Vida en La Habana
It’s crazy to think that an entire month has already passed by, there is still so much I want to do. In the short time that we have been here, we’ve tried a lot of the local food places around our residence as well as trying to see as all the museums and cultural events around the city.
Our house provides us with a really nice breakfast and dinner every day, but getting lunch is up to us. El jardín del Edén on calle C between 17 and 19 has the best milkshakes. Our IFSA director took us the day we arrived, and now I’m addicted. I have to go at here at least twice a week to get ropa vieja (pulled pork) with a batido de plátano. Doña Laura, on calle H between 23 and 21 has also been a really popular place to go. Even though it always looks packed, their food is amazing and the food comes out extremely fast for how many people are always there. If you want tacos, El Burrito Habanero on 23 is also really great. It’s also nice that all of these places are priced in Cuban pesos (24 CUP/U.S. dollar), so you get a ton of food for 1 or 2 U.S. dollars.
The other currency used here, the CUC (1 CUC/U.S. dollar), is usually used at more touristy restaurants, museums, shows, and for club entrances. Since a significant amount of the country’s money is made through tourism, many places here have a tourist or resident price. (Tourist paying significantly more) In being a student here, we are able to receive a temporary residency card, allowing us to avoid paying tourist prices for anything around the city. This makes it very easy and inexpensive for us to see everything Havana has to offer. So far I’ve been able to see Rent at the local theater, Swan Lake at the National Ballet, and I still haven’t been to half of the museums yet.
So even though IFSA helps us through planned programs throughout the city and around the island, it is extremely easy to find places to see or eat throughout the city on your own. There are so many things out there beyond the typical guidebooks, you just have to look out for them.