To visit the valley just outside Trinidad you can take a taxi-tour for 20 cuc or the train (which doesn't run everyday). It's beautiful.
In Trinidad stay at Ruth's, she is very friendly gives you huge portions if you have dinner there.
Ruth Martin Rodriguez: c/ Frank Pais 38 ( 01 ) 419 4396
Restaurant reviews of Havana inevitably mention the Floridita, where Hemingway sank an epic number of Daiquiris and it is this - rather than the cuisine or value-for-money - that is its primary claim to fame (the same applies to the Bodeguita del Media but in that case it was an epic number of Mojitos). If you were to order a pizza at the Floridita what you won't realise is that these are made in the kitchens of Il Gentiluomo, which it adjoins round the back.
Far better to go there to start with, watch your pizza being made and ideally be entertained by a fabulous quartet while you're waiting (just as well as the service is fairly glacial; ask them to play 'Oye Como Va' or 'Chan Chan', rather than the more stereotypical fare). You'll save 30-50% over the Floridita's prices and be able to see what you're eating!
behind El Floridita, on Calle Obispo
This is a cheap pizza place (less than 1 CUC for two pizzas) but the experience is even better than the price. You have to pluck up the courage to stand in the middle of the road and shout up your order (in Spanish) to a face hanging out over a balcony on the roof, three stories up.
You then wait with all the locals until your pizza is lowered down to you in a basket attached to a Heath Robinson style pulley system. You then swap pizza for money and the basket goes back up. If you need change then the basket is lowered back down and money is distributed fairly under the command of the man on the roof pointing at you and shouting “Seven pesos!' The pizza is good too, if a little oily.
In the Vedado area. On San Rafael, near the junction with Infanta - look for the crowd of people standing in the middle of the road then look up
The Nacional - where else would one stay? The perfectly concocted mojito served on the terrace with the warm breeze off the Gulf of Mexico was a travel moment to savour. Also Hotel Ingleterra is a safe, central bet. Unlike most places in Havana it has the merit of not being on the Ernest Hemingway circuit.
Newly renovated hotel in the middle of the old town - beautiful old courtyard and rooms. Not cheap, but costs less and is much nicer than something like the Nacional - and a good option if you need to book a hotel for the first few nights for visa reasons. Staff are a bit Fawlty Towers but it's quite atmospheric and comfortable. Big cigar shop, and peacocks, for some reason.
Calle Mercaderes, Habana Vieja.
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