We are taking a break until after the COVID pandemic ... but watch this space!
Havana’s 5 best home-delivery restaurants
We are living in difficult times around the world with the spread of COVID-19. So far, the situation in Cuba...
This rooftop terrace of San Isidro is exceptional.
5 Montecristo cigars that we like the most
Montecristo was one of the leading brands of the recently Habano Festival. The popular brand celebrates its 85th anniversary this year. These are some of the Montecristo sticks that we like the most.
Havana’s 10 best casual spots
Here are 10 cool and casual places that we are sure you will love.
A Beautiful, Boutique B&B: Vedado 5ta y 8
There are only things to love in this boutique luxury accommodation option in Havana. With just nine guest rooms, this...
Havana’s 5 best exotic food restaurants
If you are in Havana and have had a little bit too much of the local cuisine, fear not –...
Michifú: glamorous spot in Centro Habana
It’s easy to imagine large groups of friends having drinks and sharing stories in this glamorous bar-restaurant. Located in Centro...
Havana’s 5 best rooftop restaurants
With a great climate year-round, Havana is the quintessential outdoor city with many cool rooftop restaurants and bars. Most hotels...
Totó e Peppino
Totó e Peppino is a small, cozy and conveniently located Italian restaurant in Havana with an elegant, discreet and clean...
Havana’s 7 best new restaurants of 2019
Havana is growing significantly as a gastronomic destination. Every day we see improved service and last year many new restaurants...
Best restaurants to eat roast pork in Havana
December is a bad time to be a pig in Cuba. Steaming dishes of roast pork cover every Cuban table...
Our new printed guide is already on the streets of Havana!
Our new printed guide of top recommendations is already on the streets of Havana. In this eighth edition we carefully selected the...
Aguacate 11: Havana’s first, best and only Mexican restaurant
Aguacate 11 is now the only Mexican restaurant in Havana. It doesn’t have a single competitor. But even if other Mexican...
Havana’s fashion awakening: 3 stores you have to visit
Cuba’s fashion world is expanding rapidly. Several designer clothing stores have emerged in a very short space of time, giving...
3 of the best Cuban contemporary art galleries to visit
If you are interested in knowing a little about what is happening in the contemporary Cuban art scene, here are three young independent Cuban art galleries that have attracted attention recently.
5 TOP CUBAN RUMS
Great rum is synonymous with the Caribbean, and nowhere is rum more famous than in Cuba. Centuries of tradition, a renewed...
Exquisite Arabic food at Amir Shisha
An interesting and exotic restaurant with exquisite Lebanese dishes...
4 delicious Cubay rums to drink now
Nobody makes better rums than the Cubans. Here is the latest batch we´re drinking: Ron Cubay Carta Blanca: A clean,...
Clandestina: The first independent Cuban fashion brand
Clandestina sold his first t-shirt just over four years ago. At that time Havana was going through a period of...
5 unique restaurants rarely mentioned in top lists
Casa Mía Paladar
Casa Mía is a living example of the new Cuban paladar (private restaurants).
The cocktails of El del Frente
You can ask around and everyone will answer the same: El del Frente has the best cocktails in Havana. This place...
Beijing: Best Chinese restaurant in Havana
Havana’s chinese food rediscovers its roots with the new Beijing - almost certainly the best Chinese restaurant in the city
Havana’s 5 best fine-dining restaurants
If you are looking for a more sophisticated alternative, here are Havana's 5 best fine dining restaurants.
5 Gift Cuban Cigars
Here are five great gift cigars that are not too expensive and deliver a great smoking experience.
Nonna Tina: Best restaurant in Varadero
Nonna Tina is a lovely Italian trattoria, cool and authentic...
5 CLASSIC CUBAN CIGARS
Classic Cuban cigars are smokes that have been produced and enjoyed for decades, and still deliver exceptional smoking experiences despite...
Jesus Maria 20: Casual, hip and artistic
A new contender for the title of coolest bar in Havana has arrived in San Isidro.
The seventh issue of Havana Insider is out!
With this flyer in your hands, you’ll have no problems navigating this charming yet somewhat disconnected city
Más Habana: a great restaurant that deserves to be appreciated.
It's hard to think of a better location for a restaurant than this, within easy reach of pretty much anywhere in Old Havana.
Color Café: Bar/ Boutique/ Fashion workshop
Color Café stands out for its original approach.
Costa Vino is a small and cozy restaurant with impeccable service and also a serious restaurant, with its impressive wine offerings.
5 Rums locals love
Here are five rums locals love for both their quality and their value.
3 great child-friendly restaurants in Havana
If the thought of eating out in Havana with your toddler means you rarely actually eat out, these places could be your answer
5 Havana’s Top seafood restaurants
Great grills and sublime service - click here to check our latest top 5 list, showcasing the top places to grab a catch in the city.
Lo de Monik: a saving oasis in Old Havana
It can be one of the city’s best experiences: walking through the narrow streets of Old Havana, meeting its people,...
The Rums of Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba rum is produced in the eastern part of the country, an area considered to be the Mecca of Cuban light rum.
Jíbaro: Definitely a new restaurant worth visiting
Jíbaro is located in the neighborhood of San Isidro, one of the most picturesque areas of Old Havana.
5 Luxury Cuban rums
Luxury rum is a growing category in the spirits world and Cuba is producing some of the most exciting examples at the moment.
Doctor Café: A unique restaurant
Doctor Café is rarely mentioned in lists of top places to visit in Havana, but it's a unique restaurant
5 of Cuba’s most underrated beaches (and within 20 km of Havana)
Idyllic palm-fringed beach experiences await just a short bus ride from downtown Havana
Havana’s 5 best breakfast spots
Here are Havana’s 5 top places to have breakfast
Havana’s 5 best Italian restaurants
Whether you’re looking for Havana’s best pasta, pizza or passionate chefs, these top Havana Italian restaurants will have you covered.
La Casa de La Bombilla Verde
If you're not into glamorous cabarets or repetitive electronic music, the Bombilla Verde is made for you.
Havana’s 5 best Cuban food restaurants
These 5 fantastic Cuban restaurants in Havana combine delectable dishes with awesome ambience
Rita & Champagne
Rita & Champagne, an all-white venue with a deep red door, should be high on your list of go-to places.
Havana’s 5 best live music bars
If you're in Havana and love live music, here are five excellent bars to add to your go-to list
5 Havana restaurants with spectacular views
These 5 restaurants take the Havana dining experience to a breathtaking level
Best events and things to do in Havana, Cuba 2019
This year (2019) marks 500 years since Havana’s foundation as a city, so there’s no better time to experience the place in all its celebratory glory
Cuba tornado: Havana bars, restaurants operational
The huge tornado that struck Cuba on January 27 has inspired relief efforts from Havana's top attractions
Underground fun: The Conga Room
For a dark, decadent and delightfully friendly, if slightly surreal, night out in Havana, this late-night Havana bar is close to perfect.
2018’s best restaurants in Havana, Cuba
The most happening city in Cuba is poised for even more creative foodie infusions – here’s our take on the best dining options right now.
Best Cuban Cigars of 2018
James Suckling's 10 best Cuban cigars of 2018 - the smokes that really go beyond all others. Click to reveal the full list.
Our new printed guide is already on the streets of Havana!
Our new printed guide of top recommendations is already on the streets of Havana. In this sixth edition we carefully selected outlets and venues that captivated our attention in 2018. Read on for more and enjoy!
Eme Alfonso plays at the Mella Theater
Renowned Cuban singer and composer Eme Alfonso presents her latest musical album ‘Voy’ to the public in a unique concert at the Mella theater on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 8:30 pm.
Ray of Veggie Sunshine: Camino al Sol
Star dishes include exquisite fresh pasta; complex variations with eggplant; and concoctions with spinach, sweet potato, yucca, millet, rice and whole wheat bread; tasty desserts; and freshly squeezed natural juices.
Delightful breakfast spot: Belview Art Café
Looking for a cool spot with good breakfasts and lunches? Try Belview Art Café!
New Italian Eats in Havana: Al Pescatore
Ideal for large families or business meetings, Al Pescatore showcases a series of Italian culinary delights.
The Go-to Spot for Spanish Food: Toros y Tapas
Toros y Tapas has some of the best tapas in town, hands down. Click to see our restaurant review now!
A New Paladar in Old Havana: 5 Sentidos
The brand-new paladar in Old Havana, 5 Sentidos is the latest talk of the town. Check out our review now!
For stunning sunset views, classic Cuban recipes and carefully crafted cocktails, visit the fine dining restaurant Porto-Habana.
