The tour began at 2pm and we were promptly picked up by Yosel and his driver Ronald in an orange 1950's Chevy at the Hotel Nacional. Prior to pick up Yosel called our room to ensure we were all set for our tour. He greeted us all inside, quickly went over the plans for the day, and we were off on our adventure (our group, above).
Havana’s Fusterlandia: Cultural Mosaic Infusion From Jose Fuster
He was also known as the Caribean Picasso; Fuster turned this Cuban neighborhood into a magical land of mosaic creations. The whole head-turning block is filled with colors, and bold mosaics everywhere; embedded onto fences, roofing, doors, even street poles! As we finally pulled up to the entrance of the Fusterlandia, it was so impressive we all had our cameras ready to snap the beautiful artwork! The main gates were an immediate invitation to a fantasy world and Yosel provided us with a lot of information about the neighborhood and the artist himself.
Hemmingway's House: Finca Vigia
Finca Vigia is located about 10 miles from Havana in the small, working-class town of San Francisco de Paula. At this beautiful house, Hemingway wrote two of his most famous novels: For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. After he died in 1961, the Cuban government took ownership of the property and now it stands as a beautiful preserved museum. To enter the grounds it costs $5 CUC and worth checking out how the it was incredible property how they turned this house into a visual monument.
Exploring the Plazas of Old Havana
Plaza Vieja, San Francisco, Plaza De Armas and Cathedral
La Habana Vieja, or Old Havana, is the historic heart of Cuba’s capital city. Full of color and personality, it has a mix of historic buildings, museums, shops, churches and lively plazas. With a breathtaking atmosphere and a sense of community our group found a lot of great outdoor restaurants, fascinating locals, and some amazing churros!
Prado Boulavard and the backstreets
Known as the Paseo del Prado, the Paseo de Martí is a 1 km long boulevard stretching from the entrance of the bay to the Central Park. It is a great place to take a leisurely stroll and observe daily life in Havana. Today, the Prado has a lot of charm and is the place where children enjoy skating, biking, hanging out or playing music. There are also lots of beautiful buildings and hotels around the Prado where you can sit and watch the world go by. Heading towards the backstreets is captivating. Locals are sitting on stoops without a care in the world, hustlers are dressed to the nines ready to compliment you, and prostitutes casually walk to street.
Our group stopped into IBEROSTAR Parque Central and if you like a new world feel and amazing views of Havana on the top floor you need to stop in!
As a first time American tourist in Havana, this tour allowed us to see what Cuba was all about. Yosel, prides himself on photography and he captured some amazing shots of our group that we will cherish forever. 100% recommend this tour and experience. Any inquiries please contact I LOVE CUBA link below!
Yosel Vazquez: Photo Tours
Photography taken by Yosel