magazine - Havana Club

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magazine - Havana Club
lahabana. com
magazine
lahabana
The
US - CUBA
magazine
travel issue
FROM GRINGO TO GUEST
JUN
JUN 2016
INCLUDING GUIDE TO THE BEST PLACES TO EAT, DRINK, DANCE AND STAY IN HAVANA
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JUN 2016
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LA HABANA.COM is an independent platform, which seeks to
showcase the best in Cuba arts & culture, life-style, sport, travel and
much more...
We seek to explore Cuba through the eyes of the best writers,
photographers and filmmakers, both Cuban and international, who
live work, travel and play in Cuba. Beautiful pictures, great videos,
opinionated reviews, insightful articles and inside tips.
magazine
HAVANA GUIDE
The ultimate guide to Havana with detailed reviews of where to
eat, drink, dance, shop, visit and play. Unique insights to the
place that a gregarious, passionate and proud people call home.
HAVANA LISTINGS
MAY 2016
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newest Master Class Chivas Champion; and
a cultural project that embodies the Golden
Age of Cuban music: the Tradicionales de los
50.
E D I TO R I A L
Any US citizen can come to Cuba…just don’t sit on the beach!
There’s no question about it: Cuba has bewitched Americans. The Island is
crawling with American visitors taking advantage of the relaxation of US travel
restrictions.
Following the historic joint decision by President Barack Obama and President
Raúl Castro on December 17, 2014 to reestablish diplomatic relations between
Cuba and the US, many things have happened, and increased travel has been one
of them. Gaining permission from the government once required preapproval
from OFAC as well as a detailed itinerary of the group you were traveling with.
Now Americans wishing to travel to Cuba need only check the right box on a
visa form at the airport and can travel solo. The figures speak for themselves: the
arrival of American visitors to Cuba showed a growth of 94% in the first quarter
of 2016 alone.
So, in keeping with our June US Travel to Cuba issue, Jauretsi gives us her
impression in Seeing Cuba through the Eyes of an American as well as her Top 5
Things to Do in Havana. Another group of US travelers tells of their experiences
in Cuba and how they have gotten hooked on this “exotic, frozen-in-time” island.
Read about who is the most famous American to have visited Cuba, Americans in
Cuba throughout history and how the word “Yuma” came to be synonymous with
“American”.
Elsewhere, learn about AM-PM 2016, a project that is driving Cuba’s musical scene;
a bit of history on the only open-air cabaret in the world: the famous Tropicana; the
The official proclamation of Havana as one
of the Seven Wonder Cities of the Modern
World will take place June 7 at La Punta
Fortress at 7:30pm. Then walk down to
Plaza Vieja for a riot of cultural activities
that will take off at 9pm, and be sure not to
miss the closing ceremony on the corner of
Prado and Neptuno, across Parque Central,
with the performance of one of Cuba’s oldest
and most famous popular music bands, the
Orquesta Aragón.
Other events include the IV Encuentro
de Jóvenes Pianistas (June 2-29) with a
Cuban and international lineup, Festival
Internacional Boleros de Oro (June 22-26),
and AM-PM (América x su Música) 2016
(June 13-19)
And for fishing aficionados, start getting
your gear ready for the 66th Hemingway
International Billfishing Tournament (June
13-18) which promises to break attendance
record.
Abrazos! The LaHabana.com Team
About our new look
This month we have introduced a new design and feel
to La Habana Magazine. We hope you like it – your
feedback is appreciated. In the coming months, we will
bring online weekly updates on what to see and do in…
La Habana.
JUN 2016
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CONTENTS JUN 2016
US Travelers
to Cuba
An American gets swept off
her feet
My top 5 things to do
in Havana
06
09
Until Next Time Havana
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Aplatanado in Havana
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Taxi
19
Old Havana: Mojitos and
music still the strongest beat
23
Seeing Cuba through the Eyes
of an American
26
The Adonia: Blazing the trail
29
American visitors galore
31
Papa Hemingway
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Leaving for Yuma
Tropicana: So many
yumas can’t be wrong
AM-PM 2016
Driving Cuba’s Musical Scene
Tradicionales de los
50: Embodying the Golden
Age of Cuban Music
Reynier Rodríguez:
Master Class Chivas Havana
2016 Champion
Havana Listings
VISUAL ARTS
PHOTOGRAPHY
DANCE
MUSIC
THEATRE
FOR KIDS
EVENTS
Havana Guide
FEATURES
RESTAURANTS
BARS & CLUBS
LIVE MUSIC
HOTELS
PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION
JUN 2016
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By Katherine Dobbs
AN AMERICAN
A new outlook on life, a few serious
sunburns, a Cuban boyfriend and hundreds
of mojitos later (don’t judge!), I am back in
my home base of classy Charleston, South
Carolina, USA, alive and well but with an
unquenchable thirst for a return trip to
Cuba.
BY CUBA
I cannot even begin to tell you the fullfrontal sensory experience that Cuba has
to offer: experiencing the strength and
revolutionary spirit of the Cuban people,
eating heaping piles of savory rice and
black beans for almost every meal, dancing
to reggaeton and sipping on sweet and
flavorful Cuba Libres (Rum and Coke mixed
drinks!), swimming in brilliant turquoise
oceans, feeling the beat deep in your chest
of the pulsing music and sound that comes
out of the city from every corner, and cat
calls from every guy over the age of 10—Cuba
took me by surprise and left me wanting
more.
GETS SWEPT OFF HER FEET
photos by Huberto Valera Jr.
It is a beautiful place—hauntingly so. Never
one to stick to the main tourist traps, I
immediately found my happy place in the
back streets of Old Havana and nestled
myself into the daily life of this incredible
city. I lived for the smells of street food, the
sounds of the bustling city life, dodging out
of the way of the constantly whizzing-by
like it’s the Autobahn vintage Chevrolets,
and the warmth of the Cuban people that
greeted me at every turn. The buildings
are crumbling—or at least the ones on back
streets out of the main sight of tourists,
and they are decorated with Che murals,
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revolutionary quotes, and Hasta la victoria
siempre (Victory forever) in as many bare
spots as the city’s muralists can find. Many
of the main buildings, El Capitolio (the
Capitol) for instance, and the beautiful
colonial architecture lining the worldfamous walkway along Havana’s shores, the
Malecón, have been gorgeously preserved
and renovated. However, there is another
side to the infrastructure there in Cuba, but
it is a side that seemed to connect with me
in a very personal and beautiful way. I found
myself imagining the stories of all who had
walked through those chipped doors, stood
on the balconies seemingly perched by a
few bricks. Looking at the architecture of
Havana is like being on a treasure hunt: you
honestly could never imagine what you will
uncover while exploring.
That being said, I came to love that city
with all my heart. I was visiting Havana on
a study abroad trip: yes, twelve college-age
Americans studying abroad and roaming
the streets of Havana. We quickly became
like family with our Cuban professor and
his neighbors, friends, and family. College
students in Cuba are exactly like my friends
at home—they love music, parties, and
hanging out with friends. I hate to admit it,
but my new friends probably were more well
versed in American pop culture than I was!
After classes were done for the day, we
would all meet up with our new friends,
and that is when the real experience
began. Six or seven of us would climb into
a máquina, aka almendrón (the private
taxis of Cuba: vintage Chevrolets, Fords,
driving at the speed of light and no seatbelts
included!), piling on top of each other,
laughing, singing, and excited to begin our
adventures. After haggling with the stubborn
Cuban driver to charge us the Cuban and
not tourist price, we finally would be on our
way. A few things were always necessary
to begin the night. Now, Havana Club Rum
is the best, most incredible rum you can
buy. And we were able to buy bottles upon
bottles for a ridiculously cheap cost, as most
things in Cuba were not very expensive. Less
than ten bucks later, my friends and I were
well outfitted with our provisions for the
night: rum, TuKola (Cuban version of Coke)
and cups.
Flash forward about fifteen minutes of a fun,
blurred taxi ride and we are being scooped
out of a taxi at the Malecón walkway,
ocean waves spraying over the sea wall and
welcoming us to the city’s nightly party.
The Malecón pulses with sound and people
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after nightfall—it becomes a living, breathing entity that could very
well sum up the spirit of Cuba. Young and old, friends and family,
all gather here to meet, greet, drink, and socialize. It is a beautiful,
beautiful party, night after night, requiring no RSVP or invitation, but
welcomes all with open arms and a rebel spirit.
After the Malecón nights, we would go salsa dancing, plain and
simple. There really was no other option—salsa is a way of life in
Cuba. So…if anyone who knows me, knows me well, they know that
I was absolutely hopeless at dancing—and scared to death of it. After
several soul-crushing middle school dance experiences, I gave up
my hopes and dreams of being a gorgeous ballerina. However, a
very special person was able to transform this girl right here into
a regular dancing queen. This brings me to my novio cubano—my
Cuban boyfriend. He is a green-eyed, beautiful, and wonderful Cuban
student who I met only a week after being in Havana. My life would
never be the same. I won’t bore you with the long details, but let’s
just say I fell in love with him, and I think there’s a good chance it’s
leading towards a happily ever after. He taught me to salsa, taught
me to vanish my fears, and most of all taught me how to be myself
in a world where so often you are forced to be someone else. It may
sound exaggerated, but there is no other explanation for how I felt by
the time I left this beautiful country.
I feel like in this day and age, surrounded by politics, chaos, and who
knows what else, we are all just looking for a little bit of happilyever-after in our lives. Therefore, if I know anything for certain, it
is this: when life hands you something good, you take it. This was
my experience in Cuba. I was presented with a constantly moving,
beautifully chaotic, yet peaceful and honest life there, and I decided
it was something worth having. I plan to return to beautiful Havana
soon, to learn more and more about the amazing and strong people
of Cuba and to continue my happily-ever-after, all with a mojito in
one hand and a genuine, true smile on my face.
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TOP
5
1.
3.
2.
TOP 5 STREETS
TO WALK DOWN
MALECÓN - The iconic seaside street is
probably one of the most photographed
streets of Cuba. Driving by is not enough.
Make a note of sitting on the Malecón wall
with a bottle of rum at least once before
leaving Cuba. magazine
PASEO DEL PRADO - Probably
one of the most beautiful treelined promenade streets in the
world. The Prado was home
to the recent Chanel Fashion
show which took place in
May 2016. The calm breezes,
exquisite marble benches, and
deco theaters are reminiscent
of the old-world Bohemian
culture that once inhabited
this street in the early 1900s.
O’REILLY - Most guide books will recommend walking down
Obispo Street; however, I believe the adjacent O’Reilly is
the true beauty walk, and just off the tourist path. At the
tip of the street sits one of Cuba’s young sexy bars called,
you guessed it, O’Reilly. At the end of your walk, visit them
for one of Cuba’s best Passion Fruit Daiquiris. 4.
5 AVENUE - Yes, Cuba has its
own 5th Avenue. Unlike New York’s
5th Avenue, this street is lined
with international embassies and
impressive homes. It also acts as a
spinal cord of roads that leads one
from Miramar to Playa to Siboney. It’s
a feast for the eyes and stroll through
various neighborhoods.
TH
5.
NEPTUNO - Tucked between Habana Vieja and Vedado
districts is an area called Centro Habana. Neptuno
street is a vein of a street that allows a sightseeing
traveler to melt into the neighborhood. For the vinyl
junkies, make a stop at Neptuno No. 408 (at San
Nicolás Street) to pick up some rare albums pressed
by Egrem records (the Motown of Cuba). JUN 2016
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TOP
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“PEOPLE-WATCHING” PLACES
1. PLAZA VIEJA
2.COPPELIA
One of Cuba’s biggest traditions
is waiting in line for ice-cream in
the historic Coppelia ice cream
parlour located on 23rd street,
in front of the classic Yara deco
theater. The circular spaceship
structure is a must visit for
architecture lovers too.
4.
3.BOSQUE de
LA HAVANA
Lush little forest oasis
tucked inside the middle
of the city. The Bosque is
a quiet and sacred spot
overseen by large soulful
Banyan trees. When
visiting, its possible you will
encounter locals giving an
offering to the river under
the Santeria practice.
There is a myriad of
activity in this town
square. Sit at one of the
many cafes or coffee
shops in the area and
relax into the view. FLEA MARKET - Cuba’s Flea Market offers up a
selection of gifts to bring home — revolutionary
posters, vintage timepieces, antique jewelry, rare
books, cuban vinyl, and more. The Plaza de Armas is
also a good place to sit, breathe, and take on all the
visual activity of a bustling market. 5.
FABRICA DE ARTE - The Fabrica de Arte has made
Cuba cool once again to the Millenial mindset. In
fact, all walks of life and age groups take in the city’s
best curated cultural programming of the city — from
concerts to art shows to fashion — Fábrica is “the New
Cuba” incarnate. JUN 2016 10
TOP
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PLACES TO CHECK
WIFI AND WHY?
5. HABANA LIBRE
3. PARQUE CENTRAL
1. HOTEL NACIONAL is 2. HABANA RIVIERA
considered a ground zero
of sorts today. Located
in El vedado, it is a place
to take a meeting in the
breezy courtyard as the
local peacock strolls
by. You can check your
emails, order a sandwich,
change dollars into CUCs,
all while overlooking the
Malecón. - Once known as Meyer
Lanky’s hotel/casino.
Order a drink in the
Lobby bar and take in
the stunning view facing
the Malecón. This venue
allows login through $2
Nauta Cards. Located on
Paseo y Malecón.
- Conveniently located
in the heart of Habvana
Vieja, the Parque Central
has a very happening
lobby, full of New York
or Los Angelinos visiting
Cuba for the week. Its
a nice break from the
outside hustle of Habvana
Vieja if you desire to sit at
the bar and log into Wifi
for just a few minutes.
Note, this bar is 24 hours. 4. SARATOGA -
Saratoga is the Four
Seasons of Cuba. It is a
hotel that offers 5-star
service with a virile wifi
signal to boot. If its good
enough for Jay Z and Karl
Lagerfeld, it should be
good enough for you. The
Saratoga is also located
conveniently in Habana
Vieja and is another fun
meeting place to rub
elbows with the fabulous
in town. - The hotel that once
existed as tThe Hilton
of Cuba pre-Revolution,
this building is an
architectural dream, and
is positioned perfectly
on 23rd Street (one of
Cuba’s main arteries
of transportation). The
cafeteria downstairs
makes a perfect place
to check your Wifi in
comfortable setting while
sitting down at a table,
ordering fresh juices,
and “people-watching”
through the open glasses
corner of the block. JUN 2016
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TOP5
2.
SUNSET VIEWS
1.
magazine
MALECÓN - Sitting on the
Malecón wall is about as
magical as it gets. Bring
a portable speaker and
music for full effect.
MAGIC FLUTE - the
rooftop bar overlooks the
US embassy during the
golden hour.
3.
SARATOGA - The best birdeye view of the city as the
sun sets. Rooftop includes
poolside activity as well. 4.
7 DÍAS CAFE - Located
on a quiet seaside in the
Miramar district, this
space was featured in
the Cuban film “7 Days in
Havana”.
5.
CRISTO DE LA HABANA
- Take a ferry ride to the
other side of the bay, to
Regla. Visit Casablanca
and ultimately the Jesus
Statue to behold one of
the most breathtaking
views of the city.
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UNTIL NEXT TIME, HAVANA
From My Seductive Cuba by Chen Lizra
photos by Ana Lorena
On the afternoon of the last day of my last
two-month visit to Cuba, I found myself in
Centro Habana, walking back to my hotel
following dance classes. To my right were
kids playing with an old ball that hardly had
any air. It didn’t matter; they were having fun.
A mom appeared on the balcony and called
her daughter in. I kept walking; Cuban men
were coming on to me saying sweet things as
usual.
Nowadays, kids play Nintendo or sit and
chat on Skype or MSN. If your mom needs
you, she’ll call your cellphone. The world has
changed a lot, but is it better? I don’t know.
We’ve lost so much of our simplicity for the
sake of comfort and technology. They should
come hand in hand, but in reality one seems
to come at the expense of the other.
Why is it that we want everything to be so
new when the old is so charming? I wondered
if they’d get rid of the old cars when Cuba
changes. I used to come here and be
fascinated with every car. They have so much
character. Now it’s just part of the landscape.
It seems silly to take pictures of them all the
time. But without them, it would feel like
something’s missing. Another thing I love
about Cuba is that no one ever asks how old
you are and classifies you according to your
answer. You just live and enjoy the moment.
Later in the evening I went with Orly—my
talented French-Israeli singer friend who
lives between Paris and Havana—to grab a
bite and share some deep conversation. She
walked me back to my hotel after dinner.
It was really hard to say goodbye. So many
hugs. I just couldn’t let go, so we just stood
there. I looked at her and said, “Orly, where
am I going? I live here, no?” and I laughed. It
did feel strange to leave, like leaving home.
I love Cuba. It’s always so hard for me to
leave it. Meeting Orly on that trip made it
even harder, because we became so close
and shared such a deep friendship, like two
sisters.
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Eventually my eyes were shutting down.
We squeezed each other one last time and I
was off to bed. I lay there, eyes shut, trying
to fall asleep. Around 1 a.m., I heard an SMS
come in and had the feeling I knew who
it was from. I opened my eyes, rolled over
heavily, and read it. It was Orly saying one
last goodbye and how much all of this meant
to her. I sent her a text message back saying
the same. My eyes were all watery, the best
kind, when you love people. I flipped over
and fell asleep immediately.