Havana’s best-kept secret: Tocamadera
A laidback restaurant that residents of Miramar don’t want you to find out, Tocamadera is a great lunch spot with gourmet burgers.
Touring the Bay of Havana: Casablanca and Regla
From Old Havana, take the ferry across the harbor to discover the rich history of Casablanca and Regla.
Jama: An eccentric mix of Cuban and Japanese cuisines
Jama is an exciting new restaurant, offering a mix of Cuban and Japanese cuisines in Havana.
Cuba’s Ecotourism is in Full Bloom
Cuba’s ecotourism is booming and stealing the limelight from the other tourist attractions. Nature lovers, don’t miss out.
A new Italian restaurant in Old Havana: Il Rustico
A new Italian restaurant in Old Havana has arrived. Il Rustico is opened with the Sicilian chef Fabio Palazzo, who is...
Festival Spotlight: Havana World Music
Celebrating the best of new contemporary music, Havana World Music (HWM) 2018 was a blast! Click here for all the event highlights.
Otramanera: is quite a distinct dining spot in Havana
Wine lovers, take note. Otramanera’s owner is a Spanish sommelier, who pays special attention to his wine selection. For Cuban standards, the restaurant has an excellent wine list, offering a wide variety of reds, whites and sparkling from all over the world.
The 5th pocket issue of Havana Insider is out!
The fifth issue of Havana Insider is now being distributed in Havana! Grab a copy and read all about the hottest venues and the best Cuban cigars.
Destino: a classy spot for cigar enthusiasts
Destino is an elegant and classy spot, serving an array of classic Cuban plates. Cigar enthusiasts will also love the limited-edition habanos.
Check out: Bar Pazillo
The Cuban troubadours have taken over Bar Pazillo. Featuring renowned artists of the different genres every night of the week,...
El Dandy: Bar, café, art
Part bar, part café and part art gallery, El Dandy is a neat place tucked away in a little corner...
Highly recommended: Cafe Bahia
This charming coffee spot is hidden among the trees of a quiet area in Miramar, just a few steps from...
5 Rare Cuban Rums
When we talk about Cuban rums today, the usuals always come to mind, including Havana Club and Santiago. But...
Top 10 Cuban Cigars of 2017
This year was a very good one for Cuban cigars available in the market. Many of the cigars in...
Marea: Beautiful location by the sea
Marea is the only restaurant in Havana with its own private beach. Located in the backyard of one of its...
Exquisite breakfast at El Café
El Café is easy to miss. Located in Old Havana at one end of Amargura Street, just steps from Plaza...
Beirut: Havana’s first Arab restaurant
Some years ago it was difficult to imagine a succesful Middle Eastern restaurant in Havana, but the Cuban gastronomic scene...
Old School Cigars still bring The Smoke
I started seriously smoking cigars in the 1990s after my first trip to Havana with The Wine Spectator, which was about to launch the American magazine Cigar Aficionado.
El Gringo Viejo: Faithful to the Cuban classics since 1995
This legendary Cuban paladar is located right in the heart of Vedado’s “el Hueco” area. When it first opened in...
Take A Ride to La Foresta
La Foresta is worth the 30-minutes drive from Old Havana to the exclusive Siboney neighborhood. Very close to the Havana...
20 cool things not to miss in Havana
1. SOUVENIRS Clandestina: Villegas #403 e/ Tte. Rey y Muralla, Habana Vieja +53 53814802 This centrally-located shop in Old Havana...
El Templete: One of our favorites
Templete remains one of the best restaurants in Havana delivering excellent fish dishes in a Spanish inspired cooking technique and presentation....
Best location: Efe Bar-Restaurante
Set right in the middle of 23rd Street,"Efe" Bar is a tropical oasis of palms and banana trees that invites you to exchange the city's heat and asphalt streets for refreshing Daiquiris.
Mar Adentro, Havana’s newest restaurant
Just one block off the Malecón is Havana’s newest restaurant, which is putting an emphasis on local ingredients and attentive service.
Pizzas at 5 Esquinas are the real deal
5 Esquinas Trattoria is located on the corner of the peculiarly-named “Sword alley,” a charming cobblestone street in the historic center of Havana. Indeed this is one of the most exciting restaurants in Old Havana. Pizzas here are the real deal and made in wood-fired oven.
La Moraleja gets classic Cuban just right
Located in Vedado just a few steps away from Havana University and “La Rampa”, La Moraleja is a classic Cuban restaurant that gets it right.
Could San Juan be Havana’s best new cocktail bar?
Bartenders at the newly-opened San Juan sling top-notch potions, including a sharp and balanced Bloody Mary and a tropical-haven mango daiquiri.
Buena Vista Curry Club is Havana’s first Indian restaurant
Havana saw its first Indian restaurant open earlier this year and already the kitchen is off to a stellar star.
Lunch on the water at Havana’s Vistamar
You'll be hard pressed to find a better restaurant view in Havana than the one at Vistamar.
A quick bite at Havana’s Cha Cha Chá
After touring the Museum of Revolution, cool off across the street at Cha Cha Chá with a frosty strawberry Daiquirí and a fresh Caesar salad.
Roma is the hottest bar in Havana right now
Music is mostly electronic, a rare genre to find in Havana, and DJs from around the world frequently run the floor.
Roma, the Italian star of Havana’s Miramar
Roma is a lunchtime favorite for out of towners looking for superbly fresh and authentic pasta and for Italians looking for a taste of home.
Dance the night away at the modern Sarao
Though people can take down a cocktail and nibble on some cocktails during the day, this establishment is all about the night life.
With just seven tables, Hecho en Casa dazzles
Eggplant mousaka, plantains rolled in bacon and homemade “Picadillo a la Habanera”(mincemeat) are standouts.
Now Out: Havana Insider Spring/Summer 2017 Issue
Inside you’ll find reviews of top restaurants like Amigos del Mar and Casa Grande and bars like Roma and Espacios.
Themed nights at La Esencia Bar
Themed nights like Diversity Night on Monday and Karaoke Night on Wednesday are worth checking out.
The best barbecue in Havana is at Casa Grande
Chef Jorge Falcó Ochoa runs this “big house” in Cojímar only 7 kilometers from downtown.
The VIP Life at Havana’s Fantaxy Bar
Cuba’s most famous musicians can be seen hanging out in the VIP section at Fantaxy, which parties until 5 in the morning and enforces a strict dress code.
Casa de Julio, a treasure by the sea
Specialties of the house are octopus and the “garbanzos marineros” served in a ceramic pot chock full of fresh shellfish.
Stew for two at Amigos del Mar
How many restaurants in Havana take their best customers on sailboats?
A quick stop at La Farmacia
When the bar takes up as much real estate as the tables, you should know where to invest your calories.
Sweet delights at Museo del Chocolate
Popularity isn’t always an indicator of quality, but the crowds standing in line just off the Plaza del San Francisco are there for good reason.
Espacios is where all the cool kids go
Like so many of Havana's best spots, Espacios is hidden from plain sight set behind what looks like a typical Cuban residence.
Must Visit: The Hotel Nacional de Cuba
If you’re looking for the Havana you’ve seen in movies, this is it.
Video: Behind the scenes at El Cocinero
Fabulous cocktails and locally sourced dishes are served in a dramatic, refurbished factory.
My Top 10 list this year makes a statement: Large, classic cigars like double coronas and torpedos remain some of the benchmarks of Cuba.
Edmundo Dantes Conde Belicoso
This is a cigar that will improve with age. A regional edition for Mexico released this fall.
Diplomatico No. 2
This is a consistent torpedo that always delivers a rich and layered character of tobacco, spice and coffee character.
This is indeed a fantastic smoke. Light coffee and nut flavors highlight the tobacco richness.
Partagas Serie D No. 5 Tubo
The short robusto delivers all the richness and spicy character you could hope for in a cigar.
Decadent and beautiful like the classic Double Coronas from this producer I used to smoke in the 1990s.
Hotel giant Starwood opens in Havana
Starwood’s entry to the market is a promising sign of future partnerships.
The sleek, clubby appeal of VIP Havana
If the city of Oz from the classic movie Wizard of Oz ever had a restaurant and bar, this is what it would look like.
La Terraza de Cojimar, a Hemingway favorite
The story goes that Ernest Hemingway liked to sit at the corner table overlooking the bay off the northern coastline of Cuba.
Now Out: Havana Insider, Fall Issue 2016
We are excited to announce that the third issue of Havana Insider is now out. Inside you’ll find reviews of...
At 7 Dias, dinner and a spectacular view
It's the view that will really call you back. A sleek landing right on the water has picture-perfect sunset views.
