana, but the costumes (and surroundings) are so much better than the version in London. The fortress was built all the way back in 1774 and is placed in Havana's harbor. Every night at 9 pm, there is a ceremony where the operating cannons are fired, kind of like a sign to close the city gates for the night. Don't think about that, though. The city has spread well beyond its initial gates, and do you really believe that at 9 pm, Havana shuts down?

Get A Haircut

Havana is a big city, so it's hardly a shock that you can get your haircut there. Yet one of the most stunning avenues in the city is something of a shrine to all things hair. On Aguiar Street (between Peña Pobre and Avenida de las Misiones), the place in question is situated. There are a number of hairdressers and old-fashioned barbers here, and even a hair-cutting museum (which is more interesting than it sounds). In the center of Old Havana, it's just a chilled out room, and there are even some sensational places to eat. Please make sure you try out Cafe de los Artistas.

See A Truly Gigantic “Ship In A Bottle”

The time has come to see Grandma, or at least Granma. The Granma is the yacht that, before the revolution began, transported Fidel Castro and other combatants to Cuba. In November 1956, the yacht made its iconic voyage, and has been an emblem of the movement ever since. It is now stored next to the Museum of the Revolution in a huge glass box (OK, so not a bottle). It is amazing to see such a tall, glass-sealed cruise, perfectly preserved for all time.

Fish Like Hemingway

There's a lot of fish in the waters off Havana, so it's not such a shock that an annual fishing competition takes place every summer. Called after one of the most prominent former residents of Havana, the Hemingway Fishing Competition is held every June. You can join, or you can only take advantage of one of the city's many fishing charters on sale. There are a lot of big game fish (namely marlin) in the area, so be warned... it's not the best amateur fishing spot, as those fish can battle quite a bit.

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About The Authors

Tyreece Bauer

Tyreece Bauer - Analyst and photographer in the field of technology. When I'm not working on my laptop, I like to go surfing, hiking with friends, and go karting or play soccer with my nephew. I enjoy traveling and am excited to visit Tokyo this summer. What are your plans for your next trip?

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