In the morning I woke up way too early. I
was too emotional to sleep. The Malecón
was so calm at dawn and the colors were
so pretty. I’m never awake at this time. Car
headlights and street lamps reflected in the
water, yet there was already enough light to
distinguish the sea with its unique colors.
So calm, so peaceful. There’s never a reason
to rush anywhere in Cuba. Where to? What
for? That’s part of the beauty of this place. I
packed my things and went to say goodbye
to Melba and Alberto, my friends who own a
beautiful casa particular. It was time.
situations. For example, taxis don’t always
stop for me because they assume I don’t
have money. This time around, while at the
airport getting my bags scanned, an official
asked to see my passport. When he saw I
was Canadian, he said, “Parece una cubana”
[You look like a Cuban]. I replied, “Casi
cubana después de cinco años, pero no”
[Almost Cuban after five years, but no]. He
laughed with me. I realized that as a Cuban
it must have seemed strange that I had so
much electronic equipment and videotapes
with me—I filmed all my dance classes—but
for a foreigner it made complete sense.
magazine
I sat at the airport waiting for my flight, this
little airport that feels as if you landed in
a little village, and you’d get off the plane
and walk straight to the local mama’s house
for a delicious meal. I sat there working on
my computer. Every once in a while, some
foreigner would come up to me and ask,
“Do you have an Internet connection here?
How?” And I’d reply, “WiFi at José Martí
Airport? Maybe in 10 or 20 years. I am just
working on my laptop,” and I’d smile from
ear to ear.
Then I took a taxi to the airport. When
I asked the driver to turn on the airconditioning, he laughed and said, “You are
getting ready for the change in climate?”
Yes, I said, laughing back. It was the first
time I had ever ridden anywhere in Cuba
and the driver (after that sole question)
did not exchange even one word with me.
I wondered if he was trying to give me
the space he thought foreigners needed.
At that moment, it felt like I was about to
leave; things were already changing back to
foreign mode.
Cubans often get confused when I look
Cuban; sometimes it creates the strangest
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“Things are a changing”
In July 2015, ETECSA, Cuba’s state
telephone company, rolled out 35 wifi
hotspots in Cuba. As at May 2016,
there are 20 public hotspots in Havana
and an average of five in the rest of
the provinces. All hotels have wi-fi as
well as the airport.
The Cuban men working at the airport
were being typical cubanos, checking me
out wherever I walked—to the restrooms,
to get some food, even just to stretch. Yes,
I for sure will miss this place, my great
friends, the dance classes, the seduction,
Havana nightlife, the charming messiness,
everything.
I got on the plane, and as we took off, the
air-conditioning system tried to moisturize
the cabin, and it looked like smoke. The pilot
told us not to worry. I was certainly leaving,
I thought to myself. No one bothered
announcing anything on the domestic flight
from Havana to Santiago de Cuba when that
plane became filled with smoke.
But that’s how things work in Cuba; you
just figure things out on the fly. There’s
something really charming about constantly
living the moment, and it’s a nice break from
the fast world out there.
My flight to Toronto took three and a half
hours, and the flight attendants were so nice
and formal. I just kept wishing things would
be a little less formal and a little warmer and
more personal like in Cuba. But that didn’t
happen. Step by step, I was leaving Cuba
and its warmth, and landing in another more
detached world.
magazine
sounds strange, but after so long without
tomatoes, I had to have tomatoes. The guy at
reception, seeing my reaction to everything,
said to me, “You’re in culture shock.” I
smiled. I must have looked disoriented.
Everything was so efficient and perfect.
Too perfect. I felt no real connection with
anyone; I could not even feel the heart of
one person. In my room, the toilet paper was
soft and there was hot water. I stood under
the spray for 20 minutes, not believing
there was real pressure. My hotel bed was
so comfortable that I felt uncomfortable. It
was too quiet. I had a very hard time falling
asleep—no music on the Malecón, no crowds
outside. It felt lifeless. Some people might
not see anything wrong with this picture,
but after two months in Cuba, it all felt
wrong. The receptionist was right: I was in
complete culture shock.
After a few days, I returned to Vancouver.
I managed to fill my refrigerator with just
about every kind of food possible. I kept
opening the fridge staring at the food and
not believing the variety. Going to the
supermarket was like going to Disneyland.
There were so many options. I was slowly
adjusting back to Canadian life and
After going through passport control in
Toronto, I went to get my suitcase. While
waiting at the baggage carousel, I felt like I
was being bombarded with a million sales
pitches. It’s shocking to see advertising all
around you after two months without it. I
got my suitcase and went to find the shuttle
to my hotel. Everything was smooth. It felt
so strange.
The first thing I did upon arriving at the
hotel was order a plate of tomatoes. It
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thinking how much I would have loved to
have this comfort combined with Cuba’s
strong sense of community. But it seems
that the price we pay for perfection is a loss
of connection to the moment and to other
people.
Yes, Cuba has many problems. It’s not an
easy place to live in, and some things need
to change. But as a good friend once told
me, “The good and the bad about something
always come from the same place.” In fact,
the very things we feel must change in Cuba
are precisely the things we love so much
about the island. Cuba truly has something
special to offer that no other place I know
even comes close to.
Returning from Cuba after two magical
months showed me how much we take things
for granted. Every year, I let Cuba inspire
my heart and remind me to not take things
for granted. By the time I start to forget, I go
back and let Cuba inspire me all over again. I
miss Cuba whenever I’m not there, like home.
And as soon as I set foot on Cuban soil again,
it feels as if I never left. But don’t worry—I’ll
be back soon.
Chen Lizra, an Israeli-Canadian
dancer, TED speaker and entrepreneur,
is the best-selling author of My
Seductive Cuba, an award-winning
unique travel guide that mixes her
personal anecdotes with practical
travel advice. Imagine “Eat, Pray,
Love” meets the “Lonely Planet!” Chen
has been leading boutique tours for
only ten people inside authentic Cuba
since 2008.
Her connection to the arts scene through years of dance training gives her
an interesting angle on the island and an interesting network.
www.myseductivecuba.com/cuban-tours
Twitter: @ChenLizra, Facebook + Instagram: clizra.
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APLATANADO
IN HAVANA
by Georgia Schrubbe
Photos by Alex mene and Ana Lorena
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“How many Americans do you know that
have gone to Spain or Italy or France?”
Chrissy Hefron, sophomore geology major
at the College of Charleston, asks. “Now
think how many you know that have gone to
Cuba—for me, that number was zero.” Hefron
decided to be the first member of her family
to travel to Cuba, spending three months
there as part of CofC’s annual La Habana
study abroad trip.
for educational, journalistic, or religious
purposes, and each traveler is only allowed
to spend a certain amount of money in Cuba
per diem.
“For me, Cuba seemed like the ultimate
adventure. Traveling inside one of the last
hard-line communist countries during a
period in history in which Fidel Castro is still
alive? I had no idea what I was getting into,
and therefore I was immediately attracted
to the idea and simultaneously terrified,”
Hefron said.
Despite the growing interconnectedness
of today’s society, few Americans know
much about Cuba. Hefron bemoans most
Americans lack of education about their
neighbor in the Western Hemisphere and
considers herself lucky to have been exposed
to so much in a short amount of time.
Long gone are the days of our grandparents,
when Havana was a honeymoon hotspot
and Americans were able to travel to the
Las Vegas of the Caribbean for a quick
pleasure trip. Now, traveling to Cuba is
not just a simple matter of buying a plane
ticket and jetting off the coast of Florida.
Travel to Cuba must be authorized by the
Office of Foreign Assets Control, usually
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Maybe these difficulties, and the mystery
and misinformation that Cuba is shrouded
in, is why students participating in the CofC
study abroad program jump at the chance to
spend time there learning some of the insand-outs of Havana life.
“[I knew] that Fidel controlled it, they had
communism and cigars, and about the
Cuban missile crisis,” Hefron said, “So I knew
nothing.”
“Things are a changing”
As of January 2015, the Obama administration
put all 12 categories of travel under a general
license, meaning that visitors no longer have
to ask OFAC for permission before going, and
there is no specific dollar limit on authorized
expenses. In addition, travelers are authorized
to acquire in Cuba merchandise with a value up
to $400 per person, of which no more than $100
may be alcohol or tobacco products. On March
16, 2016, solo travel has been permitted by
President Obama.
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The CofC program educates students about
all facets of life in Cuba, from the history
of the Cuban Revolution and its aftermath
to how to successfully navigate Cuban food
markets and butcher stands.
The program is the brainchild of CofC’s
Dr. Douglas Friedman, director of the
Latin American and Caribbean Studies and
International Studies programs, and Dr.
Humberto Miranda, a researcher at Havana’s
Institute of Philosophy. The two are the
“principals” of the program and also fast
friends, successfully running the program
without interruption since 2000.]
After President Bush passed legislation in
2004 making travel to Cuba for educational
programs more difficult, many universities’
Cuba programs were discontinued, but
Miranda and Friedman managed to keep
theirs going, earning CofC’s status as one of
a handful of Cuba study-abroad programs in
the United States for several years.
The Cuba program is a reason that some
students choose the College over other
universities. Class of 2012 graduate Ross
Kressel rejected acceptances to several
universities, including the University of
Massachusetts and Ohio’s Miami University,
to study political science at CofC and have
the opportunity to spend a semester in Cuba.
“I wanted to go to Cuba before I even set
foot on the campus,” Kressel said. “It is
somewhere that nobody else I really knew
could go, and it was a really unique place to
be able to study politics.”
Trovador, Frank Delgado
Besides getting an up-close look at a
government that the United States has
fiercely embargoed for over 50 years, Kressel
also had a chance to indulge his passion for
baseball.
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“Being able to see where some of my favorite
players have come from was cool to me,”
Kressel said.
He was able to see Havana’s Industriales
team play in their home stadium, where
instead of an organ player plunking “Take
me out to the ball game,” there was an eightpiece rumba group drumming out beats that
sounded more like they were accompanying
a run through the jungle than of around
bases.
The program allowed Kressel and Hefron
and the 10 other students on this year’s
trip to swim in the Bay of Pigs, follow in
the footsteps of famous revolutionaries but
also face the realities of living in a country
where shortages of supplies are common
and the people joke that their three biggest
problems are “breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Aplatanar is a word used in Cuba that means
to make like a plantain and put down roots.
Hefron recalls one of the nights that she felt
most aplatanada and at home in Cuba, an
evening where the entire group (plus new
Cuban friends) went to one of their favorite
spots to hear Cuban trovador Frank Delgado
play for the umpteenth time.
“How safe and in love we felt—with the
people, the scent, the music and the entire
Habana life with all its frustrations and
hardships,” Hefron said.
The College of Charleston program is firmly
aplatanado in Cuba, and Cuba has become
firmly fixed in the hearts of all students who
have an opportunity to study there.
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TAXI!
Photos by Alex mene and Ana Lorena
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There’s only one way to get around the
big easy that is La Habana—in a vintage
Chevy, an almendrón. At 50 cents a ride
you can’t go far wrong, or at least that’s
the theory. It brings to mind the quip
that “when is a taxi not a taxi”?
The time: nine o’clock on a Tuesday night. The
place: a corner by a gas station in Havana, Cuba.
The players: A handful of college students,
elegantly dressed and waiting to hail a cab to a
classy jazz club.
A sky-blue vintage Chevy pulls up and the
students ask, in Spanish, if the driver can take
them to an intersection about five straight miles
down the road. He assents and they pile in and
take off, the tropical early spring breeze blowing
through the Chevy’s open windows.
Unexpectedly, the driver takes a right. Half
a block down the road, he pulls a u-turn and
keeps driving straight. The students raise their
eyebrows to one another, knowing full well
that there are no turns on the way to their
intersection. The driver pulls into a parking
lot outside of a poorly-lit hotel. The students
are convinced that their lives will be over after
two short decades at the hands of a Cuban taxi
driver.
Instead, the driver asks for directions. The
students are completely bewildered. Their
destination is a well-known intersection in
Havana. And the man supposedly drives the
streets of Havana in his taxi for a living.
After a few more stops and requests for
directions, the taxi driver finally found the
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right intersection and the students pile out.
Such is a night in Cuba riding around in an
almendrón.
Let me explain about these taxis.
When you see a vintage American car with
a taxi sticker in the window, the first thing
that comes to mind is probably not a tasty
and nutrition nut. But for whatever reason in
Cuba those taxis are called máquinas, which
means machines, or almendrones, which
means almond.
Like almonds for a mid-afternoon snack,
the almendrones are usually incredibly
convenient. And luckily, unlike almonds,
almendrones are cheap. They run all over
Havana on different routes, which are
indicated by different hand signals that might
be mistaken for gang signs. If you don’t know
the hand signals, the driver will just ask you
where you’re trying to go and if it’s on his
route, you jump in.
Depending on the destination, you pay 10
or 20 national pesos. Just for reference,
there are 24 national pesos to one Cuban
convertible peso (CUC). One CUC is
approximately equivalent to one dollar.
So, for less than one dollar, you can more or
less get all over Havana. Granted, you might
have to walk a little bit once you hop out of
the almendrón, but far worse disasters have
occurred.
The cars are a vintage car collector’s
Christmas morning—a stream of 40s and
50s-era American clunkers that, if properly
restored, would probably sell for more than
four years of tuition at an Ivy League school.
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But note the above-mentioned “if restored.”
The interior of the cars is like a pathetic set
of bumper cars at a state fair where all the
carnies are probably escaped convicts. The
floor is steel and the seats ripped leather.
The cars were made before suspension
was invented. The engine is being held
together by duct tape and wishful thinking
and probably runs on rum and governmentrationed coffee. The drivers have to put the
force of their whole body into shifting gears
and a stalled or broken-down almendrón is
as common as a white girl in a Whole Foods.
The breaks squeal louder than teens at a
Justin Bieber concert and the cars slowly
putter backwards when stopped at a light.
Once when riding in an almendrón, I
saw spray-painted on a wall “Vivan los
almendrones.” Despite my experience with an
incompetent almond driver, I wouldn’t trade
those little suckers for anything. Long live the
almond.
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Georgia is a Charleston, S.C.-based freelance
writer, social media coordinator, yoga teacher and
professional dancer with a penchant for traveling,
gourmet popsicle-making, and finding a story
in everything. She recently published her first
ebook, “There is a live wire in the shower and
other concerns about life in Cuba.” She writes a brilliant blog, Jamming with GA
(http://georgiaschrubbe.com/category/cuba/).
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By Jill Worrall
Jewels of moisture are sliding
down the sides of my mojito
glass and less elegant sweat is
beading on my forehead—it’s
a sultry afternoon in Havana.
The setting, especially if one
is unprepared for Cuba’s
Caribbean-style communism,
is slightly discombobulating.
There’s lobster on the menu,
white linen napkins and
supercilious waiters equal to
any you’ll find in the capitalist
west. But not even a snooty
waiter can detract from the
vibrancy and splendor that
surrounds our group of diners.
OLD
HAVANA
MOJITOS AND
MUSIC
still the strongest beat
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of Moorish Spain... with an overlay of Cuban
joie de vivre.
The palacio restaurant is known for some of
the best mojitos in Cuba. A mojito is a simple
combination of Cuban white rum, chopped
ice, lime juice, sparkling mineral water,
sugar syrup and a crushed stem of mint. It’s
the perfect pick-me-up up on a tropically
humid day and deceptively easy to drink but
even in socialist Cuba not all mojitos are
created equal.
From my seat I have a view of the entire
plaza. Tourism outside Cuba’s beach resorts
is relatively low-key but this time of day
counts as prime visitor hours so there is
plenty going on. Two Cuban ladies in multicolored full skirts, low-cut blouses and
clutching baskets of flowers and fruit are
also surveying the square.
As a small group of tourists—I’m guessing off
a cruise ship—pause at the entrance to the
square, the ladies quickly whip out lipsticks
of eye-popping brightness and apply them
lavishly. Then they set off across the square
towards the unsuspecting men in the group.
Two of the latter, engrossed in framing
photos of the cathedral that dominates one
side of the square are thus caught unawares
as the two ladies throw their arms around
them and plant perfect rosebud kisses on
their cheeks. Of course, there’s a small
price to pay for such warm affection—an
entrepreneurial photo-op venture in a
country where private business (even in
kisses) is a relatively new phenomenon.
We are sitting on the terrace of
the Palacio de los Marqueses
de Aguas Claras, a 17th-century
palace that forms one side
of Plaza de la Catedral. With
its ceramic wall tiles, central
courtyard with a gently
splashing fountain and archways
framing the plaza, it’s a touch
photos by Huberto Valera Jr.
Meanwhile one of my Kiwi ladies is being
homed in upon by an elderly man who
has gone for a fetching fusion of Ernest
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Hemingway and Fidel Castro—there’s a
profusion of beard and moustache, a giant
cigar and, just to add to the iconic imagery,
he’s wearing a Che Guevara beret.
By now a plate of fat Caribbean shrimps
has arrived in front of me and when I look
up again Margaret is wearing the beret, has
a cigar clamped in her mouth and FidelChe-Ernest’s arm is draped around her
shoulder while a fellow traveler obliges with
a photograph.
The other two sides of the plaza are filled by
two more palaces and a mansion that is now
the Colonial Museum
Havana’s architectural heritage is
breathtaking—16th-century Colonial, Cuban
Baroque, neo-Classical, neo-Moorish,
art nouveaux and art deco. While some
has been painstakingly restored, much of
Havana (and elsewhere on the island) is
slowly crumbling.
Havana, indeed much of Cuba, has been
quietly decaying ever since the United
States imposed an embargo on what is now
the only Communist nation in the western
hemisphere, back in 1961.