Casa Nostra: the pizza hangout we never want to leave
It’s easy to imagine large groups sitting in this open-air pizzeria, downing Cristals, and never wanting to leave.
Partagas Corona Gorda Añejados
I really enjoy the aged tobacco character in this cigar, even though other añejados have been slightly inconsistent.
Into the hidden garden oasis at Habanera
You could miss this understated restaurant that exudes exclusiveness the minute you walk through the gates.
A high-class Italian getaway at Decameron
Dinner for four at Le Cameron might run you close to 200 CUC, but few restaurants in Havana offer the same kind of getaway experience.
La Gloria Cubana Revolution
This La Gloria Cubana, which was made exclusively for the Asian market in 2015, is one of my contenders for Cigar of the Year 2016. I have smoked it several times in Hong Kong and I like it more and more.
A kung pao knockout at Tin Hao
Tin Hao is well on its way to becoming a city-wide destination.
Americans can finally take home more Cuban cigars
The major regulatory change marks the end of the $100 cap on Cuban rum and cigars that U.S. travelers can bring back from Cuba.
Habanos, S.A. announces the 19th annual Habanos Festival
This annual event never fails to attract cigar enthusiasts from around the world.
Supreme tacos and tortillas at El Chile Habanero
The Mexican owner went as far as bringing in a chef from his native country to whip the kitchen into shape. It shows.
Review: H. Upmann No. 2
A legendary smoke that was the talk of Wall Street in the heyday of the 1990s.
This major cigar used to be one of the legends of Cuba in the 1990s, but as we all know,...
Creative classics deliver big time at Ajiaco Café
Tucked along a quiet street in Cojimar behind wooden doors is one of Havana’s most exciting restaurants.
Nazdarovie highlights the deep joys of Russian cuisine
Even the Chinese and Italians could learn a thing or two from the grandmothers in the kitchen.
Cigar Review: Cohiba Panetelas
I have to wonder how many people who smoke these bother to actually focus on the quality of the tiny cigar.
This is a cigar that really starts off mellow and refined with spice, chocolate and vanilla, then turns rich and powerful at the end of the smoke.
Dining in style and sipping Sassicaia at Versus 1900
In a strikingly high-ceilinged 120-year-old Vedado mansion, this stylish second-floor paladar offers competently done international meat, poultry, pasta and seafood dishes that satisfy even if they don't always totally dazzle.
Revisiting El Del Frente, Havana’s King Of Cocktails
We just revisited this newish and slightly more spacious annex of Havana's coolest but enduring "in" bar, O'Reilly 304, just across the street. Their drinks are still some of the very best in a city.
Rum Review: Ron Caney 12 Años
A complex and sophisticated aged rum, delivering rich aromas of dried fruit with notes of cocoa, wood, and tobacco.
Big on Seoul, Havana’s first Korean restaurant, Club Su Miramar, is a winner
Even if other Korean restaurants were around, we doubt they could capture the same magic that we found at Club Su Miramar.
At La Siciliana, A rising Pizza Star Is Born
Cubans are obsessed with eating pizza, and few obsess over making it quite like Ivano at La Siciliana.
This is an amazing short and thick cigar that delivers so much character from dried spices such as cloves and nutmeg to aged tobacco and black tea.
Cuban Coffee Soon To Be Available In The US
Coffee is another sign of changing dynamics between the United States and Cuba. Swiss giant Nestlé SA recently announced its Nespresso division would begin selling "Cafecito de Cuba" single use coffee pods in the United States.
Cuba’s Black Period
I have written in the past about the Golden Age for Cuban cigars, pinpointing the period from 1988 to 1996 when the island made excellent smokes.
JetBlue Announces Direct Commercial Flights to Cuba
JetBlue announced today the first direct commercial flights between United States and Cuba in over half a century.
This is a phenomenal cigar still. It was boxed the year the cigar was launched, 1998. As I wrote in the past, this cigar was originally the special gift that Fidel Castro gave away and only came in unmarked boxes of 100 sticks.
This cigar is from 1996 and shows the glory of Cuban cigars from this period.
Video: Jim Belushi’s Blues Performance At 2012 Havana Cigar Festival
In 2012, Havana Cigar Festival commemorated 520 years of Cuban tobacco in the world. American actor/singer Jim Belushi was among the 1,500 guests that attended the event.
New Restaurants In Havana: Casa Miglis
Today, private restaurants or paladars in Cuba seem to be opening up everywhere in Havana. But you would hardly expect, in the crowded and bustling streets of Centro Habana, to find a Swedish restaurant.
I really enjoyed this cigar in the 1990s, but this one has nothing to do with the brand back then.
New Restaurants in Havana: El Del Frente
If you like O’Reilly 304, one of the coolest bars/restaurants in town, you'll love their newest venture, just across the street.
91 Points|$4.2 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo Joyitas
This tiny panetella has always been a good smoke with a quick espresso, whether you are hanging in the morning in Havana or London or anywhere else.
A spicy and flavorful cigar with lots of black pepper and spice character. Hints of nuts too. Full and intense. Lovely draw.
Restaurants in Havana: La California
La California, a few blocks away from the Malecón in Centro Habana, occupies a 19th century house that was a “cultural center” back in the 1930s.
I have been a long time fan of this long and elegant cigar. In fact, I still have a few boxes of the original release from 1998.
Tequila Review: Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia The Rolling Stones Tour Pick
I have never had such a refined tequila as this. It was first made for the Rolling Stones tour in 1972 and Jose Cuervo sponsored the event.
Download the Havana Insider Print Edition #2
Our second print edition of Havana Insider is now available on the streets of Havana, and via free download on HavanaInsider.com.
Edmundo Dantes Añejo 15 Años
I remember first drinking this rare rum in early 2000 and being impressed. Today, it is a limited production spirit from the distillery of Santiago de Cuba – 3,000 bottles are apparently made every year.
This was one of my go-to cigars in the 1990s as long and elegant cigars were very in fashion.
Santiago de Cuba 11 Años Añejo Superior
The dryness of this rum accentuates its incredible fruitiness and freshness.
Havana Club Rum Tributo 2016
This new rum is very rich on the nose with so much toffee, burnt orange and creme brulee. Full-bodied, sweeter and denser than Union.
Santiago de Cuba 500
Santiago’s flagship blend, from old stocks, is a beautiful dark amber tribute to 500 years of Cuban culture. This rich...
New Restaurants In Havana: Lamparilla Tapas Y Cerveza
This cool new tapas restaurant, opened in early January, is owned by Partagas Cigars' former manager for quality control, Támara Diaz and her husband Alexis Ortas.
I heard a few people from Habanos S.A., the global distribution company for Cuban cigars based in Havana, say that this thick cigar is made for the U.S. market because it is so light in flavor.
This is a very mild and fresh cigar with cedar, light tobacco and dried flower character. Medium body, clean draw.
Cigar Review: Cuaba Divinos
I was surprised how much I liked this cigar even though it is so tiny. I feel like you can smoke it in five minutes.
Cuban Restaurants In Havana: Los Mercaderes
Located on the second floor of a 19th century house in Old Havana, Los Mercaderes is one of the most popular Cuban restaurants in Havana.
Cigar Review: Davidoff 5000
Of course, this cigar has not been released on the market since 1991, but it remains a legend.
This is a brand that has never excited me except when it was first released in the last 1990s. But I don't think the cigars have ever been as good.
Best Spanish Restaurants In Havana: Casa Pilar
Rightly named after its Spanish owner Pilar, this private restaurant or known as paladar here opened its doors three years ago, and is – without a doubt - one of the best Spanish restaurants in Havana.
This cigar is still dominated by the dark wrapper like most limitadas when they are young.
This has always been a go-to smoke for me and it is good just about anytime, with the exception of outside in a breeze!
Italian Restaurants In Havana: Nero di Seppia
Nero di Seppia is an Italian restaurant that opened in June 2015, a new venture from the previous owner (and chef) of La Carboncita - Walter Ginevri.
Great potential in this Trinidad just released at the 2016 Habanos Festival. For now the dark wrapper dominates much of the character with coffee bean and spice character.
We like Obama’s Restaurant – San Cristóbal
You wouldn't expect President Obama to have dinner in a private restaurant on the evening of the first day of his official visit to Cuba - the first in nearly 90 years. But we think he made a good choice. President Obama chose Centro Habana's San Cristóbal - one of our favorite places to eat in the city.
This was a cigar developed with the world's biggest seller of Cuba cigars, Phoenician. The company had a prestigious tasting in Havana in 2015 during the Habanos festival to finalize the blend and wrapper and this is what they finally delivered.
