Most tourists fly into Havana, the capital of Cuba. Beyond the stifling summer heat and lively, gritty streets, Havana is simply put…BEAUTIFUL. Tall, historic buildings that serve primarily as small homes line the narrow streets of Havana Vieja. Rotund, topless men and skinny, mid-drift adorning women can be found lingering on the sidewalks in front of their shabby homes at sunset, avoiding the oven-like atmosphere in their living rooms. No Spanish colonial square in South America can compete with Havana Vieja, and the consistent live music is icing on the cake.20150815_084143

But despite all its glory, scammers lurk the streets to take advantage of the first day of the eager tourist.  As sad is it sounds, any friendly local in Havana or any other major city in Cuba has one purpose: to trick you into giving him or her money. Havana ended up being a difficult city to enjoy after politely excusing ourselves away from so many scams, but once it was overlooked, it became easier to appreciate its beauty and rawness. My favorite activity in Havana was roaming around the narrow streets of gorgeous architecture, and gazing upon the hustle and bustle of city life from my Spanish colonial balcony. Of our 20 days, we spent 5 nights in Havana.

In the streets:IMG_3617IMG_3659IMG_3688IMG_3667

The National Capitol Building (unfortunately under renovation at the time):IMG_3983

Che art can be found everywhere.IMG_4008

Souvenirs: IMG_3627

Plaza de Armas lined with old books:IMG_3629

Havana’s first neoclassical building, El Templete:IMG_3631

Castillo de La Real Fuerza, a fortress that is now a maritime museum:IMG_3635

Plaza Vieja:IMG_3649IMG_3645

Street food time! Pizza, fresh juice, coffee, all for just a few cents.20150816_090858IMG_3988IMG_3989

A favorite of locals and tourists, strolling along the Malecon at sunset:IMG_3662 IMG_3665

Live music everywhere!IMG_402820150729_183255

The famous Che Guevara mural at the Plaza de la Revolucion:20150730_121926DCIM105GOPRO

Touring around Havana in style:20150730_173007 20150730_183152DCIM105GOPROIMG_3677

A historic day, the U.S. Embassy in Havana, less than 24 hours after it reopened:20150815_104104IMG_3997

Our first three nights in Cuba were spent in Havana, and having just arrived to Cuba, we couldn’t wait to get out of it to the countryside of Viñales. However at the closure of our trip, after learning just how much more difficult the rest of Cuba actually was, we couldn’t wait to return to Havana to spend our final nights.

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