It’s been something of a two-edged sword—
undeniably Cubans have suffered as a
result of the severe restraints on imports
and exports but at the same time, lack of
economic growth is one reason so much of
the country’s architectural heritage has not
been swept away.
Ironically, the embargo and the “special
period”—an economic crisis precipitated
by the collapse of the Soviet Union—has
also meant Cuba is more resilient in terms
of self-sufficiency than many of its richer
neighbors.
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In a country where horse-power often
means just that, its people are also much
more capable of surviving in a world of
soaring oil prices and reduced supplies.
In Cuba there’s a soundtrack to almost
everything you do. Eat lunch, sip a cocktail,
or pause on a cobbled street and wait for
the ripple of fingers on guitar strings, the
scratching sound of a güiro (an open-ended
gourd stroked with a stick), a resonant tap
on a bongo.
From behind a rank of potted palms, or
inside a doorway, will flow the music of
Cuba—rumba and son, salsa and jazz,
mambo and chachacha. The rhythms are
compulsive, even if it’s yet another version
of the ubiquitous Guantanamera.
The musicians can be 80 and bewhiskered,
sexy and sinuous, sultry and serious—the
common denominator is everyone has
musical talent in abundance.
Dancing comes naturally to everyone—
Cubans don’t need to be taught how to
sway their hips; they really do dance in the
streets; men in shiny nylon shirts, women
in lycra leopard-print leggings and skintight
boob tubes; schoolgirls in miniscule skirts
that would have given my old headmistress
apoplexy.
After lunch we wander down a side street
from the plaza to the Bodeguita del
Medio, one of Nobel-prizewinning author
Ernest Hemingway’s favorite watering
holes. Hemingway lived in Cuba for nearly
20 years, during which time he sank an
impressive number of mojitos and daiquiris.
It’s a tiny restaurant-bar, crammed photos
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of famous visitors, including singer Nat King Cole as well
as Papa Hemingway.
In the other direction is the Malecón, a seven-kilometer
seaside promenade, which, depending on the mood of
the Caribbean, is either lapped gently or deluged by
huge plumes of seawater It’s in a peaceful mood today,
however, which is just as well, as there are five of Cuba’s
treasured 50s American automobiles lined up by the
seawall for us.
There’s a Ford Fairlane, two Dodges (one a white
convertible with red leather upholstery), a Chevrolet
Impala and another Chevy, this one candy pink. I find
myself in the yellow Dodge. While some of the autos now
have Japanese engines, the Dodge still has its original
motor, but also seems to have a hole in the exhaust. We
rumble through Havana pulling away from traffic lights
with a guttural roar, shattering the peace in residential
streets where kids are kicking soccer balls in the middle
of the road and adults gossip on their stoops.
The driver puts his foot down just behind a group
of tourists in the Plaza de la Revolución who
are photographing the famous wire sculpture of
revolutionary Che Guevara. They jump, satisfyingly,
with fright. Beneath Che’s image is one his most
famous quotes: Hasta la Victoria Siempre—keep striving
for victory. It is in this square that Fidel Castro has
held most of the rallies following the success of the
Revolution in 1959 against the hated Batista dictatorship.
The cars take us home to another landmark, the Hotel
Nacional, an Art Deco masterpiece built in 1930. The
hotel’s gardens sweep down to the Malecón from a deep
veranda filled with cane armchairs and sofas. There’s
a soft breeze blowing from the Caribbean. Waiters sail
past with trays of drinks and boxes of fat, aromatic
Cuban cigars and in the corner a trio of beautiful singers
in short black dresses and homburgs on jaunty angles
begin a bracket of salsa numbers.
Hasta La Mojito.
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SEEING CUBA
THROUGH THE EYES
OF AN AMERICAN
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by Jauretsi
Cuba. Its one of those places that sounds
like a sexy novel to most Americans. It brings
to mind a forbidden land with 1950’s cars,
simple rustic living, and salsa dancing on the
corner This is the script one gobbles until
you finally arrive into Cuba. Then you realize
its a barrage of many more things. Part
simple indeed, yet part highly complex. Part
Rustic. Part Luxury. Part Salsa. Part EDM.
Its a city of contradictions, with a reggaeton
soundtrack blaring in the back. Once you
realize this, it’s an invitation to transcend all
the clichés and immerse yourself in the pros
and cons of this bare-boned living.
Not for the faint of heart, Cuba’s
idiosyncrasies make it either a challenge, an
opportunity, or a headache to mastermind.
Case in point. As an American, there is the
dubious effort of surviving on cash only. Due
to the American embargo, nothing issued by
a US bank can be used in Cuba. That means
no credit cards, no ATMs, and no checks.
What do I hate about this? The obvious:
inconvenience. What do I love about it? Since
I have moved here, I have noticed a shift in
my spending. Just a few months ago, in my
native New York existence, I was the queen of
swiping credit cards. The coffee shop. Swipe.
At the nail salon. Swipe. At dinner. Swipe.
By the end of the month, I would see my
bank statements shrink and realize that this
disassociated action ripped a hole through
my bank account. Somehow the money
doesn’t feel real when hidden in plastic.
During my stay in Cuba, I find myself carrying
wads of cash, mostly wads of 20s and smaller
bills. With every purchase, I have
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to thumb through bills manually, pull out the
exact change, and be conscious of when its
time to “replenish” from the master stash. To
put it mildly, money just seems precious all
over again. Spending in Cuba has made me
conscious of the value of a dollar spent.
And then there’s the Internet. For those who
have never been to Cuba, it is important
to note that Wifi signals don’t exist in cell
phones. In fact, the act of checking emails
requires first buying 1hr login card from
either your hotel (or local phone company),
then scheduling a firm break in your day
that includes visiting a nearby Hotel lobby
or public park designated to receive this
login card. As a New Yorker with eternal web
signals in the palm of my hand, surviving
Cuba’s technological landscapes is an
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exercise in zen patience. Apparently the
government feels the same way as illustrated
on the phone company’s wifi cards (a woman
sitting in yoga position praying for patience).
The average tourist will never deal with
waiting in long lines at the local phone
company. Instead, their hotel will most
likely charge a higher rate with a special
code to log online.
The principle
is the same. Each tourist will experience
the act of living offline, off the grid, and be
faced with only their fellow travelers. This
means being more present, more eye to eye
conversations, and more real experiences, if
only just for a few days. Just like its residents
have learned, Cuba is about making lemonade
out of lemons. On a good day, I am reminded
how little I check social media. I am given
the opportunity to stay offline during
a dinner. This means no Instagram, no
Twitter, no Facebook while dining with
your friend. On a bad day, I’m pulling my
hairs out, driving around town chasing
wifi. Until the day I am graced with
constant wifi signals, I choose to live like
a local, and absorb all the philosophical
lessons it brings me.
What is the New Cuba? As a writer living
in the most transformative era in 57 years,
the truth is I don’t have any clear answers.
This isn’t a binary conversation falling
under good or bad. Instead, it’s a constant
evolution of forces coming together. It’s
the excitement of the flourishing
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“cuentapropistas” (Cuba’s new private
sector), it’s the new foodie culture that is
blossoming, it’s the wildly confusing twotier economy which is clashing and coming
to a head. It’s the locals hustling on the
street for a dollar to help you with anything
and everything. It is also sprinkled with
Major Lazer and Chanel. Some outsiders
complain about the mega production Fast
& Furious filming in town. The fear is that
these projects will somehow ruin Cuba’s
soul. Most foreigners don’t realize that the
film production renovated and repaved
several of Cuba’s most important streets
in desperate need of repair. Perhaps this
new era of reconciliation is not what
we imagined it would look like. As more
American productions visit Cuba, the
money trickles into the hands of the people
and small businesses. All of Havana’s 1950s
cars never saw a better payday since Fast &
Furious and Chanel both came to town and
rented vehicles galore for each production.
Entrepreneurship is on the rise. In terms
of Cuba’s soul, rest assured, that is not
going anywhere. The people have a deeply
embedded “cubaneo” that manifests in
their music, jokes, dancing, and swagger.
Our only mission as outsiders is to foster
this new change and perhaps build better
sustainable trade and commerce. It is up
to the Cuban people to maintain their
identity which I have utter faith will never
be crushed. The rest of us need to keep our
minds open to this unpredictable journey.
Onwards and upwards.
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THE ADONIA
BLAZING THE TRAIL
by Victoria Alcalá
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who was excited to set foot on his native
soil, which he left when he was only nine
months.
Many people might wonder why all the
fuss by the arrival of the Adonia at Havana
Harbor, on May 1, 2016. After all, the arrival
of cruise ships is nothing new in the Cuban
capital (in 2015 alone, European cruises
brought approximately 20,000 passengers).
But the answer is very simple: it is the first
one to come from the United States after
more than half a century. Word says that it
will come on a biweekly basis and this seems
to be yet another sign that the detente
announced by President Obama is possible.
This, of course, fed the usual curiosity of
Habaneros.
Fathom, the newest brand of Carnival Corp,
the world’s largest cruise ship operator, first
had to overcome the hurdle of a Cuban rule
prohibiting Cubans born on the Island to
enter the country aboard American ships
(as a precaution against terrorist actions,
which at one time were very frequent).
But as a sign that the “times they are
a-changin” also on the insular side of the old
conflict, the Cuban authorities repealed the
provision and 18 passengers born on Cuban
soil arrived in Havana aboard the Adonia,
including Carnival legal advisor Arnie Pérez
The enthusiastic passengers seemed to
confirm the prediction that soon the United
States will become the second largest
source of visitors to Cuba after Canada. An
unprecedented 200,000 US visitors came to
Cuba in the first quarter of 2016 (2015 had
been the best year with just over 500,000
visitors). And US laws still do not allow
tourism as a reason for their citizens to
travel to the neighboring island. If tourism
were allowed, around three million visitors
are estimated to arrive from the United
States. If that would happen, they would
have to bring tents because the current
installed state and private hotel capacity is
not enough. However, I do know that new
hotels are being planned and built right now.
Meanwhile, the future avalanche of cruise
ships would give back to Havana (one of its
main destinations) its status as a seafaring
city, which over the centuries conditioned
its image, the character of its inhabitants
and even its music. As Cuban anthropologist,
ethnomusicologist and scholar of AfroCuban culture Don Fernando Ortiz (18811969) wrote in his essays, the claves, an
inevitable instrument to make Son and
Guaguancó, were made since early days
with wood from the then famous Havana
shipyards. And the parentage of the music
genre known as filin includes 1940s and 50s
jazz, which Cuban composers of the genre
came to know thanks to African American
sailors arriving in the Cuban capital’s harbor.
The 561 people on board the Adonia were
welcomed with Cuba Libres, the famous
cocktail made with white rum, coke and a
few drops of lemon (ironically, the invention
of the cocktail is attributed to members of
the US army of occupation on the island,
from 1898 to 1902), effusive handshakes,
and female dancers in leotards bearing the
Cuban flag and performing a “very typical”
choreography to the rhythm of “very
typical” music—the only thing missing in the
caricature were American cars popularly
known as almendrones. To me it all seemed
like a scene from Luis García Berlanga’s
famous movie Welcome, Mr. Marshall! This
unforgettable film tells the story of a small
Spanish town that hears of the visit of
American diplomats and begins preparations
to impress the American visitors in the
hopes of benefitting under the Marshall
Plan. See what I mean when I say the
reception reminded me of the movie?
Luckily, just a few meters from the harbor,
the real Cuba awaited them—with its
poverty, but also with its dignified and
carefree hospitality, its splendid culture,
its unique religiosity, its beautiful heritage
cities, its bustle, warmth and light.
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AMERICAN
VISITORS
galore
By Victoria Alcalá
Cuba, and especially Havana, was visited
by countless early travelers, whether for
business, family relationships, scientific
research or simple curiosity. And
although until the eighteenth century the
publication of the testimonies of those visits
corresponded to the Europeans—Spaniards,
Dutch, English, French, Italian—by the
nineteenth century, Americans began to gain
supremacy over the others. Several texts
written by citizens from the north, such as
Abiel Abbot or Samuel Hazard, have become
essential referents for the study of that era
on the island.
Guides for excursionists and travel books,
almost always illustrated, abounded, while
the farsighted William J. Clark published
in 1898 a detailed volume of 514 pages,
including maps and illustrations, aimed at
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entrepreneurs: Commercial Cuba. A Book for Business Men. Publications
in the twentieth century did not differ much, and reveals at least one
area of the interests of American travelers: potential investments, finding
a friendly climate (the word winter appears repeatedly in the titles),
interest for “exotic” customs... Other motivations such as abundant rum
in times of Prohibition, easy sex or the practice of abortion, were left for
discrete personal comments.
During the nineteenth century, there is hardly news of Americans
celebrities traveling to the island, because the tourism boom, worldwide,
began precisely at the end of that century. In contrast, the twentieth
century exhibits an impressive list of famous visitors. Until 1958, the
streets of Havana were filled with likes of actors like Johnny Weissmuller,
winner of five Olympic medals in swimming, but remembered above
all for his role as Tarzan in more than 10 films; the great star of silent
westerns, Tom Mix, and another idol of silent films, comedian Buster
Keaton; tough guy John Wayne, compelling leading men like Clark Gable,
Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power or the incomparable Marlon
Brando, who at the peak of his talent and sex appeal relished Havana
night life to the limit, sex symbols like Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner;
Oscar champion Walt Disney; and dancer, choreographer, singer,
musician and actor, the great Fred Astaire.
But not only film stars were curious about Cuba: Havana residents
enjoyed the performances of the great Josephine Baker, the
unforgettable Nat King Cole and The Voice, Frank Sinatra. Nelson
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Rockefeller displayed his fluent Spanish,
and another famous millionaire, Irénée du
Pont, whose family was one of the richest
and most prominent families in the 19th and
20th centuries, had a mansion built for him
in Varadero. This house, which he named
Xanadu, is considered one of the wonders
of Cuban architecture. Just like most of
his compatriots having the same pedigree,
the idol of the New York Yankees, Mickey
Mantle, and one of the great heavyweights in
boxing history, Jack Dempsey, stayed at the
legendary Hotel Nacional, which closed its
doors in December 1946 for a major meeting
of the heads of the major crime families,
including Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano,
Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, Santos
Trafficante and Vito Genovese. So significant
was this conference that in The Godfather
II, Michael Corleone travels to Havana for
a mobsters’ meeting. But the most beloved
of all the Americans who came to Cuba in
the first half of the twentieth century was
undoubtedly Ernest Hemingway, who wrote,
drank mojitos and daiquiris, fished and
chased German submarines out of Havana.
Contrary to what one might think, due to
the rupture of diplomatic relations between
Cuba and the United States and the very
tense relations that have marked almost
six decades, many American celebrities
looked out to the neighboring island,
sometimes openly, sometimes with the
utmost discretion. Again, the film industry
beats all: Oscar winners like Jack Nicholson,
Robert Redford, Robert de Niro, Ed Harris,
Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner and Kevin
Spacey, and Academy nominees Annette
Bening, James Caan and Johnny Depp, who
came to the Caribbean, but not as a pirate;
other Oscar winners like Robert Duvall
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and Leonardo di Caprio; the always supportive Harry Belafonte
and Danny Glover; Arnold Schwarzenegger, the “Governator”;
Peter Coyote; Billy Zane and Jennifer Lopez, among others. To this
incomplete list, you would need to add directors competing in fame
with the actors listed above: Steven Spielberg, who was welcomed
with the exhibition of his films in the best cinemas in Havana;
Roman Polanski; Francis Ford Coppola; Oliver Stone, who made the
Comandante, a documentary film on Fidel Castro; the controversial
Michael Moore; Michael Mann; Steven Soderbergh, who put the
figure of Ernesto Che Guevara on screen, and many more.
Given the undisputed musical power of Cuba, many musicians have
made it a point to know the island “up close and personal”: Billy Joel,
Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis,
Herbie Hancock, Peter Frampton, Gladys Knight, Backstreet Boys,
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Fleetwood Mac, Beyonce and Jay Z, Kool
& the Gang… in other areas, star baseball
players like Wade Boggs and Stan Musial
have also visited the Island, the brilliant
and eccentric chess player Bobby Fischer,
the legendary heavyweight Muhammad
Ali and prominent scientists and Nobel
laureates David Gross (Physics) and Peter
Agre (Chemistry).
American writers have not been regulars
to the Island, but William Kennedy, author
of the well-known novel Ironweed, and
writer of the screenplay of the film of
the same name as well as Cotton Club;
Gore Vidal, a critic of US foreign policy
in Cuba; sociologist James Petras; and
playwright Arthur Miller. Pop art icon,
Robert Rauschenberg also landed in
Cuba. The famous journalist Barbara
Walters interviewed Fidel; social activist
Angela Davis, who introduced the afro
hairstyle on the island, was received
with honors; ex-president James Carter
awakened much sympathy, and more
recently in March 2016, President Barack,
who announced on December 17, 2014,
simultaneously with his counterpart
President Raul Castro, the decision to
restore diplomatic relations between
Cuba and the United States.
The public announcement of the
reestablishment of relations between
Cuba and the US and the opening of
embassies (the Havana embassy in the
presence of Secretary of State John Kerry)
seems to have changed the dynamics
of the arrival of American visitors to
the Island. Politicians, businesspeople,
intellectuals, artists and onlookers have
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invaded the streets of many Cuban cities
(and also the beaches, although tourism
in Cuba is not authorized by the US
government) with different motivations.
Some come to explore possible investment
trying to preempt an imagined avalanche;
some say that others come to enjoy the
country before it is filled with McDonald’s
and other like symbols. Of course, many
are avid to have a taste of the until recently
“forbidden fruit” while others hope to see
the last days of the “communist stronghold
in the West,” whose collapse they have spent
more than 50 years prophesying to no avail.