This shows some age now with cedar, spice and sweet tobacco. Very fresh and fine. Full body and very strong for a Por Larrañaga.
2016 Havana Cigar Festival: Event Video
The XVIII Habanos Festival in Havana concluded last Friday with a closing gala that was celebrated in Pabexpo in the residential neighborhood of Siboney.
This was released in 2012 and was the first ever Gran Reserva from Cohiba. It smokes wonderfully now with so much spice and richness.
96 Points|$8.2 CUC
Cigar Review: Partagas Serie P No. 2
I smoked this the afternoon I arrived in Havana from Miami for the cigar festival on March 1. What a great smoke!
2016 Havana Cigar Festival Video: Opening Night
The opening night of the XVIII Habanos Festival (18th Havana Cigar Festival) took place on February 29 at the Viejo Almacen de Tabaco y Madera.
2016 Havana Cigar Festival Kicked Off With New Cigar Releases
The 18th Festival del Habano began on the 29th of February in a bright and warm Havana. The festival took off with the usual press conference at the Palacio de la Convenciones where journalists and professionals from the industry came for a review of the events during the festival as well as new releases and business figures from Habanos S.A.
Havana Insider: Taste The Best Of Cuba
Seven months after its July 2015 launch, HavanaInsider.com continues to lead the field. It is the single most useful website for travelers to Cuba who want to savor the very best the island has to offer. We extend a big thanks to all our readers for their great support and feedback.
92 Points|$8.3 CUC
Cigar Review: Trinidad Vigia
This is a thick and chewy smoke with lots of cedar, wet earth, nuts and coffee. Spicy. Full and so flavorful.
94 Points|$3.4 CUC
Cigar Review: Partagas Short
A long time favorite of mine, especially in cedar cabinet boxes of 50.
U.S. And Cuba Forging Bonds Through Wines
Commercial rapprochement between Cuba and the U.S. seems to be a slow and cautious process, full of sand-traps and regulatory hurdles on both sides.
Obama To Embark On Historic Trip To Cuba In March
The White House announced February 17 that U.S. President Obama would travel to Cuba March 21-22, 2016. This is a political milestone in the measured but steady process of normalization between the two countries.
95 Points|$6 CUC
Cigar Review: Ramon Allones Specially Selected
This is dense and layered with an almost chocolate mousse sensation on the palate.
94 Points|$7.25 CUC
Cigar Review: Punch Punch
So fresh and smooth. I don't understand why more people are not smoking this now. it was the cigar to smoke in the 1990s.
Restaurants in Havana: El Rum Rum de La Habana
The name of this private restaurant in Old Havana may evoke the delicious distillates produced on the island. Or maybe the sound of an old American car engine starting.
Tasting Of Havana Club Union Rum With Cuba’s Legendary Master Blender
We tasted Havana Club's ultra premium Union rum recently in Havana. It's a powerful and amazing expression of an aged rum, blended to pair with a Cuban cigar. The target was the powerful Cohiba Siglo VI.
88 Points|$4.5 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo Media Corona
The only problem with this tiny smoke is that it’s so short that it burns a little hot.
Havana’s Jazz Bar: Valdés Jazz
This small jazz venue located in the middle of Vedado area is owned by one of Cuban jazz giants, Lázaro Valdés.
My Blog: Cuban Wine Market – California Dreaming
It always seems strange drinking bottles of mostly Spanish and Chilean wines in the few restaurants that offer them in Havana and outside the capital. Most often, everyone else is drinking cocktails, rum or cold beers. There is no wine culture in Cuba.
94 Points|$6.3 CUC
Cigar Review: Bolivar Royal Coronas
This is like the old Bolivar style. A powerful and very rich robusto with so much coffee, bitter chocolate and powerful tobacco.
Havana’s Sky Bar: La Torre
This sensational bar, situated on the 34th floor of the tallest building of Cuba - FOCSA, has probably the best views in the city.
94 Points|$12.7 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Corona Especial
Very fine and fresh with cedar, nutty and tobacco character. Medium body, clean and creamy.
Cool Bars in Havana: La Flauta Mágica
Named after Richard Egues, a flute player and soloist in Cuba’s legendary Orquesta Aragón band, who went by the nickname “the magic flute”, this bar is located on the rooftop of a 10-floor building that is right in front of the United States Embassy in Havana.
Hip Bars In Havana: El Emperador
This gem Havana bar located in the iconic FOCSA building, the tallest building in Cuba in Vedado, fits all the criteria Luis Buñuel, the Spanish film director, described except one - music.
Top 10 Cuban Cigars of 2015
HavanaInsider.com has only been online for about six months, but you know that I have been rating Cuban cigars since 1992 - first with Cigar Aficionado magazine and then with my own website JamesSuckling.com starting in 2010.
Free Download For Our New Guide Distributed in Havana!
HavanaInsider.com was launched in July 2015 by JamesSuckling.com, as the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations. It quickly became the go-to reference for visitors to Havana who want to experience the best of an amazing 500-year-old city.
This special edition aged cigar delivers what it is supposed to with an aged tobacco character of almonds and cedar plus hints of subtle spicy character.
88 Points|$13.4 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo Añejados
The first añejados I tried a few months ago unfortunately did not draw very well, yet a second cigar (47 ring gauge by 178 mm) showed lots of spice and wet earth character with a wet mahogany undertone and a silky texture.
Hip Bars in Havana: El Chanchullero
Located in Old Havana on a small street facing Havana’s Capitolio, this privately owned bar resembles more like a cantina
UK Cigar Scene Interview With James Part II
Following James' recent interview with UK Cigar Scene Magazine, a popular London-based online cigar magazine, James shared more of his thoughts on the future of Cuba's cigar industry in this extra bonus video.
Best Restaurants in Havana: L’Atelier
Located in Vedado, not far from the Melia Habana hotel, L'Atelier is a sweet spot of great food, atmosphere, and service that make it a stand-out among Havana's best restaurants.
95 Points|$12 CUC
Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Robusto
Amazing richness and spiciness in this short smoke with cedar, nut and cappuccino character. Nutty and flavorful.
95 Points|$10.65 CUC
Cigar Review: Romeo y Julieta Churchill
This is a classic cigar (7 inches by 47 ring gauge) that should be in everyone's smoking portfolio. I have always liked it for outdoor smoking.
Maximo: Havana’s 100 Points Rum
We have been tasting (drinking) Maximo for years and it is clearly the greatest Cuban rum – and one of...
New Restaurants in Havana: Habana Mia 7
A pleasant restaurant serving international cuisine with crisp modern and contemporary decor.
New Restaurants in Havana: Mama Inés
Located on the lower floor of an restored traditional limestone building with a few tables scattered in the pedestrian street, the food here is mainly Cuban, with pork and fish dominating the menu, which actually changes daily depending on the fresh ingredients available.
U.S. Poll Data Shows Strong Support for Obama’s Cuba Policy and an End to the Embargo
The Atlantic Council, a prestigious Washington DC think tank, just released the results of a recent poll—in four electorally important U.S. "heartland" states—that shows strong support for President Obama's Cuba policy.
Best Seafood Restaurants in Havana: Rio Mar
This seaside restaurant is located off a small bay right where Miramar meets the Malecon and where the Almendares river ends.
A Cuban Architectural Treasure: National Art Schools
The mesmerizing campus of Havana's Instituto Superior de Arte was once the city's premier country club.
The Partagas Selección Privada Edicion Limitada 2014 came into the market this year, and I smoked one in the P&L Club in Hong Kong the other day.
A friend handed this cigar to me the other evening while I was eating outdoors on an island off the coast of Hong Kong called Lamma.
This is a phenomenal cigar released in the United Kingdom this June. It has such depth and richness like the great Ramon Allones of the 1990s.
Havana’s Cozy Lounge Restaurant: Azucar Lounge
Located on the second floor of one of the newly restored buildings that surround the Plaza Vieja in Old Havana, this loud, funky and eclectically decorated lounge-like restaurant commands one of the most envious views of the ancient Plaza Vieja from its terrace.
My Blog: Japanese Whisky Underlies Cigar Smoking Rule
I was thinking about a Japanese whiskey and cigar tasting I did a week ago in Hong Kong at the Red Chamber cigar club prior to a Zachys wine auction on October 31. I said a few words about the cigar, a Montecristo Edmundo, which was My Cigar of the Year in 2014.
Cool Restaurants in Havana: Café Laurent
The hip Café Laurent is located on the top floor of an eclectic building in the heart of Vedado, just a few blocks away from the historic Hotel Nacional. This paladar is refurbished from an old apartment, but one can still have the cozy feeling of dining in a living room.
