Once Upon A Time: The African Girl in Havana, Cuba

Once Upon A Time: The African Girl in Havana, Cuba

Once upon a time, two African girls walked the streets of Old Havana, rode a vintage car across the El Malecon, explored the monuments of Plaza De La Revolucion, danced salsa all night in Miramar and ate pineapples off a street fruit cart. Needless to say, life was perfect.

Once Upon A Time: The African Girl in Havana, Cuba

“Thank you for visiting our country, I have never seen people like you here before.” – The old man at Plaza De La Cathedral, the oldest church in Havana.

He, like the other Cubans we came across, were in awe of the two African girls who walked the streets in their African prints, braided hair and a spring in their steps. We looked different and embraced it. We were happy, it’s hard not to be in Havana.

We were happy, life was perfect. It’s hard not to be happy in Havana.

You may have heard about Havana but just to reiterate. It’s a beautiful city, but not in the typical way. The beauty of Havana is chaotic. It is like an organized mess or beautiful sounds playing from broken strings. With Havana, you’re either absolutely loving it, or hating it. There are no in-betweens.

My First Impressions

You know what they say, first impressions matter. At first glance, Havana looks old and rugged but for those who can appreciate the intricate details and are able to see the beauty in the chaos, it’s the perfect city.

I had visited Viñales the day before and I was wondering if Havana could measure up. The short answer is, yes.

Skeptical, nervous and excited, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the city. The day before, I had gone to the beautiful Viñales and after such an amazing experience, I was wondering if Havana could measure up. I was curious but ready to find out.

Cruising around in a Vintage Car

We kicked off the day in Havana with a vintage car tour. You’re in Cuba, this has to happen. Riding in style in a 1955 convertible Crysler, Chevrolet or any other classic car is exactly what you should be doing while in Havana.

Riding in style in a 1955 convertible Crysler, Chevrolet or any other classic car is exactly what you should be doing while in Havana.

Tip: Book your Classic Car tour well in advance and make sure to confirm with the company before your trip. I had to change my plans because I did not confirm. Booking on the website is barely enough.

We booked our ride at OldCarTours and it didn’t disappoint. Imagine a pink 1955 convertible Chevrolet meeting you at your door steps in the wee hours of the morning. What could be better?

Riding through El Malecon. Remember Fast & Furious? Yes, same location.
El Malecon

Walking the streets of La Habana, Cuba

Now, the streets of Havana is really where it’s poppin! This is where it starts to make sense, it starts to make sense why Havana continues to attract tourists from all over the world, why pictures from Havana are all over your Instagram feed. You can just see why! Now is the time to ditch the vintage car ride, you’ve had enough of it. It’s time to explore by foot and get lost in the streets of La Habana, where all the magic happens!

We found a lot of things when we walked the streets of Havana but the most prominent ones were the sound of electric music that played as you walked the cobbled streets, many enthusiastic vendors trying to sell you something, great street food and fruit carts and people with a lot of heart.

Tip: Havana has a lot of street vendors and people who will try to convince you to buy something. Be careful not to indulge them too much. We got charged for taking a photo that we had nothing to do with, and a woman pretended to have a baby and took us to a warehouse to get diapers for her child. Turns out, she wanted to buy in bulk to resell. You have got to be wise in Havana!

Bonding with John Lennon at the John Lennon Park, Havana
Shopping for souvenirs to take back home

My new friend, Cocaso- Cutie by the brown door

The two African Girls In Havana, Cuba

“La chicas Africanas” we heard the locals call us as we walked by. Some secretly stole photos of us, while the others who could, walked up to ask for one.

One thing that definitely added flavor to the Cuban experience was the fact that we looked really African. It was hard to miss with our Ankara (a.k.a African prints) and our hair in braids. It made us stand out and opened us up to loads of conversations with the people of Cuba. They were curious to know where we were from, they will touch our hair, ask us for photos and pretty much treated us like princesses.

Having conversations with locals when you travel can really put things in perspective. It’s a chance to learn a thing or two about their culture, while they learn a thing or two about yours. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Other Havana Highlights include:

  • Salsa dancing in the dead of the night at Miramar
  • Watching a live band performance at Casa De La Musica
  • Seeing the statue of Christ monument
  • Exploring the Plaza De La Revolucion
Plaza De Revolucion
Statue of Christ, Havana. I’m getting Brazil vibes from this.

Havana is a truly great place and I am glad to have visited when I did. Not sure words and pictures can do it justice but you will have to see it yourself, so from me to you, Visit Havana soon!