For one reason or another, after December
17, 2014, many others have visited the island:
ZZ Top; Major Lasser; Katy Perry, Usher,
Ludacris, Jimmy Buffett; Conan O’Brien,
who taped a special Conan in Cuba in March
2015; Rihanna who came with celebrity
photographer Annie Leibovitz for a photo
shoot in Havana; the best professional
boxer in the world in the last decade,
Floyd Mayweather; the eternal heartthrob
Richard Gere; Paris Hilton; Naomi Campbell;
Spike Lee; the fabulous soprano Barbara
Hendricks; the Fast and Furious stars and
crew, as well as The Transformers; and the
most recent visit in May, 2016 of Kanye West
and the Kardashian clan. And last but least,
the ineffable Simpsons have announced
they will be coming in October this year.
Homer will bring his father Abe to see Cuban
doctors to cure the WWII veteran.
Indeed, to our neighbors up north, it
seems that Cuba has never gone out of
fashion.
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PAPA
HEMINGWAY!
by Victoria Alcalá
A dear friend who once in a while likes to throw me difficult
challenges, recently asked me who was the most famous American
who had visited Cuba. Because of the proximity of events, I was
tempted to say President Barack Obama, the first US president of
African descent who resumed relations with Cuba after more than
half a century of rupture, which is enough to go down in history.
But I remembered a joke I heard on a visit I made to Moscow in
1987. The joke goes like this: In 2017, one Russian asks another
who Leonid Brezhnev was, and after a great effort of memory, the
guy answered that he was a politician in singer Alla Pugachova’s
time. Considering the factor of posterity, and the risk that before
a similar question made 20150 someone might answer that Obama
was a politician in Beyonce’s time, I rejected the idea of naming
the 44th President as the most famous American who has ever
visited Cuba. And because historians still haven’t made up their
minds on whether George Washington visited Havana or not, I
relinquished the thorny sphere of politics.
Papa Hemingway immortalized in bronze at the Floridita Restaurant in Old Havana
Immediately came to mind the name of Brooklyn native Henry
Reeve, nicknamed “The Little Englishman,” who reached the rank
of Brigadier General in Cuba’s Liberation Army fighting Spanish
colonialism. Although Reeve is an example of the best virtues of
his countrymen, unfortunately he is not known outside the Island.
I also recalled Irene Aloha Wright, author of three essential titles
to decipher a period that has not been studied and documented
enough: the first three centuries after the Spanish conquest, and
especially the history of Havana: The Early History of Cuba, 14921854, Documented History of San Cristobal de La Habana in the
16th Century Based on Existing Original Documents in the General
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Archive of the Indies in Seville and
Documented History of San Cristobal de La
Habana in the First Half of the 17th Century,
published in 1916, 1927 and 1930, respectively.
These books are constantly consulted by
historians and other specialists, which
circumscribes Wright’s “fame” to an exclusive
and reduced sector.
Given that sports glory is usually fairly
brief, I performed a cursory exploration of
the arts: only one great American painter
seems to have set foot on Cuban soil: Robert
Rauschenberg, who presented a much
discussed and controversial exhibition of
his work; some musicians of popular genres;
great actors (ah, Brando!) and great directors.
Perhaps the name that I needed was in that
group, but I was still uneasy about the fact
that the bonds of such creators with Cuba
had been circumstantial, and, therefore,
ephemeral. I do not believe that they had left
a profound mark on national culture or in the
popular imaginary.
Hemmingway Museum ¨La Vigia¨
Therefore, even if a common place, I simply
had to go to the Ambos Mundos Hotel, have
a daiquiri at the Floridita and a mojito in
the Bodeguita del Medio, and travel all the
way down to Finca Vigía in the outskirts of
Havana to pay tribute to the Bronze God of
American Literature, Ernest Hemingway,
Papa, like many of his Cuban friends called
him. Hemingway, who is not among my
specially favorite authors (although I have
reread some of his stories, Islands in the Gulf
and Moveable Feast), he has been revered
by some of the best Cuban writers, and
one of them, Norberto Fuentes, published
an excellent book about his presence on
the island. Hemingway wrote a significant
portion of his work in Havana, between the
Ambos Mundos Hotel and his home Finca
Vigía, including The Old Man and the Sea; he
established a close relationship with many
common Cubans, his fishing and drinking
buddies. And 55 years after he took his life,
he remains a rare presence in the city, as if
refusing to abandon it altogether. He is, for
me, the most famous American who has ever
been in Cuba, and Cuba contributed to that
reputation.
Restaurant ¨Floridita¨
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LEAVING FOR YUMA!
by Andreas Clarck
In the mid-seventies, the Centro Habana municipality (which was not
falling apart yet) enjoyed the privilege of having more than a dozen
movie houses. Spacious, comfortable, more often than not ventilated
by ceiling fans (the air-conditioners were almost always, and have
been since then, broken) whose huge blades could have lifted a
Russian helicopter filled with Siberian bears. The programming of
those neighborhood movie theaters basically offered two types of
films: Soviet war films and American westerns. Both types of films
featured a lot of shooting, but while in the Westerns shots were fired
one at a time, the shooting in the Russian war films came from bursts
of machine fire, salvos of rockets from the Katyushas, plummeting
planes and invincible tanks.
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And these movies were never new
releases, although the scenes that were
painted on the theater’s glass doors
(which were then still intact) would
announce them as first showings.
Perhaps they were premieres in Cuba,
or at that particular movie theater
whether they had been filmed two
decades or two days earlier.
So, one day, when I was still a kid, I
went to see a film which no one in
Havana, or anywhere in Cuba for that
matter, really remembers a single word
of the plot. Yet the old western (remade
in 2007) became memorable in our
country not for the story it told, or by
the actors who starred in it (Glenn Ford
and Van Heflin), or for the title song
(composed by George Duning). It has
gone down in history among habaneros
for a single word. And this was not a
word uttered by either the hero or the
outlaws, who never did much talking
anyway. The word in question was the
one that lit up the sidewalk in front of
the theater, exhibiting a perfect and
playful typography chosen by the artist
who had painted the title of the film
on the theater’s glass doors. There, in
brilliant red italics and a canary-yellow
edging viewers could read: 3:10 to
Yuma.
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I was completely unawares that on that
day the word “yuma” would forever enter
my life and the lives of all other Cubans for
good. Gradually and since then—nobody
knows how and why, although there are
philosophical, etymological, sociological
and anthropological speculations galore—
people started to designate the US and
all its inhabitants with the word yuma.
The term “gringo” never took root with
Cubans and “Yankee” had a pejorative, even
contemptuous, and ideologically charged
meaning. Yuma, on the other hand, was
good and appealing. It was not only used to
describe the name of a place or a people,
it was also an adjective denoting positive
qualities: something yuma is, in general, a
very good thing. And that something can be
yuma even though it was made in China.
A couple of years later, the word
accomplished what few can: it took a leap
from street language to popular music, which
enshrines for eternity whoever or whatever
achieves the feat. And yuma did just that,
although indirectly and where no one would
have expected it—in a song by The Jacksons,
released in the winter of 1978, written by
Randy and Michael Jackson, featuring Michael
on lead vocals.
The song was “Shake Your Body (Down to the
Ground)” which arrived in Havana’s Malecón
thanks to shortwave radios tuned in by an
photos by Huberto Valera Jr.
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infinite number of listeners at sunset. The
song was catchy and quickly put the Cubans
to dance and shake their bodies properly,
like only Cubans can. The problem at the
time was that Cubans knew how to dance,
but weren’t too strong on English. So what
happened was that when it came time for
the chorus, people would improvise and sing
anything except the original lyrics, which was
almost Greek to them.
So one night, at a neighborhood party
celebrating an anniversary of the attack on
the Moncada Barracks over twenty years
ago, while The Jacksons thundered from the
loudspeakers “let’s dance/let’s shout/shake
your body down to the ground,” the residents
of my block improvised: “the train is leaving/
leaving for Yuma/the train is leaving...” I have
to admit that the Cubanised, street version
of the song had a somewhat adverse effect,
especially when a few months later the Mariel
boatlift was taking place.
“Shake Your Body” would be the last song
performed live by The Jacksons during
a concert at Madison Square Garden in
September 2001. I can’t say for sure, but
maybe, just maybe, some Cubans in the
audience that day sang what they had learned
back home: the train is leaving/leaving for
Yuma…
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SO MANY YUMAS
CAN’T BE WRONG
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TROPICANA
by Mathias Finnes
If there is one willful sin that Victor
Correa committed—which he must
be making penance for wherever he
may be—it was not to have been the
principal person accountable for
the existence of the world famous
Tropicana Cabaret, but to have built it
where he did. With its original show
of dancers dressed almost like God
brought them to this valley of tears, a
wide and exquisite selection of drinks
and a gambling room open till dawn,
ideally, it should have been located
far from the madding crowd, hidden
somewhere in the outskirts. And that
he tried to do, in his own way.
Actually, it was distant from the city
center, except that there was one little
thing in which he failed: that “little
thing” was the size of a cathedral.
Tropicana was built next to the Belén
Jesuit School, separated only by a small
street that just takes a few steps to
cross. The school had been on that
corner since 1925, fourteen years
before the opening of the “Paradise
Under the Stars.”
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Our Man in Havana, starring Alec Guinness,
Maureen O’Hara and Noel Coward. The film
is adapted from Graham Greene’s novel.
Just 20 years away from Tropicana’s first opening,
Fidel Castro’s Revolution triumphed in 1959. The young
Comandante had been one of the most outstanding
students of the Jesuit school. Shortly after, the Jesuits
left the school and the country and in 1967, the
Revolutionary Government turned the school into the
José Martí Technical Military Institute, an engineering
school for the armed forces. So, Tropicana is not only
the sole open-air cabaret in the world, it is perhaps also
the only one that has had to survive, first, being located
next to a highly prestigious religious institution and,
then, hear bugle calls at reveilles and taps coming from
the military academy. If this is not a Guinness record, it
sure looks like it.
In any case, Martin Fox appeared on the scene in the
1950s. He renewed and gave Tropicana its final defining
features in 1952 by hiring the great Rodeiro Neyra,
known thereafter as Rodney. Having begun at the
cabaret as choreographer, his vision, however, changed
the whole concept of the night show, and his spirit is
still present in the mix of cabaret and circus, ballet and
carnival, modernity and folklore, rhythm and color, and
the unique beauty and grace of the dancers that make up
the Tropicana show.
Politicians, businessmen and celebrities of the arts
rubbed shoulders at Tropicana with American mobsters,
US marines and Hollywood stars who used to escape to
Havana, just for one night, to touch the heavens with
their hands.
It was around this time that the cabaret was
immortalized on film, when in 1958, filmmaker Carol
Reed moved its entire staff to Havana to shoot parts of
The entrance to the cabaret is through a
lush garden where the mythical Fountain of
the Muses by Italian sculptor Aldo Gamba
stands out. The sculpture and the artist
both deserve a closer look. It seems that the
sculpture—originally located at the entrance
of the National Casino in Cubanacán under
another name: The Dance of the Hours—
had been born for vice. Indeed, it had been
conceived from prison, where Gamba had
been sent after shooting his girlfriend and
then trying to kill himself.
There are other works by the Italian sculptor
in Havana, of no less gruesome history,
such as the monument to General Máximo
Gómez of Cuba’s independence wars at the
entrance of the bay. The monument suffered
numerous interruptions in its execution
requiring the intervention of Benito
Mussolini himself for the sculpture to be
completed.
Heavy weight musicians have performed
at Tropicana, like Libertad Lamarque,
Josephine Baker, Bola de Nieve, Nat King
Cole, Rita Montaner, Celia Cruz and Frank
Sinatra. No wonder it has always been the
most expensive cabaret in the city, with 60
showgirls , 40 models, a dozen singers every
night and a live band of 20 plus musicians.
The two-hour show, ranges from bolero to
danzón, from salsa to Afro-Cuban rhythms,
from filin to cha-cha-cha. After the show,
you can go the Arcos de Cristal Room for
some dancing. Over 150,000 tourists to
Havana each year visit Tropicana. As Bertolt
Brecht would have said if he had come to
Havana: so many yumas can’t be wrong.
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AM-PM 2016
DRIVING CUBA’S MUSICAL SCENE
Focusing on music journalism and the use of new technologies
MUSIC AND CRITICS
by Adela López
www.americaporsumusica.com
“Cuba is in fashion” is a phrase frequently heard
nowadays. The visit of an American president, concerts by
stellar bands and the arrival of ocean liners are signaling
to Cubans that our environment is changing rapidly. But
how can we turn these changes in our favor?
Culture-wise, new ways to create and consume emerge
quickly and are not always visible to the naked eye. The
possibility of introducing our artistic products on the
international market poses questions to experts and
artists alike. After being away from the game where
“anything goes” for decades, the comeback seems
uncertain to many.
In such a complex context, AM-PM “América por su
Música” [America for its Music] has emerged as a meeting
of professionals that stands out for its intention to
strengthen the Cuban music industry from its various
professions.
“By music industry I mean all the people who need to be
in sync for a musician to be able reach their audience,
from stagehand to managers to producers to critics. Cuba
has turned its back on the music market, and this has
hindered the growth of these professions on the Island. In
fact, there have been times—luckily overcome—when they
have been demonized,” said Darsy Fernández, member
of the organizing committee of the event, in an exclusive
interview for Lahabana.com.
The cultural project led by X Alfonso known as Fábrica
de Arte Cubano (F.A.C.) has announced this year’s
event, which in its first edition focused on the music
managment and booking.
In 2016, the center of attention will rest on the music
journalism and content curation in music, and Fernández
released that the musical production will be the focal
point in 2017. “Choosing where to put the focus each
year is very much related to the things we think are not
working right.”
From June 13 to 19, Cuban journalists will be able
to discuss their concerns with foreign workshop
participants, who will comment on their professional
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experiences. AM-PM aims to create the
necessary links for Cuban communicators to
interact with members of the Ibero-American
Network of Music Journalism. “Our goal is to
create a Cuban chapter of this organization
and that our critics become a part of it.”
In this regard, Fernández, who has been in
the music biz for almost 25 years, notes that
there isn’t a single magazine in Cuba that is
entirely devoted to music. “Neither Vistar
Magazine, nor Clave, nor Boletín Música
takes this approach. And I don’t think we need
to sit and wait for “Rolling Stones Cuba” to
be created. Instead, there should be a Cuban
publication written by Cuban journalists.
Critics are essential in developing a music
scene in any nation. We have good critics
here, but we feel that they have been isolated,
that they do not use all the tools at their
disposal, perhaps due to difficulties to access
communication channels.”
“We are not interested in Sony or
Universal—companies with highly
efficient marketing mechanisms—
coming here. Instead, we need a
different kind of players. I think
there is an independent music scene
that is pretty solid, with networks in
which Cuba can find a place”
In addition, the event will focus on musical
curatorship, which encompasses areas other
than journalism. Such is the case of radio
and TV programmers, consultants, writers,
directors, and hosts. “In Cuba, the repertoire
performer for recorded music played a very
important role, but it has disappeared. This
is why you run into albums whose songs lack
consistency and character.”
Another topic the AM-PM organizers plan
to discuss is the importance of content lists.
“Radio shows are inviting artists to suggest the
music they like. It would be interesting for the
audience to know what kind of music Silvio
Rodríguez or Descemer Bueno listens to, for
instance. The contents curator would be the
person in charge of choosing the content on a
concept basis as opposed to randomly.”
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“We would like that the next time
the Rolling Stones play in Havana,
they come under the guiding hand
of Cuban producers; or that the next
Buena Vista Social Club project be
discovered by someone in our own
music industry”
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Brainstorming:
MUSIC & TECH
AM-PM has its sights set on the emerging
alternative music movement in Latin
America. “We are not interested in Sony or
Universal—companies with highly efficient
marketing mechanisms—coming here. Instead,
we need a different kind of players. I think
there is an independent music scene that is
pretty solid, with networks in which Cuba can
find a place,” said journalist Rafa G. Escalona,
a member of the organizing committee.
“Much of the strengthening of the alternative
musical movement is due to the use of new
technologies, of which we are bereft of here
due to economic and connectivity problems.
With the realization of this brainstorming,
we first want to raise a discussion and
create synergies between the music and the
technological sectors. By asking key questions,
such as ‘What do I need?’ and ‘What are my
needs as a musician?’ web developers could
create apps that would provide solutions
to the problems of artists,” said Escalona,
creator of the blog The microwave.
The people we interviewed confirmed
that the developers of projects such as
Isladata.com, App Guiarte, App Canales,
GUTL (Grupo de Usuarios de Tecnologías
Libres), INGENIUS (Soluciones Informáticas
y Electrónicas), Ke hay pa Hoy, Kewuelta…,
will attend the second AM-PM. The
meetings will include a pitch where artists
will show their works to journalists. This
way, communication professionals will note
how useful these applications can be for
their work.
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“Much to our surprise, technology
entrepreneurs are participating with great
interest in the discussion. So far, all those who
have been interested in music in Cuba have
confined themselves to creating promotion
guides alone. This may be somehow related
to the pattern of cultural consumption, but
technology for production and mediation is
also necessary. We need to see music as a
process instead of a product that will only
be consumed. Additionally, musicians can’t
continue working as if they will never have
access to the Internet. When we finally get
online easily, which will inevitably happen,
we need to be prepared to make use of these
technologies,” said Fernández.