93 Points|$11 CUC
Cigar Review: Partagas Serie D No. 6
I had a 10-minute break so I decided to smoke a Partagas Serie D No. 6 (ring gauge 50 x 90 mm long). This is a short but thick cigar.
One of the best new Cuban cigars released ...
UK Cigar Scene Interview With James Suckling
James recently did an interview with UK Cigar Scene, a popular online cigar magazine based in London, where he looked back to his more than 30 years of experiences writing about Cigars when working as the bureau chief of Cigar Aficionado magazine.
New Restaurant In Havana: Al Carbón
Al Carbón, a new restaurant that opened only a few months ago in Havana, is a new addition to Havana's fine dining scene. Created by the same owners of the immensely popular Iván y Justo, the restaurant strikes out in a different but equally successful direction, specializing in traditional Cuban dishes cooked over charcoal.
Cigar Paradise: Up Close in Cuba’s Finest Tobacco Region
Cigar Paradise: New opportunity to get an up close experience staying on an estate in Cuba's finest tobacco region for cigars.
Habanos S.A. Launches New Website
Habanos S.A., Cuba’s state company that distributes and markets Cuban cigars, has launched a new website, which according to the cigar company, will provide users better site navigation and more comprehensive information on cigars.
News Round-Up: Obama Meets Castro at UN, Private Jets to Cuba, Mick Jagger Visits Cuba & More
President Barack Obama met with President Raul Castro last week for the second time this year, on the margins of the annual UN General Assembly in New York. This followed steps by the U.S. Administration to further ease restrictions on individual U.S. citizens' travel and doing business in the island country.
Best Fish Restaurant In Havana: Santy
This is hands down the best fish restaurant in Havana. Far from the salinas and commotion of Old Havana, it is tucked away near the mouth of the Jaimanitas river in a fishermen’s village of the same name in western Havana.
94 Points|$8.35 CUC
Cigar Review: Partagas Maduro No. 1
This is a new cigar out on the market from Cuba, and it shows lots of spice, smoked nut and coffee bean character with dry tobacco.
Cafes in Old Havana: Café Bohemia
Café Bohemia offers a light menu that ranges from salads to Italian style panini named after both movie and novel titles.
87 Points|$9.95 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo Open Eagle
This large cigar was not what I was hoping for, showing spicy, slightly young and uncured tobacco character that delivers a rough and powerful flavor.
95 Points|$12.95 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Siglo IV
This is a corona gorda-sized cigar that has always been a little under the radar, especially for the Linea 1492 range.
News Round-Up: Pope In Cuba, U.S. Further Eases Restrictions On Cuba, Verizon Offers Roaming In Cuba & More
Pope Francis just ended his four-day visit to Cuba, during which he met with President Raul Castro and, privately, with Fidel Castro and his family at the latter's home. HavanaInsider was present at the large mass in Revolution Square and noted the enthusiasm of the crowd for the Pope's message of reconciliation and human service.
Cuba’s 2014-2015 Cigar Harvest Best In Recent Years
In one of Cuba’s best tobacco growing areas, Pinar del Rio’s San Luis region, tobacco grower Hiroshi Robaina wakes up every year at midnight on September 21 to check the direction of the wind at his plantation, Cuchillas de Barbacoa.
Havana’s Groove: Piano Bar Delirio Habanero
This spectacular venue, which is located upstairs at the legendary Teatro Nacional in Vedado, offers some spectacular performances anything from trovadores or Cuba’s singer-songwriters to some of the most sought-after salsa ensembles.
A Different September in Havana
September is usually quieter in Havana. Now things are changing and you notice it clearly from month to month. New restaurants and bars are popping up everywhere. Numerous direct flights from the U.S. are arriving full every day, and the number of American visitors is clearly up a lot.
Thematic Restaurant in Habana Vieja: La Imprenta
This restaurant, whose name translates as "The Printer," is owned by Habaguanex, an enterprise of the Havnana City Historian's office. It is located on Calle Mercaderes in Old Havana, one door away from the famous Conde de Villanueva hotel, where you can also find one of Havana’s best cigar shops.
News Round-Up: Pope Francis arrives September 19; Visitors to Cuba up 17% and More!
Visitors to Cuba has increased 17 percent so far this year compared with the same period last year, says the country’s Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero.
Beatles Themed Bar: Submarino Amarillo
The Yellow Submarine, a bar located in Havana's Vedado, owes its name, as some of you might have guessed, to the Beatles’ seminal record - Havana's homage to the British pop band.
Italian Restaurants in Havana: La Domínica
La Domínica, a lovely Italian restaurant facing Hemingway’s Ambos Mundos hotel in Old Havana, is one of the best Italian restaurants in Havana. The food is reasonably priced, and the live music performance really upped the experience.
News Round-Up: Skateboard Diplomacy, Wynton Marsalis’ Historic Cuba Jazz Album, Bitcoin Comes To Cuba
The legendary Jazz musician Wynston Marsalis just released a new jazz album recorded before a live audience at the Mella Theatre in Havana, Cuba. Titled "Live in Cuba", the album explores the connections between American jazz and different types of Afro-Cuban music.
In The Tube
I have always been a fan of tubed cigars, or tubos as they say in Spanish. Tubos are so convenient for carrying single cigars, and they preserve the cigars beautifully.
Café Cantante Mi Habana
Café Cantante Mi Habana is located in the basement of the Teatro Nacional, one of the corners of the iconic Plaza de la Revolución. It is very lively and well-kept, with lots of space for dancing, and some of the hottest, up-and-coming bands on the local scene are often jamming there.
94 Points|$9.15 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Siglo II
This is one of the least popular sizes of the Cohiba Siglo range as a petit corona, yet it offers wonderful light mint, sandalwood and tea leaf, as well as green coffee bean.
Top Cuban Musicians: Roberto Carcassés
Celebrated in popular and jazz circles in Cuba and far beyond, Roberto Carcassés' spirited, innovative style is on full display at Havana's Corner Café in Vedado area.
95 Points|$6.5 CUC
Cigar Review: Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill
This is a cigar for every moment with cedar, light creme and tobacco character. A good cigar for those new to Cuban cigars.
News Round-up: Direct Flights From LA To Havana, Investing In Property In Cuba & More
American airlines could start operating weekly charter flights from Los Angeles to Havana as early as December this year. Plus more stories on Cuban youth and essentials to know for Americans who want to invest in Cuban property in our weekly news digest.
Best Italian Restaurants in Havana: Corte del Príncipe
Corte del Príncipe is an understated and unassuming little restaurant in Playa, one of the best Italian restaurants we've had so far in Havana.
Today’s Special Moment In History
Today marks a special moment in history of the United States and Cuba as the U.S. flag once again unfurls in front of the U.S. Embassy in Havana after 54 years. As a journalist who has been traveling to Cuba on a regular basis for more than two decades, this has left me breathless this morning.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Visits Havana
The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, presided at an official flag raising ceremony today outside the U.S. Embassy building on the Bay of Havana. Read our report and watch the flag raising ceremony here.
One of the quirky bars in Havana, Bar Bohemio has more of a touch of elegance than what the name suggests.
Video: Cuban Cigars From Leaf to Smoke in Two minutes
This video clip offers a beautiful overview of how a Cuban cigar is made--from picking the tobacco at the planation, to curing the leaf, and rolling the cigar at the factory, and, finally, to smoking and savoring a world class cigar. All in two minutes.
Havana’s Classic Vintage American Cars Not Always A Smooth Ride
Vintage Classic American cars in Cuba from the 1950s have become poster images of Havana, but riding one is not always great. Don't be surprised to see duct tape and odd bits of homemade fixtures holding things in place.
Top Cuban Musicians: Gastón Joya Perellada
Gastón Joya Perellada is one of Cuba's finest bass players. At 28, he has already played alongside Cuban piano legends Chucho Valdés and Ernán López-Nussa. A versatile and rounded musician, he has also performed with the Latin American Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of master conductor Claudio Abbado. Watch him perform a masterful solo during a show with the Ernán López-Nussa Trio.
Perfect Combination: Vintage Champagne and Romeo y Julieta
Vintage Champagne and cigars is a great combination. Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal 2002 and Cuban cigar Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill is a great match.
Italian Restaurants in Havana: Il Piccolo
A top Italian restaurant in Havana, Il Piccolo serves some delicious pizzas and pastas, a nice switch from rice and beans.