Have you visited Havana before? Did you like it there? If you haven’t, do you think it’s a place you will enjoy? Let me know your thoughts.

Thank you for reading this post and stopping by at my blog. I hope you come back again and again and again. To make sure of that, make sure to subscribe here. I have some really great content coming your way and don’t want you to miss out.

I’ll see you next Friday.

Love,

 

 

About the author

Working Professional by day, Travel Blogger by night. Here, I share my personal life and travel experiences as well as helpful tips to help readers start their own travel journey. Want to talk? Contact me on info@theufuoma.com. Don’t be a stranger!

31 Comments

  1. I’ve been wanting to go for so long now I’m so jealous! I am in love with the bright colours that they have there! Their cars too! Gorgeous.

  2. This is a great post – I adore your photos and it sounds like you were trying to get under Cuba’s skin and learn more about the culture.

  3. Your photos are sooo dreamy, girl! Loving all of the vibrant color in Havana, and your outfits are just perfect to go along with the scenery! You make me want to pack up and get over to Cuba immediately!

  4. Can I photoshop myself in girl?? 😂. What?! These pictures are freaking amazing. They’ve brought Havana to life and for me that’s what a good travel post should do. You and your sister look gorgeous too. Glad you had fun, babe. Here’s to more wonderfully unique adventures!

  5. Lovely photos, brought back memories ! I went to Cuba on January this year and I agree with you… For me, the colonial capital is a movie set lying somewhere between decay and sparkling beauty. Ah, the faded splendor of decrepit pediments ! The dilapidated buildings, collapsed or just having lost their balconies and roofs over time, and the heavy dust gives Centro Habana a faded side. But the sound of music (salsa, sound, rumba, cha-cha-cha, boleros, etc.) drifts out of half-open windows all day 🙂

  6. 1) you’re one of my new favorite travel bloggers because 2) MELANIN!!!! and 3) your photos just sing…they ooo and dance and glow. Coupled with your writing, you make everyone want to visit wherever you are.

  7. Your pot reminded me of my happy days in colorful Havana! I loved that city so much and I plan to return one day, hopefully next year as a friend of mine just moved there. The vintage car ride on the Malecon was definitely a highlight of the visit to Havana.

  8. Wow what a great article. I loved it. Your pictures are stunning. Now I want to go to Cuba too 🙂

  9. Oh my! I have extensively enjoyed this post! Loved your story and LOVED the photos! I hope to get to Cuba by the end of the year. Thank you for sharing!

  10. This sounds so fun! I love the positive outlook on being recognizably different. I lived in a small town in Korea for 4 years and as a so-white-I’m-basically-clear 5’9 female, got a lot of attention (good, bad, and weird)- and keeping that same positive outlook is so key to keeping the cultural exchange positive and informative! And your outfits are incredible! Perfect for all the different colors and textures in Havana!

  11. Great content. Each lines looks appealing and each picture looks quite unique. I have goosebumps looking at that pink vintage ride and how you could relate with people that stays there. Mostly how must commend how you choose your words while writing, it gives one satisfaction and sense of belonging. Like you said, one must visit Havana themselves. Nice!

  12. Great pictures and looks like you had a lot of fun. Cuba looks like such an amazing place. I just hope our government lifts the travel ban sooner than later for Americans. Though it doesn’t look like that will be soon with our current chief.

    1. Thank you and I hope so too!!! Fingers crossed for all of you in America. Experiencing Cuba (and other countries) shouldn’t have to be put on hold due to a government regulation.

  13. I had a huge smile on my face while reading this post. I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba and dance salsa all night long lol. Havana seems like such a happy place. Love how the locals embraced you both, it’s very warm and welcoming. And your outfits on the trip, so gorgeous. Love all of them. Beautiful pictures, would love to visit some day. My travel list is so long ehn, God help me. xx
    Coco Bella Blog

    1. Thanks Demilade for the compliments. Havana is definitely a happy and vibrant place and I hope you visit soon. Girl, tell me about it. My travel list is never-ending but with everything else in life, it is one step at a time and we will get there.

  14. Hahahah the pregnant girl got to you too? Me too! But I stood my ground. She told me it was 10cuc for the diapers and in the end it was 13 something. So I told her choose something else for that 10 cuc. So she chose cooking oil. But after that every pregnant girl that greeted me I ignored big time!

    1. Haha! Yes she got me but not my money. I was willing to help until I saw that she was just about to scam me. The hustle in Cuba is real.

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