The Foro Cantar y Decir [Sing and Say
Forum] will complement the busy schedule
of AM-PM 2016. Media professionals
will discuss the use of music as a tool to
prevent violence against women. Casa
de las Américas, the second venue of the
event, will host an exchange led by singer
and activist Rochy Ameneiro. Also, the
opening of two exhibitions (caricature and
photography) on Cuban music will take
place.
“We would like that the next time the Rolling
Stones play in Havana, they come under the
guiding hand of Cuban producers; or that
the next Buena Vista Social Club project be
discovered by someone in our own music
industry. If this is complemented by the
State’s goodwill, I believe the Cuban music
industry could explode all around the world,
and all the talent we have here could finally
become very visible,” said Fernández.
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TRADICIONALES
DE LOS 50
Embodying the Golden Age
of Cuban music
by Ricardo Alberto Pérez
Among the many surprises and satisfactions
that the Havana night generally offers both
visitors and nationals, the Tradicionales de
los 50 (1950s Traditionals) show occupies a
privileged place. The show takes off every
evening at Sociedad Rosalía de Castro at
9:30pm and lasts two hours.
Centrally located on Egido 504 entre Monte
and Dragones, just a couple of blocks from
the Capitolio Nacional and the Saratoga
Hotel in the fringes of Old Havana, the
Rosalía de Castro Society has become since
late 2012 the home of this project, which is a
valuable part of the Cuban musical heritage.
I am convinced that if you want to have a
clearer and more accurate picture of how
Cubans feel things and how we express
our passions and joys, this show, besides
entertaining, speaks very clearly of our
nature and our sense of hospitality. The
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de los 50 have always had guest musicians
from Buena Vista Social Club and AfroCuban All Stars.
Around 2008, the group began to offer
performances at the Rum Museum located
on the Avenida del Puerto. Here, they
remained for several years, helping to boost
the growth of tourism in this institution
and its surroundings. They also offered
their music at the Santo Angel Restaurant,
situated on one corner of Plaza Vieja, before
coming to their current venue.
project is linked to a golden age of our music, which then
grew and became more universal.
In the fifteen years that have passed since the project
was launched, it has woven a beautiful story, whose
protagonists speak about with both pride and emotion.
What is considered today by many as the best product
of Cuban popular music offered in Havana, took off in
2001 under the guidance and enthusiasm of José Roberto
Rodríguez Alpízar, who brought together the artists that
give meaning to this beautiful and enduring idea.
Although the show had performed previously at the
Hotel Nacional and the Salón Rojo of the Capri Hotel,
its entry into the Old Havana circuit takes place at the
Amigos del Beny café-tavern, located on the corner of
Mercaderes and Teniente Rey streets in 2001. In their
first performances, the singers were accompanied by
Barbarito Torres (Buena Vista Social Club tres player)
and his group. We need to point out that Tradicionales
Bands that have accompanied the
Tradicionales de los 50 after Barbarito
Torres, include Charanga Rubalcaba, Septeto
Matamoros, Grupo de Pío Leyva, Caña Santa,
Conjunto de Roberto Faz and currently
Gloria Matancera. The latter, founded in
1927, is one of the oldest popular music
bands in Cuba, a true relic of our musical
history. Important singers and musicians
have performed with the Tradicionales, like
Omara Portuondo, the Buena Vista Social
Club Diva; Guajiro Mirabal; the Buena Vista
“Fab Four”; Yanko Díaz; Osdalgia, Rolo
Martínez; Emilio Morales; Julio Alberto
Fernández; Sierra Maestra; El Muso and Ela
Calvo, just to name a few.
I would like to especially mention an
exceptional figure of Cuban entertainment:
Juana Bacallao, and Tradicionales de los 50
feel that it’s a privilege to be able to enjoy
her presence every evening in every show.
Juana exudes joy, fun and lots of spark that
she passes on freely.
The Tradicionales show is a true reflection
of Cuba. Visitors to the Rosalía de Castro
Society will have the chance to enjoy
legendary songs like “Dos Gardenias,” sung
by Mundito González; “El Carnaval” and
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“Kimbara,” both sung by Raquel Hernandez; “Silencio,” a
song that becomes larger than life in the powerful voices
of Pablo Santamaría and Migdalia Echevarría; “Dame un
traguito” by Juan Almeida, sung by Muso; “El Cuarto de
Tula,” by Arango; and “Lola,” sung by one of the bolero
greats in Cuba, Orestes Macías, becomes a milestone.
The singing is complemented by Tradicionales del son, a
couple who dance to genuine, 1950s Cuban rhythms.
The show ranges from Compay Segundo’s famous “ChanChan” to Joseíto Fernández’s “Guantanamera,” and takes
a side tour round “Melao de caña,” “El Feo” and “La Mujer
de Antonio.” A guaguancó, which combines percussion,
singing and dancing, is an essential part of the program
and one that visitors will always remember. Each and
every one of the performances is an exhibition of the
Golden Age of Cuban music. To be able to take in all
this energy and memories, as well as having spent two
hours filled with genuine Cuban music made by popular
performers means that visitors will be taking back home
a unique gift from this island.
CONTACT DETAILS
Address: Sociedad Rosalía de Castro, Egido 504 entre
Monte y Dragones, La Habana Vieja, Cuba
OPEN: DAILY FROM 9:30 TO 11:30PM
Telephone: +53 52705271
www.tradicionalesdelos50musicacubana.com
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by Mathias Finnes
REYNIER
RODRÍGUEZ
Master Class
CHIVAS HAVANA 2016
Champion
Any Cuban will tell you right away that using
whiskey to make a cocktail is virtually a mortal
sin, that that’s what the white rums without
aging of any kind are for. So incredible as it may
seem, the Chivas Master Class Competition
2016 has just been held in Havana. Contestants
created exotic blends that, even without tasting
them, looked paradisiacal. The bartenders’
creations were to be inspired by the presence
of Chivas Regal in extremes so far and yet so
close at the same time, like the classic New York
cocktails, the most successful bars in Shanghai,
and other that evoked Cuba with its aroma and
freshness. And all this was to be accomplished in
under 15 minutes.
The finalists were Fabian Ramos of the Divino
Restaurant, Alain Rodriguez and Mario L. Acosta
of the Waoo!!! Restaurant, Reynier Rodríguez
of the Meliá Cohíba, and representing Cuban
women, Barbara Betancourt of the Café Concert
Gato Tuerto.
Many guests at the event thought, wanted
and voiced that she would be the winner after
witnessing the passion, grace and magnetism
that flowed from Barbara behind the bar. And
when she was proclaimed winner—only—of the
People’s Choice, many hearts sank.
It was the very young bartender Reynier who
pulled it off being proclaimed Master Class
Chivas Havana 2016 Champion by a jury of
experts. Now the Meliá Cohíba bartender has
a huge challenge ahead: for five days he will
be representing the Island in the Master Class
Global Competition to be held in Shanghai.
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There he will have to face challenges, such as attend
master classes and workshops conducted by the best
specialists in the industry and, especially, demonstrate
his ability to lead, mentor and inspire a team before
the keen eyes of the industry’s top experts who will be
evaluating him.
The motivations of the Havana event focused on
promoting the latest techniques and updating bartenders
with the latest international trends in preparing cocktail.
International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal
Whiskey, Max Warner, present at the “Antiguo Almacén
de la Madera y el Tabaco” Brewery in Old Havana, where
the competition took place, pointed out that the brand,
renowned for its style, content and exclusivity, is the first
luxury whiskey in the world, distributed in more than 150
countries.
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HAVANA LISTINGS
VISUAL ARTS
PHOTOGRAPHY
DANCE
MUSIC
THEATRE
FOR KIDS
EVENTS
HAVANA GUIDE
FEATURES
RESTAURANTS
BARS & CLUBS
LIVE MUSIC
HOTELS
PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION
magazine
lahabana. com
VISUAL
ARTS
MUSEO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES. EDIFICIO DE ARTE CUBANO
THROUGH JUNE 19
Los rostros de la modernidad. The entry of Cuban visual arts in the
modernity of the avant-garde and its various trends can be seen in 45
photos made from 1925 to 1957 by 15 important photographers, including
Jorge Arche, Arístides Fernández, Víctor Manuel, Wifredo Lam, Amelia
Peláez and Mariano Rodríguez.
THROUGH AUGUST 19
Cardinales is a group of paintings in which Cuban artist Carlos Alberto
García used a mixed technique on cloth. The medium- and full-scale
pictures were created especially for this occasion. The artist has defined
his work as “very much connected to early 20th-century avant-gardes,
especially Expressionism.
CENTRO HISPANO AMERICANO DE CULTURA
THROUGHOUT JUNE
The Seattle-La Habana-Tehran Poster Show, exhibition of posters made
by designers from these three cities, that reveal common aspoects shared
by their respective cities. Seattle: David Gallo, Carlos Ruiz, Vittorio
Castarella, Shay Roth, Jeff Kleinsmith, Ames Bros, Jesse LeDoux, Chad
Lundberg, Jan Smith, David Bratlon, Seab Waple, Shogo Ofa, Darib Shuler,
Kelsey Gallo, Devon Varmega, Joanna Wecht, Andrew Crawshaw, Adam
Vick and Chelsea Wirtz. Havana: Darwin Fornés, Edel Rodríguez (Mola),
Darién Sánchez, Idania del Río, Raúl González (Raupa), Robertiko Ramos,
Fabián Muñoz, Michelle Miyares, Eric Silva, Giselle Monzón, Nelson Ponce,
Lily Díaz, Laura Llópiz, Pepe Menéndez and Carlos Zamora. Teheran:
Shahrzad Changalvaee, Reza Abedini, Reza Babajani, Mojtaba Adibi,
Aliagha Hasseinpour, Homa Delavaray, Mehdi Fatehi, Farhad Fozouni, Iman
Raad, Babak Safari, Masoud Morgan, Morleza Mahallati, Alireza Askarifa,
Mohammadreza Abdalali, Erfan Jamshida, Mohammad Khodashenas and
Naghi Vaseiy.
EDIFICIO DE ARTE UNIVERSAL. MUSEO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES
THROUGH
Relatos de una negociación, by BelgianSEPTEMBER
Mexican artist Francis Alÿs, exhibits paintings,
12
drawings, sculptures, videos, documents,
objects and actions that reflect critically on
contemporary society.
FACTORÍA HABANA
THROUGHOUT JUNE
CENTRO DE DESARROLLO DE LAS ARTES VISUALES
THROUGH
JUNE 16
magazine
Clara Porset…... el eterno retorno vindicates
an artist who is considered one of the most
important designers of the 20th century.
Las esquinas, group show.
FUNDACIÓN LUDWIG
Nuevos medios, group show.
THROUGH
JUNE 11
Inventario, graphic design by Annelis Noriega.
GALERÍA ALTERNATIVA DE LUZ Y OFICIOS
THROUGH
JUNE 11
Partitura en rojo, group show organized by Casa Yeti, Casa
Museo Antonia Eiriz and the Centro Provincial de Artes
Plásticas.
photos by Alex Mene
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Edificio de Arte Cubano
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CENTRO DE ARTE
CONTEMPORÁNEO
WIFREDO LAM
THROUGH
JUNE 18
THROUGH
JUNE 20
magazine
Desde el sonido, solo show by Ricardo Martínez that links
sound to the visual through installations and objects that
activate both possibilities.
Voces indígenas, sound installation that includes 12
indigenous languages of Latin America, some of which are
endangered. The artists in the project (Paulo Nazareth,
Gustavo Tabares, Priscilla Monge, Sandra Monterroso, Sofia
Medici, Jose Huaman, Ellen Slegers, Mauricio Kabistan,
Erika y Javier, Sonia Falcone) determined the language, the
topic and the type of text (fiction, fable, prayer...) they were
going to use, which, all together, form an indefinite murmur
that becomes precise when the viewer approaches each
loudspeaker.
Ni sagrado ni secular, show by Henry Erick Hernández
and Canadian artist Marysse Goudreau that explores the
relationship between History and Power, which almost
always are detrimental to the participation of the common
man, and how, just like past events affect the present, other
contemporary events become part of history.
THROUGH
JUNE 27
Cool War, project by Rachel Price on technologies with
the participation of Cuban and international artists,
which recalls the Manichaeism and military technologies
that structure video games, while pointing out the many
possibilities of the genre.
THROUGH
JUNE 30
Si las paredes hablaran, The interactive installation
by Colombian artist Lina Leal uses various procedures
and resources, such as anthropological research, oral
testimony, writing and technology of augmented reality,
in the construction of a wall/file that creates, through an
apparently contradictory action, devices that facilitate the
movement of information from the private to the public.
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GALERÍA COLLAGE HABANA
THROUGH
JUNE 17
The Merger, sculptures, objects and installations, and the
works that constitute the project of these sculptures and
installations on canvas and bristol, belonging to the creative
group The Merger, made up by Alain Pino, Mario Miguel
González (Mayito) and Niels Moleiro.
GALERÍA HABANA
THROUGH
JULY 8
magazine
GALERÍA SERVANDO
THROUGH
JUNE 17
Autofagia, personal exhibition by Osvaldo Gonzalez,
who insists on the theme of everyday space and objects
associated with it, and one of the issues that have always
interested the artist: the character of abstract painting
itself.
GALERÍA VILLA MANUELA
Jerarquías negadas, personal exhibition of ex Carpintero
Alexander Arrechea, who has investigated repeatedly in
“surveillance mechanisms and control driven from power.”
THROUGH
JUNE 13
Bio-Circuito, by Héctor Remedios, is his diploma thesis of
the University of the Arts (ISA).
GALERÍA VILLENA
CASA DE LAS AMÉRICAS
THROUGHOUT JUNIO
deunosyotros, exhibition based on the poster collection
of Casa de las Américas. Works by Fernando Pimienta,
Santiago Pol, Lorenzo Homar, Ñiko and Alfredo Rostgaard,
among others.
THROUGHOUT JUNE
Story de mi vida, exhibition by designer Raúl Valdés
(Raupa), exhibition by designer Raul Valdes (Raupa),
who has brought together original pieces, which like a
storyboard, tell stories that reflect personal experiences
PABELLÓN CUBA
CASA OSWALDO GUAYASAMÍN
OPENS
JUNE 3
Con Musashy en Viñales, by Eddy Maikel Sotomayor, focuses
on landscape with an introspective character, the inner
landscape, which allows the artist to recognize himself as a
thinking being.
THROUGHOUT JUNE
GALERÍA LA ACACIA
THROUGH
JULY
Nexo Mixto Expo, erotic-themed group show group show
erotic theme, with new works from the avant-garde to the
most contemporary Cuban art
SALA ABELARDO ESTORINO. MINISTERIO DE CULTURA
GALERÍA MARIANO
THROUGHOUT JUNE
Fuerza y sangre. Imaginarios de la bandera en el arte
cubano is a collection of 160 pieces by 124 Cuban artists
of different trends, esthetics, manifestations (painting,
sculpture, installation, printmaking, drawing, photography,
etc.), who have repeatedly or occasionally included the
Cuban flag in their work. Veteran artists like Raúl Martínez,
Nelson Domínguez, Roberto Fabelo, Manuel Mendive, René
Francisco, Raúl Corrales or Osvaldo Salas join younger
artists representative of the Cuban artistic vanguard in this
singular homage to the Cuban flag.
El dibujo en la cerámica mexicana exhibits a collection of
vessels from different areas in Mexico that show the wealth
and importance of drawing as a decorative element in the
folk art of that region.
THROUGH
JUNE 11
Cosas de mujeres, group show by Jacqueline Brito, Flora
Fong, Alicia Leal, Julia Valdés and Lesbia Vent Dumois.
SALA MANUEL GALICH. CASA DE LAS AMÉRICAS
GALERÍA RAÚL OLIVA. CENTRO CULTURAL BERTOLT BRECHT
THROUGH
JUNE 18
Wake Up!, clothes design exhibition.
THROUGHOUT JUNE
Caricaturas de Brady Izquierdo, caricatures on topics
realted to music.
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FOTOTECA DE CUBA
THROUGH JUNE 18
La ciudad infinita, with pictures taken by Jennifer Jiménez Rico, prizewinner of
the Alfredo Sarabia Biennial in Pinar del Río.
THROUGH JUNE 20
Algunas imágenes de la colección, exhibition from the collection of the Fototeca
de Cuba.
CASA DE LAS AMÉRICAS
THROUGHOUT JUNE
Pares y nones, contemporary photography from
Haiti and Dominican Republic.
photos by Huberto Valera Jr.
PHOTO
GRAPHY
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DANCE
TALLER “DANZA, DE ESO SE ESCRIBE”
WEDNESDAYS, 2PM
CENTRO HISPANO AMERICANO DE CULTURA
Workshop organized by journalist and cultural critic Mayté
Madruga Hernández, who through videos and practical
exercises seeks to create audiences that can consciously
appreciate and enjoy dance as a form of language.
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The contemporary fusion and electronic music scene has expanded recently
as new bars and clubs have opened party promoters have organized events in
parks and public spaces. Good live music venues include Bertolt Brecht (Wed:
Interactivo, Sunday: Déjá-vu) and El Sauce (check out the Sunday afternoon
Máquina de la Melancolía) as well as the newly opened Fábrica de Arte Cubano
which has concerts most nights Thursday through Sunday as well as impromptu
smaller performances inside.
In Havana’s burgeoning entertainment district along First Avenue from the Karl
Marx theatre to the aquarium you are spoilt for choice with the always popular Don
Cangreco featuring good live music (Kelvis Ochoas and David Torrens alternate
Fridays), Las Piedras (insanely busy from 3am) and El Palio and Melem bar—both
featuring different singers and acts in smaller more intimate venues.