Top Cuban Musicians: Ernán López-Nussa
Cuba is renowned for its sensual and lively music. Pianist and composer Ernán López Nussa is one of Cuba's top musicians. Read our profile of him and watch his live piano performance.
96 Points|$13.6 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Robusto
One of the great benchmarks for Cuba. This robusto almost smokes itself with such a gorgeous draw and construction.
News Round-up: U.S. Senate Committee Vote In Favor of Lifting Travel Ban, Cuban Ballet & More
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of lifting the travel ban to Cuba, just days after the U.S. and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations on July 21.
97 Points|$23 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Esplendido
This is really a classic cigar that delivers all the richness and finesse of Cohiba.
Italian Restaurants in Havana: La Carboncita
La Carboncita brings Italian flare with all the trimmings to an opulent area in Miramar. It's the most modernly styled Italian restaurant in Havana.
Havana Is Now
U.S.-Cuban relations are improving, but our societies are already close and increasingly linked. Respect can grow on both sides as our people have more direct contact with each other.
Cuban Cigars Are Still the Best
Cuban cigars are still the best in the world. No cigar delivers the unique aroma, special taste, and vivid freshness like a fine Cuban cigar, or “habano” as some Cubans call them.
Don’t Bring Your U.S. Credit Card to Cuba – Yet!
Beginning March 1, 2015, MasterCard officially began handling credit card transactions by its American cardholders in Cuba, the first US credit card company to do so. However, the range of establishmnets accepting credit cards is limited, and many travelers have reported difficulty using U.S. Mastercards.
Cuban Rum: The Basics
Rum went global centuries ago, but its cradle is in the West Indies, and the most famous rum comes from from Cuba.
The Vibe in Havana
This really describes the vibe in Havana at the moment: everyone seems incredibly excited with the prospects ahead of more Americans visiting Cuba.
Is it Safe Visiting Cuba?
I don't think the person who wrote the caption has ever stepped foot in Havana or Cuba. One key reason why Cuba is so safe is that the government’s security is extremely strong and its police force innumerable. However, more importantly, the Cuban people are friendly and do welcome visitors. They also understand how important tourism is to their economy and are looking forward to more Americans visiting following the recent change in U.S.-Cuban relations.
Our First Legal Cuban Cigar
I was in Havana earlier in February for Havana Cigar Festival. Immediately when I landed, I lit a Cohiba Siglo I in the taxi. It's nice to be legally smoking a Cuban cigar after ten years of it essentially being illegal for Americans to smoke them. Nonetheless, in most cases it appears Americans still should not be smoking Habanos.
Havana’s Amazing Dining: The Top Ten
Havana's dining scene is hot, with greater variety and quality than ever. Here are the top ten restaurants in Havana that you should try out.
Top Ten Bars In Havana
Havana’s bar scene is really varied. There are venerable places, steeped in history or associated with major literary figures, such as Hemingway’s favourite, El Floridita. Most of these are state-owned and major draws for foreign visitors.
Stream The Award-Winning Documentary “Cigars: The Heart And Soul Of Cuba”
Cuba is the holy grail for cigar smokers. Stream the award-winning documentary on Cuban cigars to better understand what makes the cigars so special.
La Guarida, one of the first private restaurants in Havana, has become synonymous with fine dining in Cuba.
El Cocinero: Coolest Restaurant in Havana
Clenching the second spot on our Havana's top ten restaurant list, El Cocinero in the residential Vedado is the coolest restaurant in Havana.
Havana's best hotel, Hotel Saratoga in the heart of Havana, opposite the landmark Capitolio, is the place of choice for visiting stars and other VIPs.
O'Reilly 304 in Old Havana probably is the trendiest and hippest restaurant in Cuba at the moment. Its tacos, ceviche and daiquiri are must orders.
El Barrio Chino
The Barrio Chino or Chinatown in Central Havana has become a unique sight in Havana, an essential fabric of the Chinese immigrants' history in Cuba.
Hotel Melia Cohiba
This 22-floor, 462-room Hotel Melia Cohiba in Havana’s Vedado area is Havana’s most luxurious and modern business hotel.
San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal
Located on Plaza de San Francisco in Old Havana, San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal Hotel skilfully combines tradition and modernity.
Cuba has two currencies: Pesos Cubanos, or National Currency (CUP), and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC).
Travel Budget for Cuba
Accommodations and restaurant rates vary considerably, as anywhere. Here is a detailed break-down of travel budget to Cuba.
Guide To Tipping in Cuba
Tipping is always a nice way to show your appreciation for good service. You can tip in both CUP and CUC.
Video: A Visit To Havana Barber Shop
Like many things in Havana, getting a shave is like stepping into a time-machine. While I was in Havana attending the Habano Cigar Festival in February, I couldn't resist stopping by a local barbershop. Where else in the world can you get a shave and smoke a cigar at the same time? Now that's what I call “the good old days.”
Cigar of The Year 2013
Our Cigar of The Year 2013 is the Romeo y Julieta Churchill Reserva 2008. We have loved this cigar since the first time we smoked it in Havana back in 2012.
Café de los Artistas
Café de los Artistas, opened less than a year in Old Havana, is a purveyor of great food and feeling. It serves some great ropa vieja and the best tostones.
Best Beer in Havana
Microbreweries are catching on in Havana, and Cervecería Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y el Tabaco is at the forefront. It serves the best beer in Havana.
Universidad de La Habana
The University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba and one of the oldest educational institutions in Latin America....
Cigar Of The Year 2014: Montecristo Edmundo
Ten years after its official global launch, the Montecristo Edmundo is indeed a phenomenal cigar harking back to the glory days of Montecristo from the 1950s and 1960s.
A Vintage Chart for Cuban Cigars
The bottom line is that Cuban cigars can be bought like fine wines, following the vintage or date on the bottle (wines) or box (cigars). I believe that one can buy Cuban cigars according to the box date.
Tien Tan: Best Chinese Restaurant in Havana
Tien Tan, hidden at the end of Barrio Chino (Chinatown) in Central Havana, is the best Chinese restaurant Havana has to offer.
Fish Restaurants in Havana: El Templete
El Templete, a nautical themed restaurant close to Plaza de Armas in Old Havana serves the best fish and seafood dishes in Havana.
Located in Central Havana just behind The Capitolio, Sia-Kara bar is a gem that has not yet made it onto many tourists’ radar.
Starbien: Best Traditional Cuban Restaurant
People talk about Starbien as being one of the best restaurants in Havana. And, yes, the food is excellent quality.
El Aljibe: Best Chicken
Some people have been berating state-owned Cuban restaurants for shoddy service and bland food. They clearly haven’t been to El Aljibe yet.
Hotel Santa Isabel
Conveniently located on the eastern end of Plaza de Armas in Old Havana, Hotel Santa Isabel is one of the boutique hotels owned by the city's Habaguanex.
When owner Hubert Corrales told us La Esperanza is the “last vanguard of home-styled cooking in Havana,” we were very skeptical at...
A Disappointing Cuban Cigar
We were excited to smoke a vintage Vegueros Especiales No. 1 , but when we took a cool draw off the cigar before we put the lighter to it. IT WAS PLUGGED!
Habana Café, located inside Hotel Melia Cohiba in the heart of Vedado, is Cuba's answer to the ubiquitous Hard Rock Café.
Health Care in Cuba
Cuba has a very sound health care system. Cubans citizens receive free medical care through a national health service.
SERVIMED Pharmacies in Cuba for Tourists
There is a network of SERVIMED pharmacies, which require payment in CUC. Here's a list of SERVIMED pharmacies we compiled for tourists in case of emergency.
Health and Wellness in Cuba
Cuba does not present any unusual health risks to travelers, but visitors should take routine precautions, such as drinking only bottled liquids.
SERVIMED Clinics in Havana For Tourists
There is a network of SERVIMED clinics in Havana for tourists in case of emergency. Here is a useful list.
Cementerio de Colón
The Colón Cemetery has become known nowadays more than a burial ground, but a place that showcases Cuban history and architecture.
La Rampa, which means “the slope” in Spanish, is the last stretch of the famous Calle 23, leading up to the center of Vedado, Havana.
King Bar in Vedado, Havana is definitely ruling the night scene like a king. This is one of the top bars the city has to offer.
Overlooking 17 Street in Miramar, Havana, where old American cars roam by, the atmosphere in Madrigal is unfettered by the bustling on the street.
Sloppy Joe’s Bar
Sloppy Joe's bar was perhaps one of the most luminous and lustrous places along side with Tropicana and Salón Rojo del Capri during the 1950s in Havana.
2015 Havana Cigar Festival in Photos
The annual Havana Cigar Festival kicked off on the morning of February 23rd, 2015. The day took off with a press conference, where Jorge Luis Fernandez Maique, Commercial Vice-President of Habanos, the global distribution and marketing organization for Cuban cigars; and Javier Terres Ercilla, company Vice-President of business development, gave some insight on the sales of cigars around the world. Please click here to read our report on the first day.
Video: Great Cigar Shops in Havana – La Casa del Habano
This is the first of a series of interviews with the different managers of the great cigar shops in Havana. In this video, we talk to Leonerto Pérez Hernández, director of La Casa del Habano at Club Habana.
Video: Great Cigar Shops in Havana – Hotel Conde Villanueva
The store is located in Hotel Conde Villanueva in the heart of Old Havana. Old Havana is the historic centre of the city - the first neighborhood to ever exist in Havana.
Cigar Talk Video: Hiroshi Robaina
Hiroshi is the head of Finca Robaina, the legendary estate where Hiroshi’s family has been growing tobacco since 1845. Hiroshi would not be where he is if it weren’t for his grandfather, the great Alejandro Robaina.
Cigar Talk Video: Hiroshi Robaina – Curing Tobacco
In this second segment, Hiroshi and James discuss the importance of technology in the curing process. The curing of the tobacco is one of the most important parts in the process of making a cigar – it adds balance as well as that beautiful golden copper color to the wrapper.
Salon Rojo del Capri
Once the cabaret salon of the luxurious Capri casino, Salon Rojo del Capri remains one of the classic spots in Havana’s nightlife.
Casa de la Música
La Casa de la Música de Miramar has been continuously delivering some of the hottest salsa performances in Havana since...
La Zorra y el Cuervo Jazz Club
La Zorra y el Cuervo, a subterranean, cramped, smoky jazz club is the epitome of the genuine jazz joint –think of the Village Vanguard.
Many people are surprised to find there is a museum in Cuba dedicated to the French emperor Napoleon, and that wouldn’t...
Museo de Artes Decorativas
The Museo de Artes Decorativas (Museum of Decorative Arts) is a work of art in its own right. The site is the original residence of María Luisa Gómez Mena, a wealthy patron of Cuban artists. Built in 1927, the sumptuous, French Renaissance-inspired mansion was designed by French architects P. Virad and M. Destugué. The residence was claimed by the Cuban government in 1964 and became what is known as today - the Museum of Decorative Arts.
Museo del Ron Havana Club
This is a stop that visitors to Cuba have to make. Otherwise, what’s the point of visiting a country that is famous for its national drink - rum? Opened in 2000 by the country’s most famous rum brand Havana Club, the museum uses visuals and models to guide visitors through the whole rum-making process, from harvesting at sugarcane plantations to the final bottling process.
Cuban’s devotion to ice cream is almost religious, and there’s good reason why Coppelia is popularly known as the “ice-cream Cathedral”.
Hotel Nacional’s striking architecture, commanding seaside location on the Malecón in Vedado, Havana and retro feel make it a natural draw. The hotel has soul.
Tropicana, a legendary cabaret that first opened its doors in 1939, remains to this day one of the classic spots in Havana’s night life.
El Floridita is an institution in Havana for its daiquiri and its association with the towering literary figure Ernest Hemingway.
La Terraza: Best Barbecue Restaurant
La Terraza is inarguably the best barbecue restaurant in Havana. The smoked pork chops in pineapple sauce, barbecued ribs and...
Ivan & Justo
Ivan & Justo is a place where you can’t get in without a reservation. We chanced it twice, each time we were politely turned down by the doorman downstairs.
2015 Havana Cigar Festival: Day I Video
The first day of the 2015 Havana Cigar Festival took off a with a press conference at the Palacio de las Convenciones in Havana, where Habanos’ business development vice-president Javier Terrés Ercilla and commercial vice-president Jorge Luis Fernández Maique commented on the new releases as well as the company’s relevant commercial information.
Galería Villa Manuela
Under the influential Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), Galería Villa Manuela in Vedado, has been pushing the boundaries...
2015 Havana Cigar Festival: DAY II & III
On the second day of the 2015 Havana Cigar Festival, the press and participating guests had the opportunity to visit some of the top plantations in Vuelta Abajo, recognised by many as the best tobacco region in the world.
Bella Ciao: Best Italian Restaurant
Bella Ciao, a lush Italian restaurant deep in the Miramar area delivers stellar classics that stay faithful to their Italian roots. With outdoor seating under a roof of green ivies and trees, there’s a casual atmosphere that plays nicely off the classic austerity of many of the dishes on the impressively packed menu.
Casa de la Música
Located in Central Havana, it is often referred to as “La Casa de la Música de Galiano” to differentiate it from its Miramar analogue.
Robustos: Partagas Vs. Hoyo
A taste-off between two top Cuban cigars - a Partagas Serie D No. 4 and a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2. See which one wins.
Opened in December 2009 by a Spanish art aficionado Concha Fontenla, this spacious art gallery on O’Reilly Street in Old...
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
The magnificent Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) is a showcase of world and Cuban art, setting Havana's tone as a major art city.
At a quaint paladar like Doña Eutimia, offering hearty Cuban food at extremely reasonable prices, foodies beat a path to this top Cuban eatery.
La Bodeguita del Medio
La Bodeguita del Medio in Old Havana, popularized by Hemingway has never seen a shortage of patrons. If you want mojitos, this is the place.
Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 12 Años
Some rancio, butter and dried fruits here. Caramel too. A full-bodied rum with a dense and rich mouthfeel. Soft and...
Meliá Habana Hotel
Located in the upscale Embassy neighborhood of Miramar, the Meliá Habana Hotel is unquestionably one of Havana’s better hotels.
97 Points|$9.65 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo No.2
I smoked a number of these current production torpedo cigars and they were all fabulous. I forgot how great the cigar can be since I seldom buy them myself.
Cuba Travel Insurance
Visitors to Cuba (including Cubans living abroad) are required to have medical insurance adequate to cover medical expenses that may arise while in the country. Travelers may be asked to show proof of such upon arrival, and should check with their insurance companies beforehand to confirm coverage.
Havana Club Selección de Maestros
Very clean with a sherry barrel sort of aroma. Floral. The lightness and oak barrel treatment here gives this rum...
Corner café comes alive during the night when hip young Cubans converge in this pub for live music performances, DJ jam sessions and sultry jazz dancing.
93 Points|$6.9 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Siglo I
I love Cohiba in the morning. This tiny cigar – four inches long by 40 ring gauge – packs a lot of flavor for its size. Great smoke. Great morning smoke.
95 Points|$6.15 CUC
Cigar Review: Partagas Serie D No. 5
I smoked this baby blockbuster Robusto during a lunch outside at a friend's winery. Temperatures were close to 100 degrees fahrenheit, even under the shade of the dinning area. So I wasn't sure it was the right time to have a smoke. But what a cigar!
An urban jungle just under the bridge of Calle 23, the Parque Almendares is located in the heart of the lively Vedado area.
90 Points|$10.5 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo Open Regata
This small torpedo is a bit rough.
Best Cigars Released, Smoked at 2015 Havana Cigar Festival
I smoked a number of new releases at the 2015 Havana Cigar Festival, and the best cigar so far was actually not one of the official releases from Habanos, the global marketing and distribution company for Cuban cigars.
More Great Cigars Rated at 2015 Havana Cigar Festival
A lot of cigars were smoked during the 2015 Havana Cigar Festival, the annual mega-cigar festival in Havana celebrating the greatest of Cuban cigars from February 23 to 28. I smoked and rated just about everything that was handed out during the five-day event that including various dinners, seminars and visits to cigar factories and tobacco plantations.
Fábrica de Arte Cubano
Fábrica de Arte Cubano, an avant-garde artistic bar in Vedado area in Havana, is born out of the initiative of renowned Cuban musician X-Alfonso.
Café Miramar, a sleek jazz Club, located right next to the old Miramar cinema, has recently become one of the hot spots of Havana's jazz scene.
Is Cuba Safe For Individual Female Travelers?
Statistically speaking, Cuba is very safe, with the lowest crime rate in Latin America.
Where Can I Find Convenience Stores And Shopping Centers?
Shopping is not Havana's draw, and travelers should bring an adequate supply, even of such personal staples as toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo.
99 Points|$31.8 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Behike 56
This is very powerful with masses of flavor of walnuts, tobacco and cappuccino. Full and incredibly rich with so much density and length. It goes on for minutes. A cigar to age for years. What a cigar!
Havana Club Añejo Blanco
Very clean fresh and bright. It’s the right choice for mixing drinks whether Havana libre or mojito! Bueno.