BALNEARIO UNIVERSITARIO EL CORAL
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS / 1PM-1AM
Electronic music with rapping, DJing,
Vjing, Dj-producers, breakdancing and
graffiti writing, among other urban art
expressions.
CAFÉ CONCERT EL SAUCE
SUNDAYS / 5PM
magazine
MUSIC
CONTEMPORARY
FUSION
CAFÉ CANTANTE, TEATRO NACIONAL
WEDNESDAYS / 5PM
Qva Libre
CASA DE LA AMISTAD
SUNDAYS / 5PM
Rock ’n’ Roll with Vieja Escuela.
La Máquina de la Melancolía, with Frank
Delgado and Luis Alberto García
CENTRO CULTURAL BERTOLT BRECHT
WEDNESDAYS / 11PM
Interactivo
CENTRO CULTURAL FRESA Y CHOCOLATE
FRIDAYS / 9PM
Pura Birria
DIABLO TUN TUN
SATURDAYS / 11PM
Gens
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EN GUAYABERA
SUNDAYS / 6PM
MUSIC
CONTEMPORARY FUSION
Discotemba
HAVANA HARD ROCK
EVERY OTHER FRIDAY / 6PM
Soul Train, a show of soul music
SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS / 6PM
Rock cover bands
HOTEL CHATEAU MIRAMAR
JUNE 3 / 10PM
Qva Libre y Sarao
MUSEO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES.
EDIFICIO DE ARTE CUBANO
JUNE 16 / 6PM
Electro-acoustic Music Lab with the
performances of US composers Jeffrey
Gerald Roden and Stephen Vitiello.
SALÓN ROSADO DE LA TROPICAL
FRIDAYS / 9PM
Electronic music with Sarao
SUBMARINO AMARILLO
MONDAYS / 9PM
Miel con Limón
TERCERA Y 8
MONDAYS / 11PM
Baby Lores
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CASA DE LA MÚSICA DE MIRAMAR
CASA DE LA MÚSICA HABANA
ALL DAYS
5 PM
11 PM
Popular dance music
ALL DAYS
5 PM
11 PM
Popular dance music
MONDAYS
11 PM
Sur Caribe
WEDNESDAYS
5 PM
Casino
FRIDAYS
11 PM
NG La Banda
WEDNESDAYS
11 PM
NG La Banda
SATURDAYS Lazarito Valdés y
5 PM
Bamboleo
CABARET PICO BLANCO. HOTEL SAINT JOHN’S
WEDNESDAYS / 10PM
Popular dance music (Vacilón)
CAFÉ CANTANTE. TEATRO NACIONAL
MONDAYS / 11PM
Manana Club (dance music)
WEDNESDAYS / 5PM
Qva Libre
CASA DE 18
FRIDAYS / 8:30PM
Iván y Fiebre Latina
SATURDAYS / 8PM
Ahí Namá
magazine
SALSA
TIMBA
TERCERA Y 8
WEDNESDAYS / 11PM
Alain Daniel
DIABLO TUNTÚN
THURSDAYS / 11PM
Popular dance music (NG La Banda)
SATURDAYS / 9PM
Popular dance music (Manana Club)
JARDINES DEL 1830
FRIDAYS / 10PM
Azúcar Negra
SUNDAYS / 10PM
Grupo Moncada
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MUSIC
Jazz Café
Café Jazz Miramar
Mellow, sophisticated and freezing due to
extreme air conditioning, the Jazz Café is not only
an excellent place to hear some of Cuba’s top jazz
musicians, but the open-plan design also provides
for a good bar atmosphere if you want to chat.
Less intimate than La Zorra y el Cuervo – located
opposite Melia Cohiba Hotel.
SHOWS: 11 PM - 2AM
UNEAC
JUNE 9
5 PM
La Esquina del Jazz, hosted by
showman Bobby Carcassés
magazine
This new jazz club has quickly established itself
as one of the very best places to hear some of
Cuba’s best musicians jamming. Forget about
smoke filled lounges, this is clean, bright—take
the fags outside. While it is difficult to get the
exact schedule and in any case expect a high level
of improvisation when it is good it is very good.
A full house is something of a mixed house since
on occasion you will feel like holding up your
own silence please sign! Nonetheless it gets the
thumbs up from us.
CAFÉ MIRAMAR
MONDAYS
4 PM
Lunes de la Juventud
WEDNESDAYS
10 PM
Reinier Mariño
SATURDAYS
10:30 PM
César López (saxophonist) and
Havana Ensemble
JARDINES DEL TEATRO MELLA
WEDNESDAY
8 PM
JAZZ
Zule Guerra (singer) & Blues D’
La Habana
CASA DEL ALBA CULTURAL
JUNE 11
8 PM
Ruy López-Nussa y La
Academia
MUSEO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES. EDIFICIO
DE ARTE CUBANO
JUNE 18
7 PM
Yadasny Portillo (pianist) and
his group
JUNE 23
3 PM
Grupo Obsesión
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MUSIC
SON
TROVA
BOLER0
FOLKLOR
Haydée Milanés in Concert
accompanied by Pablo Milanés
ASOCIACIÓN YORUBA DE CUBA
FRIDAYS / 8:30PM
Obbiní Batá (folkloric group)
BARBARAM PEPITO’S BAR
SATURDAYS / 6PM
Yaima Sáez
CABARET EL TURQUINO. HOTEL HABANA LIBRE
FRIDAYS / 11PM
Mónica Mesa
JUNE 11, 8:30 PM, TEATRO KARL MARX
Father and daughter will sing songs from their new album Amor and other essential songs
of Pablo’s long and fruitful career. With this concert, Haydée will honor the work of her
dad, teacher and source of inspiration, who is one of the founders of the Nueva Trova
Cubana movement.
Awarded an honorary Latin Grammy in 2015, Pablo Milanés is the author of beautiful,
unforgettable songs like “El breve espacio en que no estás,” “Yolanda” “Para vivir” “De que
callada manera.”
Meanwhile, Haydée has conquered both Cuban and international audiences thanks to the
freshness and sensuality of her voice when singing songs composed by her and by local
composers, like Descemer Bueno.
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MUSIC SON
EL JELENGUE DE AREÍTO
TUESDAYS / 5PM Conjunto
Chappottín
TROVA
BOLER0
FOLKLOR
CASA DE 18
CENTRO IBEROAMERICANO DE LA DÉCIMA
WEDNESDAYS
/ 8PM
Héctor Téllez
THURSDAYS
/ 8PM
José Valladares
FRIDAYS / 8PM
Leidis Díaz
SUNDAYS / 4PM
Georgeana
CASA DE LAS AMÉRICAS
JUNE 10 / 7PM
Ariel Díaz, Diego Cano and Karel García
CASA MEMORIAL SALVADOR ALLENDE
JUNE 24 / 6PM
Ángel Quintero and guests
CASONA DE LÍNEA
SUNDAYS / 8PM
Trova
DOS GARDENIAS
WEDNESDAYS / 10PM
JUNE 4 / 3PM
Ad Libitum Duet
JUNE 26 / 5PM
El Jardín de
la Gorda with
trovadors from
every generation
CLUB AMANECER
Conjunto de Arsenio Rodríguez
DELIRIO HABANERO
FRIDAYS / 10PM
Son en Klab
SATURDAYS
/ 10PM
Sonyku
SATURDAYS / 9PM
Bolero Night
THURSDAYS
/ 5PM
Conjunto Arsenio
Rodríguez
FRIDAYS / 5PM
Rumberos de Cuba
SUNDAYS / 5PM
Rumba
GATO TUERTO
FRIDAYS / 5PM
La Hora Infiel, with
music, visual arts,
literature and more.
FRIDAYS / 9PM
Osdalgia
DAILY / 8PM
Gato Tuerto Nights,
hosted by Julio
Acanda
HOTEL TELÉGRAFO
Proyecto Lírico
FRIDAYS / 9:30PMPM
SATURDAYS / 5PM
Ivette Cepeda
Waldo Mendoza
THURSDAYS /
4PM
Trova with Frank
Martínez
SUNDAYS / 6PM
Singer Leidis Díaz
MUSEO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES.
EDIFICIO DE ARTE CUBANO
JUNE 11 / 7PM
Obini Batá
(Folkloric group)
JUNE 25 / 7PM
Alina Torres and
guests
Trova with Ray Fernández
HURÓN AZUL, UNEAC
Trova
MONDAYS / 5PM
DIABLO TUN TUN
THURSDAYS / 5PM
WEDNESDAYS
/ 5PM
CAFÉ CANTANTE, TEATRO NACIONAL
CENTRO CULTURAL FRESA Y CHOCOLATE
FRIDAYS / 5PM
magazine
SOCIEDAD ROSALÍA DE CASTRO
MONDAY THRU
SUNDAY /
9:30PM
Tradicionales
de los 50
CAFÉ TEATRO BERTOLT BRECHT
JUNE 25 / 3PM
Rafael Espín and guests
CASA DE ÁFRICA
JUNE 4 / 4PM
Síntesis
JUNE 11 / 3PM
Cheketé, with the
folkloric group
Obiní Batá
Rumba Morena
JUNE 24 / 3PM
PABELLÓN CUBA
FRIDAYS / 4PM
Tres Tazas with trovador Silvio Alejandro
Haila María Mompié
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CLASSICAL
MUSIC
ORATORIO SAN FELIPE NERI
JUNE 4, 4PM
Concert by Mayté Aboy and Paula Suárez (piano), Maray
Viyella (clarinet), Abraham del Castillo (bassoon), Jenny
Peña (violin) and Susana Venereo (horn), with works by
Wolfgang A. Mozart, Karl Goepfart, Franz Schubert and
Johannes Brahms.
JUNE 6, 10AM Performance by the Vivace clarinet quartet.
JUNE 10, 7PM The University of the Arts Symphony Orchetra will play
works by Brahms and Ravel.
JUNE 16, 7PM Recital by soprano Johana Simón with guetss Analiette
Presno (oboe), Olivia Rodríguez (double bass) and Lianne
Vega (piano) with a program made up of pieces by Antonio
Vivaldi, Nicolo Porpora, Riccardo Broschi, Antonio Salieri
and Georg Friedrich Händel.
JUNE 18, 4PM Concert in honor of Cuban horn player Fernando Bencomo,
with musicians Susana Venereo Martín (French horn), Pedro
Luis González, Moisés Hernández and Dania Pérez (horn),
Maité Aboy (piano) and Jenny Peña (violin).
BIBLIOTECA NACIONAL JOSÉ MARTÍ
SATURDAYS
4PM
Concerts by chamber soloists and ensembles.
CASA VICTOR HUGO
24 DE JUNIO
5PM
Duo Cáliz, made up by Luis Manuel Molina (guitar) and
Vicente Monterry (clarinet).
CENTRO HISPANO AMERICANO DE CULTURA
11 DE JUNIO
5PM
Concert by soprano Ivette Betancourt, accompanied on the
piano by Vilma Garriga, with works by Franz Schubert.
IGLESIA DE PAULA
JUNE 3
3PM
Concert Voces del siglo xviii y xix (Voices of the 18th and
19th centuries), by the Schola Cantorum Coralina Choir,
conducted by Alina Orraca, and guests organist Moisés
Santiesteban and the Ventus Habana wind quintet.
PARROQUIA DEL SAGRADO CORAZÓN DE JESÚS
JUNE 26
7PM
Conciertos solidarios: Solidarity concerts, organized by
Leo Brouwer, designed to benefit the most vulnerable
individuals and groups in Cuban society (toys, medicines,
staples or cash donations are appreciated).
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THEATRE
Diez millones
SALA ARGOS TEATRO
ARGOS TEATRO / PRODUCTION: CARLOS CELDRÁN, THROUGH MAY 8,
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS, 8:30PM; SUNDAYS, 5PM .
This play by Carlos Celdrán explores the emotional education of
a child and teenager in the past decades in Cuba, his relationship
with his parents, History and the events that shaped his life.
Eclipse
CENTRO HISPANO AMERICANO DE CULTURA
THURSDAYS, 6PM
Based on Strindberg’s Miss Julia, the play is about a love
triangle seen and judged through the spectators, who are
imaginary participants of Eclipse, a coexistence program.
Therefore, the outcome changes with each performance.
Éxtasis: un homenaje a la madre
Teresa de Ávila
TEATRO BUENDÍA / PRODUCTION: FLORA LAUTEN Y EDUARDO
MANET
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS, 8:30PM; SUNDAYS, 5PM
For the always lucid Norge Espinosa, “Teresa of Avila, obsessed
with the idea of founding monasteries, temples, places of worship,
is the central po int of the entire production, which has been
conceived through writings by Raquel Carrió, Eduardo Manet and
Flora Lauten....This is a play that erases any idea of a biography of
a saint and we find in her delusions, fears, hopes and battles that
unveil her as a woman whose only weapon is faith.”
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FOR KIDS
Había una vez... un circo
CARPA TROMPOLOCO
SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS, 3PM Y 8PM,
Circus with magic acts, trapeze, juggling, acrobatics, clowns and more.
Reservations on-line: www.circonacionaldecuba.cu
Fabulando y cantando
JUNE 4, 11AM
CENTRO HISPANOAMERICANO DE CULTURA
Fables and tales by the Para Contarte Mejor Group.
Fantasías
SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS, 3PM
CINE YARA
Circus show with magic, pole dance, aerial ribbons, lassos, whips,
acrobatics, hula hoop, juggling, clowns and much more.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
SUNDAYS, 11AM
Clowns, music and other attractions.
photos by Huberto Valera Jr.
JUN 2016 66
EVENTS IN HAVANA
lahabana. com
magazine
66TH
HEMINGWAY
INTERNATIONAL
BILLFISHING TOURNAMENT
JUNE 13-18
MARINA ERNEST HEMINGWAY, HAVANA
The Hemingway Tournament is one of the three oldest tournaments of its kind in the world.
It hosts fishermen from around the world in pursuit of marlin and other large deep sea fish,
including tuna and wahoo, using 80-pound fishing line. Over the last decade, the competition
has attracted crews from more than 30 countries. This year’s edition promises to break
attendance records. Dozens of requests for participation have been received from around
the world, particularly from the US nautical community. As part of Stuart Sailfish Club’s 75th
anniversary, members of the club have been invited to fish the tournament in Cuba.
Prizes
First, second and third prizes consisting of medals for each team member and trophy for the
team and. Prize to the first capture and prize to the biggest dolphin.
Tournament rules and regulations
Rules according to IGFA, Tag and Release method. Four lines in the water per team. Lines up to
36 kg (80 pounds).
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About the tournament
Back in May 26, 1950, thirty-six of the best sports yachts
from Havana’s yacht clubs sailed past the narrow inlet at
the Morro Castle located at the entrance of Havana Bay
and out into the Gulf Stream. One of the boats was the
“Pilar” owned by Ernest Hemingway, who competed in the
first billfishing tournament representing the International
Nautical Club of Havana.
A few years later, a group of fishermen suggested that the
tournament be named after the famous writer because of
his love and passion for the sport. Hemingway not only
accepted, he donated the cups won by him during the first
three tournaments and continued to take first place from
1953 to 1955.
In 1959, Hemingway moved to Idaho, US, but came back
to Cuba in 1960 for the awarding of the cups at the 11th
Hemingway International Tournament. There, he met the
leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. This was the
year when Marina Hemingway became the tournament’s
headquarters.
magazine
SCHEDULE:
JUNE 13: REGISTRATION AND ACCREDITATION. 6PM:
CAPTAINS’ MEETING AND WELCOME COCKTAILS
JUNE 14: FIRST FISHING DAY
JUNE 15: SECOND FISHING DAY
JUNE 16: DAY OFF
JUNE 17: THIRD FISHING DAY
JUNE 18: FOURTH AND LAST FISHING DAY. CLOSING AND
AWARD CEREMONY
No tournaments were held in 1961 and 1962 but were
resumed in 1963 with a national scope until 1977, regaining
its international status in 1978. The creation in 1992 of the
Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba, (CNIH) gave
the Hemingway tournaments a new life based on friendly
relations with fishing clubs, specialized publications and
fishermen.
In 1997, with the help of the Billfish Foundation and
the direct assistance of Mr. Ralph “Agie” Vicente,
Representative of the Billfish Foundation for the Caribbean,
HIYC Commodore José Miguel Díaz Escrich introduced
the method of catch and release in the Hemingway
Tournament.
This is one of the oldest fishing tournaments in the
world, preceded only by the Nova Scotia International
Tuna Tournament and the Tarpon Fishing Tournament in
Mexico.
For more information:
(53) 7204-5280, 7204-6848, 7204-5088
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected]
JUN 2016 68
EVENTS IN HAVANA
lahabana. com
magazine
VII Festival de las Artes
JUNE 1-5, 2016
DIFFERENT VENUES IN HAVANA
Organized by Cuba’s University of the Arts (ISA), this art festival includes theater, art exhibitions,
audiovisual screenings, competitions, lectures, master classes, demonstrations and workshops
aimed at promoting the work of young artists; creating opportunities for a dialogue between
writers and artists of different manifestations, training and origins; and showing the teaching
process of students and graduates from the University of the Arts, conservatories and academies
of the artistic educational system both in Cuba and in universities and art schools abroad.
For complete program:
https://isauniversidaddelasartes.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/programacic3b3n-vii-festivalde-las-artes.pdf
Facebook.com/ISA.Universidad
Twitter/@isa_Universidad
Flickr.com/isa_Universidad
Festival Internacional Boleros de Oro
MELLA AND AMÉRICA THEATERS, HURÓN AZUL AT UNEAC, CENTRO HISPANO AMERICANO DE CULTURA
JUNE 22-26
Bolero, a musical genre which emerged in Cuba in the second half of the 19th century—the first
printed notation of a bolero is Tristezas (1883), written by composer José Pepe Sánchez—is what
this festival is all about. This genre has had a marked influence in other countries of the area,
including places as far away as Spain and Japan, and its first festival, held in Havana in 1987, is
considered the oldest of its kind in Latin America. A Havana celebration in its beginnings, other
provinces would become venues in later years given that bolero is one of the most loved and
performed genres in the Island. In its 26th edition, the event will be dedicated to celebrating
the centenary of the birth of Puerto Rican singer and composer Daniel Santos, and will have as
special guest his compatriot Andy Montañez. As usual, there will be shows, galas, informal music
gatherings, dancing, the third international competition for young singers and the International
Bolero Colloquium, which will bring together musicologists, academics, teachers and others.
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AM-PM (América x su Música) 2016
CASA DE LAS AMÉRICAS, FÁBRICA DE ARTE CUBANO
JUNE 13-19
The main theme of this meeting point for professionals of the Latin American music industry will be journalism,
content curating, and, broadly speaking, communication about the music of the continent. The event will
include professional meetings, an academic workshop by members of the Latin American Network of Music
Journalists, lectures, panels and discussions between journalists and the media. Reporters who specialize
in music will hail from from several countries of Latin America, Spain and the United States. The organizers
have also announced a brainstorming session about the relationship between music and new technologies,
audiovisual showings, a forum for non-violence against women and girls, art exhibitions, a gathering of music
lovers and collectors of vinyl records, books launchings, a pitching session and performances by alternative
music musicians and bands from Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Chile and Brazil.
Festival Internacional de Coros Corhabana 2016
JUNE 28-JULY 2
DIFFERENT VENUES IN HAVANA
Founded in 1999 as the Havana Choral Meeting, for three consecutive years the event was the meeting place for
choruses from Cuba and the United States. In 2002, however, it became an international festival and changed
its name to Corhabana. The event is presided by Digna Guerra, director of the National Choir, and one of the
most prestigious Cuban choral directors in Cuba today.
The festival’s opening gala will take place at the Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís, June 28, 6pm. The
Iglesia de Paula has also programed performances on June 29 & 30, at 5pm. The Centro Hispano Americano
de Cultura and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Edificio de Arte Universal will host workshops, at 9am and
3pm, respectively, conducted by the Venezuelan choir teacher Luimar Arismend, as well as lectures by Cuban
teachers Carmen Collazo, Corina Campos, Leonor Suarez and Carmen Rosa Lopez.
La Habana, Ciudad Maravilla
HAVANA
JUNE 7-11
On June 7, Havana will be officially proclaimed as one of the Seven Wonder Cities of the Modern World. To
celebrate this distinction, which was made known in December 2014, a memorial monument will be unveiled in
the esplanade of the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, on June 7 at 7:30 pm. That same day, the inaugural gala
will take place on Plaza Vieja, at 9pm. The show will include cultural activities in public places, art exhibitions,
the Habana Maravilla sports festival, parades, lectures and the closing concert with the performance of the
emblematic Aragón Orchestra on the corner of Prado and Neptuno, a site mentioned in one of the band’s most
popular tunes.
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lahabana. com
magazine
IV Encuentro de Jóvenes Pianistas
TEATRO MARTÍ, SALA IGNACIO CERVANTES, BASÍLICA MENOR DE SAN FRANCISCO DE ASÍS,
JUNE 2-29
The 4th Encounter of Young Pianists, directed by Cuban pianist and Professor Salomón
Gadles Mikowsky of the Manhattan School of Music has scheduled 20 concerts with
an attractive and varied repertoire of Cuban and international music. Renowned
participants in international events as well as students of Gadles Mikowsky will attend
the meeting.
TEATRO MARTÍ
JUNE 2
6PM
JUNE 5
6PM
JUNE 9
6PM
JUNE 12
6PM
JUNE 23
6PM
Inaugural Gala: Adam Kent
(US), Alexandre Moutouzkine
(Russia), Orquesta Sinfónica
Nacional de Cuba, conducted by
Enrique Pérez Mesa
Alexandra Beliakovich-Shkoda
(Belarus) & Po-WeiGer (ChinaTaipei), Orquesta Sinfónica
Nacional de Cuba conducted by
Enrique Pérez Mesa
Khowoon Kim (South Korea),
Edward Neeman (US), Orquesta
Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba
conducted by Enrique Pérez
Mesa
Kyu Yeon Kim (South Korea),
Aldo López-Gavilán (Cuba),
Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional
de Cuba conducted by Daiana
García
Yuan Sheng (China), Orquesta
Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba
conducted by Daiana García
JUNE 16
6PM
JUNE 26
6PM
JUNE 19
6PM
Ha-Eun Lee (South Korea),
Patricio Malcolm (Cuba),
Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional
conducted by José Antonio
Méndez Padrón
Closing gala: Karla Martínez
(Cuba), Wael Farouk (Egypt),
Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional
conducted by Daiana García
Chun Wang, Jie Yuan (China),
Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional
conducted by Enrique Pérez
Mesa
SALA IGNACIO CERVANTES
JUNE 17
6PM
Ahmed Alom (Cuba)
JUNE 19
11AM
Yanner Rascón (Cuba) y
SiningLiu (China)
JUNE 24
6PM
Yuan Sheng (China)
JUNE 26
11AM
Yamilé Cruz (Cuba) y Mengfei Gu
(China)
BASÍLICA MENOR DEL CONVENTO DE SAN
FRANCISCO DE ASÍS
JUNE 4
6PM
Po-WeiGer (China-Taipei)
JUNE 11
6PM
Kyu Yeon Kim (Corea del Sur)
JUNE 3
6PM
Hayk Arsenyan (Armenia)z
JUNE 18
6PM
Chun Wang (China)
JUNE 5
11AM
Lilibeth Fabelo Alfonso (Cuba)
and Jiayin Li (China)
JUNE 25
6PM
JUNE 10
6PM
Lisa María Blanco (Cuba)
JUNE 12
11AM
Isabel Mesa (Cuba) y Ssu-Hsuan
Li (China-Taipei)
Niurka González (flute, Cuba),
Jenny Peña: (violin, Cuba),
Simone Dinnerstein (piano,
US), Orquesta Sinfónica de la
Universidad de las Artes
JUN 2016
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EVENTS
AROUND
CUBA
magazine
Cucalambeana Country Fair
48 JORNADA CUCALAMBEANA, JUNE 25 TO JULY
1, 2016, EL CORNITO, LAS TUNAS
Every year, the capital of the northeastern
province of Las Tunas becomes the venue for
the Jornada Cucalambeana in memory of Las
Tunas native, poet Juan Cristóbal Nápoles
Fajardo (aka El Cucalambé), the most important
Cuban decimista (country ballad poet) in
nineteenth-century Cuba.
A trip to the Cucalambeana Country Fair takes
you a long way off of the regular tourist trail,
but it gives you a unique opportunity to see real
Cuban country folk. Whether you like the cockfighting or not, you have to admit that it plays
an undeniable role in the countryside culture
and history of Cuba. And that is precisely what
the festival is all about: keeping alive the music
and traditions of the Cuban countryside.
The event lasts a whole week, beginning in late
June to incorporate July 1, the birthdate of El
Cucalambé. It is always held in El Cornito, the
home of the poet that now serves as a hotel on
the outskirts of Las Tunas. In the scenic area
there are several sculptures dedicated to El
Cucalambé, an open area for horseback riding,
children’s playgrounds, and several small plazas.
The Cucalambeana Fair includes the recital
and singing of décimas, a Spanish stanza of
ten octosyllabic lines created in early-modern
Spain and adopted by the country folk of the
Americas. Repentistas, or improvisers, come
from all over the country to show their talent at
this difficult art at the Justo Vega Competition
while children showcase their talent at the
Colorín.
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There are also traditional country dances, which
take place at El Cornito’s plazas. These dances
have a twist—they are competitions between
two teams: the Blue team and the Red team. In
fact, all of the activities held during the festival
are competitions between the Red and Blue
teams, so don’t be surprised to see competitors
wearing costumes, hats and kerchiefs in either
one of these two colors.
If cock-fighting and dancing aren’t enough
for you, why not join the audience at the
popular improvisation event where you can
contribute to the poets’ décimas by giving
them pie forzados, phrases—prompted by
anyone present—that the poets must follow
in order to create their poems. Experts and
non-experts both agree that repentismo, or the
improvisation of décimas, requires great talent
and quick thinking nurtured from the cradle.
magazine
And don’t forget the beauty pageant. Every year,
a girl is chosen who best exemplifies the beauty
of a typical country woman (tall, long black hair
and olive-skinned). The winner is declared La
Flor de Birama, or The Flower of Birama, and her
entourage are her Petals. During the festival,
in their roles as the Flower and the Petals, the
girls attend all of the events wearing the Cuban
national dress, inspiring poets and composers
with their beauty.
For 47 years, the Cucalambeana has celebrated
peasant traditions and honored the rich culture
of the Cuban countryside. El Cornito may not
be near the top of many tourist agendas, but a
visit to the Cucalambeana is a once in a lifetime
opportunity to experience the traditional
culture of the Cuban countryside in all its glory.
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CUBAN
FARM
magazine
The Mediterráneo Havana
Restaurant
is recognized today as the first true experience of a farmto-table restaurant in Cuba. A tour of the farms allow our
customers to know firsthand about the ecological agricultural
system used for growing the products that they will later enjoy at
our restaurant.
Calle 13 No. 406 e/ F y G, Vedado. Havana
Reservations: +53 78324894
[email protected]
www.medhavana.com
TO
TABLE
De la Granja a la Mesa
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HAVANA’S
best places to eat
Los Mercaderes
EL ATELIER
BELLA CIAO
CAFÉ BOHEMIA
CAFÉ LAURENT
EXPERIMENTAL FUSION
HOMELY ITALIAN
CAFÉ
SPANISH/MEDITERRANEAN
Interesting décor, interesting
menu.
Great service, good prices. A real
home from home.
Bohemian feel. Great sandwiches,
salads & juices
Attractive penthouse restaurant
with breezy terrace.
Calle 5 e/ Paseo y 2, Vedado
(+53) 7-836-2025
Calle 19 y 72, Playa
(+53) 7-206-1406
Calle San Ignacio #364, Habana Vieja
Calle M #257, e/ 19 y 21, Vedado
(+53) 7-831-2090
LOS MERCADERES
CUBAN-CREOLE
OTRA MANERA
INTERNATIONAL
Beautiful colonial house.Polpular
place whit great food and good
service.
Beautiful modern decor.
Interesting menu and good
service.
Calle Mercaderes No. 207 altos e/
Lamparilla y Amargura. H.Vieja
(+53) 7861 2437
Calle #35 e/ 20 y 41, Playa.
(+53) 7-203-8315
CASA MIGLIS
OTRA MANERA
EL COCINERO
CORTE PRÍNCIPE
RÍO MAR
D.EUTIMIA
SWEDISH-CUBAN FUSION
INTERNATIONAL
INTERNACIONAL
ITALIAN
INTERNATIONAL
CUBAN/CREOLE
Oasis of good food & taste in
Centro Habana
Lealtad #120 e/ Ánimas y Lagunas,
Centro Habana
(+53) 7-864-1486
Beautiful modern decor.
Interesting menu and good
service.
Calle #35 e/ 20 y 41, Playa.
(+53) 7-203-8315
Industrial chic alfresco rooftop
with a buzzing atmosphere
Sergio’s place. Simple décor,
spectacular food.
Calle 26, e/ 11 y 13, Vedado.
(+53) 7-832-2355
Calle 9na esq. a 74, Miramar
(+53) 5-255-9091
LA FONTANA
IVÁN CHEF
EL LITORAL
SANTY
INTERNACIONAL
SPANISH
INTERNATIONAL
SUSHI/ORIENTAL
Consistently good food, attentive
service. Old school.
Calle 46 #305 esq. a 3ra, Miramar
(+53) 7-202-8337
Brilliantly creative and rich food.
Watch the world go by at the
Malecón’s best restaurant.
Aguacate #9 esq. a Chacón, Habana
Vieja
(+53) 7-863-9697
Malecón #161 e/ K y L, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-2201
Contemporary décor. Great seaview. Good food.
Ave. 3raA y Final #11, La Puntilla,
Miramar
(+53) 7-209-4838
NAZDAROVIE
SOVIET
Authentic fisherman’s shack
servicing world-class sushi.
Well designed Soviet décor
excellent food & service.
Calle 240A #3023 esq. a 3ra C,
Jaimanitas
(+53) 5-286-7039
Malecon #25, 3rd floor e Prado y
Carcel, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-860-2947
Absolutely charming. Excellent
Cuban/creole food.
Callejón del Chorro #60C, Plaza de la
Catedral, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7 861 1332
SAN CRISTÓBAL
CUBAN/CREOLE
Deservedly popular.Consistently
great food. Kitsch décor.
San Rafael #469 e/ Lealtad y
Campanario, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-860-9109
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El Litoral
TOP PICK
magazine
Style of food: International
Cost: Expensive
Type of place: Private (Paladar)
Best for Quality décor, good service and great
food. Best new place recently opened.
Don’t Miss Drinking a cocktail at sunset watching
the world go by on the Malecón
Malecón #161 e/ K y L, Vedado.
(+53) 7-830-2201
Style of food: Soviet
Cost: Moderate
Type of place: Private (Paladar)
TOP PICK
Nazdarovie
Best for Getting a flavor of Cuban-Soviet history
along with babuska’s traditional dishes in a classy
locale.
Don’t miss Vodka sundowners on the gorgeous
terrace overlooking the malecon.
Malecon #25 3rd floor e/ Prado y Carcel, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-860-2947
TOP PICK
TOP PICK
Otra Manera
Style of food: International
Cost: Moderate
Type of place: Private (Paladar)
Best for Beautiful modern décor and good food.
Don’t miss Pork rack of ribs in honey. Sweet
& sour sauce and grilled pineapple
Calle 35 #1810 e/ 20 y 41, Playa
(+53) 7-203-8315
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La Guarida
TOP PICK
magazine
Style of food: Contemporary fusion
Cost: Expensive
Type of place: Private (Paladar)
Best for Authentic, charming and intimate
atmosphere in Cuba’s best known restaurant. Great
food, professional. Classy.
Don’t Miss Uma Thurman, Beyoncé or the Queen
of Spain if they happen to be dining next to you.
Concordia #418 e/ Gervasio y Escobar, Centro Habana.
(+53) 7-866-9047
Style of food: Traditional
Cost: Moderate
Type of place: Private (Paladar)
TOP PICK
Café Bohemia
Best for taking a break from long walks and
seeking shelter from the stifling Cuban..
Don’t miss location in the cool inner courtyard of
the colonial building.
Ground floor of the Palacio de la Casa del Conde de
Lombillo, Calle San Ignacio #364
(+53) 5- 403-1 568, (+53) 7-836-6567 www.
havanabohemia.com
TOP PICK
Iván Chef Justo
Style of food: Spanish
Cost: Expensive
Type of place: Private (Paladar)
Best for Spectacular innovative food. Light and
airy place where it always seems to feel like
Springtime.
Don’t Miss The lightly spiced grilled mahi-mahi
served with organic tomato relish. Try the suckling
pig and stay for the cuatro leches.
Aguacate #9, Esq. Chacón, Habana Vieja.
(+53) 7-863-9697 / (+53) 5-343-8540
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TOP PICK
magazine
Los Mercaderes
Style of food Cuban creole
CostModerate
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Beautiful colonial house.Polpular place
whit great food and good service.
Don’t miss Wonderfull balcony view to the clasic
street.
Calle Mercaderes No. 207 altos e/ Lamparilla y
Amargura. Habana Vieja
(+53) 7861 2437 y (+53) 5290 1531
Casa Miglis
TOP PICK
Style of food Swedish-Cuban fusion
CostExpensive
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for The beautifully designed interior, warm
ambience and Miglis’s personality create the
feeling of an oasis in Central Havana.
Don’t Miss Chatting with Mr Miglis. The Skaargan
prawns, beef Chilli and lingonberries.
Lealtad #120 e/ Ánimas y Lagunas, Centro Habana
www.casamiglis.com
(+53) 7-864-1486
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magazine
RESTAURANT
1800
PLAZA SAN JUAN DE DIOS
CAMAGÜEY, CUBA
TRADITION AND STYLE...
at your taste
STYLE AND HISTORY
Contact us
JUN 2016 79
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magazine
HAVANA’S
best Bars & Clubs
Corner Café
TRADITIONAL BARS
EL FLORIDITA
Hemingway’s daiquiri bar.
Touristy but always full of life.
Great cocktails.
Obispo #557 esq. a Monserrate, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-867-1299
1950S TRADITIONALS
Guest performers include BUENA
VISTA SOCIAL CLUB MEMBERS
Sociedad Rosalía de Castro, Egido 504 e/ Monte
y Dragones, Old Havana (+53) 5-270-5271
SLOPPY JOE’S BAR
Recently (beautifully) renovated.
Full of history. Popular. Lacks a
little ‘grime’.
Ánimas esq. a Zulueta, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-866-7157
CERVECERÍA
ANTIGUO ALMACÉN DE LA MADERA Y
EL TABACO
Microbrewery located
overlooking the restored docks
Simply brilliant.