How to Get Around in Havana?
Most of Old Havana is eminently walkable - the best way to experience it. Traffic city-wide tends to be light by most urban standards, as few Cubans own private cars.
When Is The Best Time To Travel To Cuba?
Now. If you mean weather,high season is also dry season, and Havana's limited hotels can quickly fill up in this November-April window, when daytime temperatures average in the low 80s.
News Round-up: Cuba’s Record Tourism Surge, Travel Options, LGBT Rights & More
Tourism in Cuba is booming as relations between the U.S. and Cuba continue to thaw. In the first five months alone, the island country welcomed around 1.7 million people, a 15% increase over the same period last year.
Centro de Arte Contemporaneo Wifredo Lam
Founded in 1983 as a tribute to Wifredo Lam (1902-1982), Cuban’s most celebrated surrealist painter, it has grown into an important cultural institution.
Fototeca de Cuba
This art institution was inaugurated on November 15th, 1986, and is best known for its photographic exhibitions. La Fototeca de...
Founded in 1962, Galería Habana is the first art gallery opened after the revolution. It is the country’s benchmark fine art gallery.
José Martí Memorial
José Martí Memorial located on Plaza de la Revolución is dedicated to Cuba’s national hero José Martí.
Plaza de la Revolución
Though Plaza de la Revolución is not particularly distinguished for its architecture or design, the square carries important historical weight for the Cuban Revolution.
I loved this smoke when I first tried it...
Museo de la Revolución
Museo de la Revolución has a large exhibition of photographs, documents and memorabilia detailing Cubans’ struggle for independence and Fidel’s guerrilla revolution.
The resplendent El Capitolio standing solemnly in Centro Habana is one of most iconic buildings in the country. Inspired by...
96 Points|$18.9 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Genios Maduro 5
This dark wrapper Cohiba smells like dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. It's always a great smoke.
I was really surprised by the quality of this...
2015 Havana Cigar Festival: Day V
The 2015 Havana Cigar Festival concluded with a gala dinner at Pabexpo in Havana's Siboney neighborhood. The night was dedicated to to the 80th anniversary of the Montecristo brand. Throughout the dinner guests were entertained by various musical numbers while they smoked cigars handed out after each course.
96 Points|$7.55 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo Petit No. 2
A cool smoke. Great draw already. Burns really great. I like the size. You know the Montecristo No. 2 is a great smoke, but a lot of times you don't have the time.
I loved the white pepper, cappuccino.
93 Points|$8.5 CUC
Cigar Review: Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill
This was better with sandalwood, dried flowers and a delicate tobacco character.
2015 Havana Cigar Festival: Day IV
Day four of the 2015 Havana Cigar Festival saw Phoenicia, the regional distributor of Habanos in the Middle East, continental Africa, Cyprus and Greece, organize a cigar tasting session at El Laguito cigar factory, where many Cohiba cigars are manufactured.
This is a cigar showing very refined cedar.
El Gato Tuerto
Located in Havana’s Vedado, El Gato Tuerto is a dimly lit bar with gleaming furniture, crowned with a small stage and a few tables distributed around it.
Hotel Parque Central
Until the Saratoga was operational this was the best hotel in Havana. This attractive, large (427-room) hotel in Parque Central, opened in the '90s, is one of the newer additions to the city’s roster of top hotels.
93 Points|$4.5 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo No. 5
This little cigar delivers wonderful spice and dark chocolate character. Full body, fresh and inviting.
Five years of tobaco, five years of age...
2015 Havana Cigar Festival: The First Blog
During this year's Havana Cigar Festival, Habanos, the global distribution and marketing organization for Cuban cigars, reported sales of $439 million.
97 Points|$15 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Lanceros
This cigar always delivers such finesse and beauty. Medium-bodied with delight and fresh tobacco character that resembles fresh flowers and cream.
The Parque Central is huddled by some of Havana’s most famous landmarks such as El Capitolio, Gran Teatro de La Habana, Manzana de Gomez and Payret Cinema.
95 Points|$9.7 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo Double Edmundo
A round and velvety textured cigar with...
Havana Club Añejo 7 Años
More caramel than Añejo Reserva. Burnt sugar. This standard bearer of Cuban rum delivers a full body. Lots of caramel...
Gran Teatro de La Habana
There’s no better place to enjoy the pinnacle of Cuban performance arts than in the Gran Teatro de La Habana (The Great Theatre of Cuba).
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús is one of a few Gothic buildings in Havana. It remains the country’s tallest and most beautiful Catholic church.
99 Points|$29.2 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Behike 54
An incredible cigar with great depth and flavor. Peppermint, maciato, and cream. The texture is truly superb. Full and flavorful. Goes on for minutes. What a cigar!
93 Points|$5.55 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo No. 4
This at one time was the biggest selling premium Cuban cigar in the world. It was synonymous with Cuban cigars in such countries as Spain.
94 Points|$24 CUC
Cigar Review: Montecristo A
This is a long cigar (47 ring gauge by 235mm). I haven't smoked it in years because it takes so long. But it's a rare cigar.
Hotel Conde Villanueva
The former residence of Count Villanueva was turned into a courtyard-style boutique hotel in Old Havana in 1998. One of the 20-odd hotels run by the city’s hotel brand Habaguanex, the nine-room hotel has a red façade that opens up to a lush courtyard. A café is hidden in the back of the courtyard, where free-roaming birds and peacocks amble lazily. The lobby and reception are well furbished and the front desk staff are more than willing to provide suggestions for visiting Old Havana.
El Palenque: Havana-Style Food Court
El Palenque, a large Havana food court, a local institution, stands out as an unpretentious and authentic eating spot that that attracts a large number of Cuban families and foreigners.
94 Points|$6.3 CUC
Cigar Review: Bolivar Royal Coronas
I am a big robusto smoker and this is a robusto that many seem to overlook, but it is consistently outstanding quality. The 50-ring-gauge thick by 4.8-inch long cigar delivers plenty of spicy and cappuccino like character. A beautiful smoke.
Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Años
Incredibly clean, gorgeous and aromatic. Shows subtelty and finesse in the nose from real wood aging. Extremely rich and layered...
The balance to this cigar is phenomenal...
96 Points|$8.45 CUC
Cigar Review: Partagas Serie E No. 2
The thick 54-gauge smoke is a force of nature and delivers plenty of spice and intense flavors. This is the bomb.
98 Points|$21.1 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Behike 52
The smallest of the trio of Behikes, this 52 is one of the best I can remember smoking. I usually prefer it the least.
98 Points|$20.5 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Siglo VI
As I wrote already, it’s one of my all-time favorite Habanos and constantly delivers rich character of tobacco, leather, cedar, and cocoa as well as an underlying mineral or minty flavor.
La Fontana: Best Grilled Food in Havana
Established in 1995, around the same time as La Guarida, La Fontana in Miramar endured through the years and worked...
94 Points|$6.95 CUC
Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2
Balanced and harmonious with cedar, light coffee, cream and light spice. Long and flavorful. This never disappoints.
93 Points|$6.95 CUC
Cigar Review: Partagas Serie D No. 4
This is the most popular premium cigar sold in Cuba to visitors. A spicy smoke with cappuccino and cinnamon character shows the richness and balance I expect in a Serie D.
I have been a little disappointed.
Café del Oriente: Best Burger
This is one of the most upscale restaurants in Havana, located in Plaza de San Francisco in Habana Vieja (the very professional and jacketed waiters traded off-street salsa with classic live piano performance). The decor is striking and grandiose; you'll regret it if you dress down.
Mediterráneo: Best Ingredients
In a short span of two years since its opening in 2013, Mediterráneo has already amassed a loyal following among Havana foodies and visitors. The restaurant’s overall environment is agreeable: Mediterranean blue and white decor, spacious, airy, attractive and modern.
Ron Varadero Anejo Gran Reserva 15 Años
A dense and fresh deluxe rum with aromas of dried fruits, light toffee and citrus fruit such as oranges and...
This was a big surprise for me.
O’Reilly 304: Best Gin & Tonic and Daiquiri
If you are pressed for time and have to pick one place to go for great food and drinks, make it O’Reilly 304, a hip and trendy bar in Old Havana.
Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 25 Años
Intense aromas of caramel, candied fruit and cedar. Amazing depth and richness, this subtle yet rich rum has breathtaking depth...
94 Points|$21.1 CUC
Cigar Review: Cohiba Piramides Extra
This torpedo was launched in 2012. It's a gorgeous smoke with a layered, cream texture with cedar, tobacco and white tea flavor.