Avenida del Puerto y San Ignacio, La Habana
Vieja
CONTEMPORARY BARS
EL COCINERO
ESPACIOS
TABARISH
FAC
Fabulous rooftop setting, great
service, cool vibe.
Laid back contemporary bar with
a real buzz in the back beergarden.
A comfortable place to chat /
hang out with your friends. Great
service.
X Alfonso’s new cultural center.
Great concerts, funky young
scene.
Calle 26 e/ 11 y 13, Vedado
Calle 10 #510, e/ 5ta y 31, Miramar
Calle 20 #503, e/ 5ta y 7ma.
Calle 26 e/ 11 y 13, Vedado
(next to the Puente de Hierro)
(+53) 7-832-2355
(+53) 7-836-3031
(+53) 7-202-9188
(+53) 5-329-6325
www.facebook.com/fabrica.deartecubano
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CONTEMPORARY BARS/CLUBS
Sangri-La
TOP PICK
CONTEMPORARY BAR/CLUBS
Best for Hanging out with the cool kids on the
Havana Farundula in the most popular bar/
club.
BOLABANA
DON CANGREJO
Love it/hate it—this is the
oldest Friday night party
place and is still going
strong. Outdoor by the sea.
Ave. 1ra e/ 16 & 18, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-3837
Packed night after night with
a young dressed-up clientele
wanting to party. Don’t go
looking for Buena Vista
Social Club!
Calle 39 esq. 50, Playa
(+53) 5 -294-3572
CORNER CAFÉ
SANGRI-LA
For the cool kids. Basement
bar/club which gets packed
at weekends.
Great live music every day.
very frequently by locals.
Good tapas.
Calle B e/ 1ra y 3ra. Plaza de la
Revolución
(+53) 7837 1220
Ave. 21 e/ 36 y 42, Miramar
(+53) 7-264-8343
Don’t Miss The best gin and tonic in Havana.
Ave. 21 e/ 36 y 42, Miramar
(+53) 5-264-8343
GAY-FRIENDLY
CABARET
LAS VEGAS
Can get dark and smoky but great
drag show (11pm) from Divino—one
of Cuba’s most accomplished drag
acts.
Ave. 21 e/ 36 y 42, Miramar
(+53) 7-264-8343
FASHION BAR
HAVANA
CAFÉ BAR
MADRIGAL
A superb example of queer class
meets camp, accompanied by a
fantastic floor show.
Pop décor, fancy cocktails, and the
staff’s supercilious attitude, this is a
gathering spot for all types of folks.
San Juan de Dios, esq. a Aguacate,
Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-867-1676
Calle 17 #809 e/ 2 y 4, Vedado
(+53) 7-831-2433
Corner Café
TOP PICK
CONTEMPORARY BAR/CLUBS
Best for Frequently by locals. Great tapas.
Don’t Miss Live music every day.
Calle B e/ 1ra y 3ra. Plaza de la Revolución
(+53) 5-264-8343
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Espacios
TOP PICK
magazine
CONTEMPORARY BAR/CLUBS
Best for Laid back lounge atmosphere in the
garden area which often has live music. Good
turnover of people.
Don’t Miss Ray Fernandez, Tony Avila, Yasek
Mazano playing live sets in the garden.
Calle 10 #510 e/ 5ta y 31, Miramar
(+53) 7-202-2921
CONTEMPORARY
TOP PICK
Bolabana
Best for Trendy new location near Salón Rosado de
la Tropica.
Don’t Miss Hipsters meet the Havana Farándula.
Calle 39 esq. 50, Playa
TOP PICK
Sloppy Joe´s
Bar
BAR / TRADITIONAL
Best for Immense original bar lovingly
restored. Good service, History.
Worst for Not quite grimy. Too clean.
Ánimas, esq. Zulueta La Habana Vieja,
(07) 866-7157
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Fábrica de
Arte
TOP PICK
magazine
CONTEMPORARY BAR/CLUBS
Best for X Alfonso’s superb new cultural center
has something for everyone
Don’t Miss Artists who exhibit work should
demonstrate ongoing creativity and a commitment
for social transformation.
Calle 26 e/ 11 y 13, Vedado
(next to the Puente de Hierro)
GAY FRIENDLY
Best for A superb example of queer class meets
camp, accompanied by a fantastic floor show.
TOP PICK
Fashion Bar
Havana
Don’t Miss The staff performing after 11pm
San Juan de Dios, esq. a Aguacate, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-867-1676
TOP PICK
Bertolt Brecht
CONTEMPORARY BAR/CLUBS
Best for Hanging out with hip & funky Cubans
who like their live music.
Don’t Miss Interactivo playing on a Wednesday
evening.
Calle 13 e/ I y J, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-1354
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HAVANA’S
best live music venues
CONCERT VENUES
KARL MARX
THEATRE
World class musicians perform
prestigious concerts in Cuba’s
best equipped venue.
Calle 1ra esq. a 10, Miramar
(+53) 7-203-0801
BASÍLICA SAN
FRANCISCO DE
ASÍS
A truly beautiful church, which
regularly hosts fabulous classical
music concerts.
Oficios y Amargura, Plaza de San Francisco de
Asís, Habana Vieja
FÁBRICA DE
ARTE
X Alfonso’s new cultural center.
Great concerts inside (small and
funky) and outside (large and
popular!).
Calle 26 e/ 11 y 13, Vedado (next to the Puente de
Hierro)
SALA
COVARRUBIAS
TEATRO NACIONAL
Recently renovated, one of Cuba’s
most prestigious venues for a
multitude of events.
Paseo y 39, Plaza de la Revolución.
SALSA/TIMBA
CAFÉ CANTANTE
MI HABANA
Attracts the best Cuban
musicians. Recently renovated
with an excellent new sound
system.
Ave. Paseo esq. a 39, Plaza de la Revolución
(+53) 7-878-4273
CASA DE LA
MÚSICA
CASA DE LA
MÚSICA
CENTRO HABANA
MIRAMAR
A little rough around the edges
but spacious. For better or worse,
this is ground zero for the best in
Cuban salsa.
Smaller and more up-market than
its newer twin in Centro Habana.
An institution in the Havana salsa
scene.
Galiano e/ Neptuno y Concordia, C. Habana
(+53) 7-860-8296/4165
Calle 20 esq. a 35, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-0447
SALÓN ROSADO
DE LA TROPICAL
The legendary beer garden where
Arsenio tore it up. Look for a
salsa/timba gig on a Sat night
and a Sun matinee.
Ave. 41 esq. a 46, Playa
(+53) 7-203-5322
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CONTEMPORARY
CAFÉ TATRO
BERTOLT BRECHT
DON CANGREJO
EL SAUCE
Think MTV Unplugged when
musicians play. Hip, funky and
unique with an artsy Cuban
crowd.
Love it/hate it—this is the oldest
Friday night party place and is
still going strong. Outdoor by the
sea.
Great outdoor concert venue to
hear the best in contemporary &
Nueva Trova live in concert.
Calle 13 e/ I y J, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-1354
Ave. 1ra e/ 16 y 18, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-3837
Ave. 9na #12015 e/ 120 y 130, Playa
(+53) 7-204-6428
TEATRO DE
BELLAS ARTES
Small intimate venue inside
Cuba’s most prestigious arts
museum. Modern.
Trocadero e/ Zulueta y Monserrate,
Habana Vieja.
TROVA & TRADITIONAL
BARBARAM
PEPITO´S BAR
Some of the best Cuban Nueva
Trova musicians perform in this
small and intimate environment.
Calle 26 esq. a Ave. del Zoológico. Nuevo Vedado
(+53) 7-881-1808
GATO TUERTO
Late night place to hear fabulous
bolero singers. Can get smoky.
Calle O entre 17 y 19, Vedado
(+53) 7-833-2224
TRADICIONALES
DE LOS 50
The 1950s traditionals, a project
created over 10 years ago, pays
tribute to the Golden Era of
Cuban music: the 1950s.
Sociedad Rosalia de Castro, Egido #504 e/
Monte y Dragones, Havana Vieja
(+53) 7-861-7761
SALÓN 1930
COMPAY SEGUNDO
Buena Vista Social Club style set
in the grand Hotel Nacional.
Hotel Nacional
Calle O esq. a 21, Vedado
(+53) 7-835-3896
JAZZ
CAFÉ JAZZ
MIRAMAR
Clean, modern and atmospheric.
Where Cuba’s best musicians jam
and improvise.
Cine Teatro Miramar
10:30pm – 2am
Ave. 5ta esq. a 94, Miramar
JAZZ CAFÉ
A staple of Havana’s jazz scene,
the best jazz players perform
here. Somewhat cold atmospherewise.
Galerías de Paseo
Ave. 1ra e/ Paseo y A, Vedado
LA ZORRA Y
EL CUERVO
Intimate and atmospheric,
which you enter through a red
telephone box, is Cuba’s most
famous.
Calle 23 e/ N y O, Vedado
(+53) 7-833-2402
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HAVANA’S
magazine
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Best
Hotels
SIMPLY THE BEST…
IBEROSTAR
PARQUE CENTRAL
Luxury hotel overlooking Parque
Central
Neptuno e/ Prado y Zulueta, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-860-6627
SANTA ISABEL
Luxurious historic mansion facing
Plaza de Armas
Narciso López, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-860-8201
SARATOGA
TERRAL
Stunning view from roof-top pool.
Beautiful décor.
Wonderful ocean front location.
Newly renovated.
Paseo del Prado #603 esq. a Dragones, Habana
Vieja
(+53) 7-860-8201
Malecón esq. a Lealtad, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-862-8061
BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN OLD HAVANA
FLORIDA
Beautifully restored colonial
house.
Obispo #252, esq. a Cuba, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-862-4127
PALACIO DEL
MARQUÉS...
Cuban baroque meets modern
minimalist
Oficios #152 esq. a Amargura, Habana Vieja
HOSTAL VALENCIA
Immensely charming, great value.
Oficios #53 esq. a Obrapía, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-867-1037
CONDE DE
VILLANUEVA
Delightfully small and intimate.
For cigar lovers.
Mercaderes #202, Lamparilla
(+53) 7-862-9293
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BUSINESS HOTELS
MELIÁ COHÍBA
MELIÁ HABANA
Oasis of polished marble and
professional calm.
Attractive design & extensive
facilities.
Ave Paseo e/ 1ra y 3ra, Vedado
(+53) 7- 833-3636
Ave. 3ra y 70, Miramar
(+53) 5-204-8500
OCCIDENTAL
MIRAMAR
magazine
H10 HABANA
PANORAMA
Good value, large spacious
modern rooms.
Cascades of glass. Good wi-fi.
Modern.
Ave. 5ta. e/ 70 y 72, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-3583
Ave. 3ra. y 70, Miramar
(+53) 7 204-0100
FOR A SENSE OF HISTORY
AMBOS MUNDOS
MERCURE SEVILLA
HOTEL NACIONAL
RIVIERA
A must for Hemingway
aficionados
Stunning views from the roof
garden restaurant.
Eclectic art-deco architecture.
Gorgeous gardens.
Spectacular views over wavelashed Malecón
Calle Obispo #153 esq. a Mercaderes, Habana
Vieja
(+53) 7- 860-9529
Trocadero #55 entre Prado y Zulueta, Habana
Vieja
(+53) 7-860-8560
Calle O esq. a 21, Vedado
(+53) 7-835 3896
Paseo y Malecón, Vedado
(+53) 7-836-4051
ECONOMICAL/BUDGET HOTELS
BOSQUE
DEAUVILLE
SAINT JOHN’S
VEDADO
On the banks of the Río
Almendares.
Lack of pretension, great
location.
Lively disco, tiny quirky pool.
Popular.
Good budget option with a bit of
a buzz
Calle 28-A e/ 49-A y 49-B, Reparto Kohly, Playa
(+53) 7-204-9232
Galiano e/ Sán Lázaro y Malecón, Centro
Habana
(+53) 7-866-8812
Calle O e/ 23 y 25, Vedado
(+53) 7-833-3740
Calle O e/ 23 y 25, Vedado
(+53) 7-836-4072
HAVANA’S
Best
Hotels
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HAVANA’S
best private
places to stay
Sueño Cubano
MID RANGE - CASA PARTICULAR (B&B)
1932
MIRAMAR 301
LUXURY HOUSE
Visually stunning, historically
fascinating. Welcoming.
4 bedrooms private luxury villa
Campanario #63 e/ San Lázaro y Laguna,
with swimming pool
Centro Habana
(+53) 7-863-6203
HABANA
Beautiful colonial townhouse with
great location.
JULIO Y ELSA
Cluttered bohemian feel.
Hospitable.
Calle Habana #209, e/ Empedrado, y Tejadillo,
Habana Vieja.
(+53) 7-861-0253
Consulado #162 e/ Colón y Trocadero, Centro
Habana
( +53) 7-861-8027
UP-SCALE B&BS (BOUTIQUE HOSTALS)
SUEÑO CUBANO
Old palace carefully restored,
seven rooms, suites with
bathrooms and featuring 24 hour
service.
Calle Santa Clara número 66 entre Oficios e
Inquisidor. Habana Vieja
53 78660109
39 339 1817730
CAÑAVERAL HOUSE
But undoubtedly the most
beautiful about private homes in
Cuba
39A street, #4402, between 44 y 46, Playa, La
Habana Cuba
(+53) 295-5700
http://www.cubaguesthouse.com/canaveral.
home.html?lang=en
VITRALES
Hospitable, attractive and reliable
boutique B&B with 9 bedrooms.
Habana #106 e/ Cuarteles y Chacón, Habana
Vieja
(+53) 7-866-2607
CASA ESCORIAL
Attractive accomodations with a
panoramic view of Plaza Vieja
Mercaderes # 315 apt 3 e/ Muralla y Teniente
Rey, Plaza Vieja, Habana Vieja
(+53) 5-268 6881; 5-278 6148
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APARTMENT RENTALS
BOHEMIA BOUTIQUE
APARTMENTS
Gorgeous 1-bedroom apartment
beautifully decorated apartment
overlooking Plaza Vieja.
San Ignacio #364 e/ Muralla y Teniente Rey,
Plaza Vieja
(+53) 5- 403-1 568 (+53) 7-836-6567
www.havanabohemia.com
CASA CONCORDIA
Beautifully designed and spacious
3 bedroom apartment. Spanish
colonial interiors with cheerful,
arty accents.
Concordia #151 apto. 8 esq. a San Nicolás,
Centro Habana
(+53) 5-254-5240
www.casaconcordia.net
TROPICANA
PENTHOUSE
A luxurious penthouse with huge
roof terrace and breath-taking
360 degree views of Havana and
the ocean.
Galiano #60 Penthouse Apt.10 e/ San Lázaro y
Trocadero
SUITE HAVANA
Elegant 2-bedroom apartment
in restored colonial building.
Quality loft style décor.
Lamparilla #62 altos e/ Mercaderes y San
Ignacio, Habana Vieja
(+53) 5-829-6524
(+53) 5-254-5240
www.tropicanapenthouse.com
LUXURY HOUSES
VILLASOL
CASABLANCA
Rent Room elegant and wellequipped. Beautiful wild garden
and great pool.
Elegant well-equipped villa
formerly owned by Fulgencio
Batista. Beautiful wild garden.
Calle 17 #1101 e/ 14 y 16, Vedado
Morro-Cabaña Park. House #29
(+34) 677525361
(+53) 7-832-1927
(+53) 5-360-0456
(+53) 5-294-5397
www.havanacasablanca.com
MICHAEL AND
MARÍA ELENA
This leafy oasis in western Havana
has an attractive mosaic tiled pool
and three modern bedrooms.
Calle 66 #4507 e/ 45 y Final, Playa
(+53) 7-209-0084
RESIDENCIA
MARIBY
A sprawling vanilla-hued mansion
with 6 rooms decorated with
colonial-era lamps, tiles and Louis
XV furniture
Vedado.
(+53) 5-370-5559
Bohemia Boutique
Apartments Red
TOP PICK
Best for 3 small balconies (facing the Patio of the Palace), 1
spacious bedroom with air conditioning
Don’t Miss The apartment is fully furbished, plenty of light and
very well ventilated.
San Ignacio #364 e/ Muralla y Teniente Rey, Plaza Vieja, Habana Vieja
[email protected]
(+53) 5 4031 568: (53) 7 8366 567
www.havanabohemia.com
JUN 2016 89
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magazine
Bohemia Boutique
Apartments Blue
TOP PICK
Best for i1 internal balcony, 1 spacious bedroom
on the mezzanine with air conditioning.
Don’t Miss The apartment is fully furbished,
plenty of light and very well ventilated.
San Ignacio #364 e/ Muralla y Teniente Rey, Plaza
Vieja, Habana Vieja [email protected]
(+53) 5 4031 568: (53) 7 8366 567
Sueño Cubano
TOP PICK
Best for Old palace carefully restored, seven
rooms, suites with bathrooms and featuring 24
hour service.
Don’t Miss Relax at any of the four terraces, feel
the mellow touch of antique and original Cuban
furniture.
Calle Santa Clara número 66 entre Oficios e Inquisidor.
Habana Vieja
53 78660109 / 39 339 1817730
WWW.SUENOCUBANO.COM
TOP PICK
Cañaveral House
Best for Large elegant villa away from
downtown Havana. Great for families or groups
of friends.
Don’t Miss Basking in the sun as you stretch out
on the lawn of the beautifully kept garden.
9A street, #4402, between 44 y 46, Playa, La Habana
(+53) 295-5700
http://www.cubaguesthouse.com
JUN 2016 90

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