A Singaporean Journey to Havana Cuba: Day 2

After a restful night at Lucia’s apartment, we ventured into the streets of Havana Cuba again on day 2. We started the day with breakfast at El Bambu (located on Aguacate Street at the corner of Cuarteles) as recommended by Lucia our host…

Breakfast in Havana Cuba

Menu of El Bambu Havana
Menu of El Bambu Havana
Ham & Cheese Sandwich 1.75 CUC
Ham & Cheese Sandwich 1.75 CUC
El Bambu Breakfast 3.75 CUC
El Bambu Breakfast 3.75 CUC




One of the main things we’ve noticed about breakfast in Cuba is that it usually comes with fruits and drinks. For 3.75 CUC, we had toast, eggs, ham, fruits, juice and coffee. Even for the ham & cheese sandwich (which was a sizeable portion), at 1.75 CUC, it came with a cup of coffee. Not bad a place to start off the day. El Bambu opened at about 9am that morning and we were the first customers of the day. At night, it turns into a little bar serving cocktail favourites like mojito & daiquiri.

Next, we headed to the money changer along Obispo Street to change some CUC. We have covered the basics of money changing in Cuba in our post on what you need to know when travelling to Cuba. Do take some to review that post before you head off to this country lost in time. Essentially, we spent the next hour in line waiting to change our Euros to CUC/CUP. During this time, we saw tourists coming out of the money changer with stacks of money. But with security guards in the vicinity (we counted at least 4 – not including the one inside), no one dared to make a move on the tourists here.

This money changer along Obispo Street is quite peculiar. There are actually 2 queues. If you can, choose the shorter of the 2 since the guard inside lets one in from each queue in an alternating manner. He will open the door, lets one tourist in and then closes the door back. When a tourist from inside leaves, then the next tourist from outside will enter. Yup, the guard is like a traffic controller of sorts.

During this time, while Tom was waiting in line, Kate got to take some photos of everyday life in Cuba…

Nearyby Flea Market along Obispo Street Havana
Nearyby Flea Market along Obispo Street Havana
Touristy Souvenir-ish stuff in the Flea Market
Touristy Souvenir-ish stuff in the Flea Market
Classic DeSoto (Division of Chrysler) in Cuba
Classic DeSoto (Division of Chrysler) in Cuba
Kids on their way to school
Kids on their way to school

Travelling in Havana Cuba

We started our actual adventures today by visiting the 4 plazas in Havana. They are Plaza De La Catedral, Plaza De Armas, Plaza De San Francisco & Plaza Vieja.

Map of Old Havana with 4 Plazas
Map of Old Havana with 4 Plazas

Each plaza has a characteristic of its own. Check out the video below to have a 360 degrees feel of the 4 plazas!

While we were in Plaza De San Francisco, we saw open-top tour buses that passed by quite regularly. Hence, we approached a couple to ask where we could get the tickets. The kind couple from England told us that the bus ride took about 1.5 hours and was something that we ought to do. The ticket for the open-top bus ride was 10 CUC. Later, we found out that we could also take the same bus from Central Park in front of Hotel Inglaterra.

Open-Top Buses passing by Terminal Havana Opposite Plaza De San Francisco
Open-Top Buses passing by Terminal Havana Opposite Plaza De San Francisco




Yes, it is very safe in Cuba
Central Park Havana

There were also many souvenir shops in Old Havana such as this one

Souvenir Shops Old Havana Cuba
Souvenir Shops Old Havana Cuba

You’ll be able to find wood carvings of classic cars, shirts, hats, car plates and our travel “must buys” – magnets. The magnets come in shapes of classic american cars, which were quite unique. They typically cost 5 CUC for 7. The cheapest we’ve seen was 5 CUC for 8 but that’s in the Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolucion) – which costs 8 CUC for tourists and 8 CUP for locals.

Ernest Hemingway Room in Hotel Ambos Mundos Havana Cuba

Visting the Ernest Hemingway Room was actually a “find” that we stumbled upon. The main reason why we headed to Hotel Ambos Mundos was because of the views from the roof top bar (see video above) that it offers. However, as we entered the lift in Hotel Ambos Mundos, the lift operator told us to stop at level 5, visit the Ernest Hemingway Room before visiting the roof top bar. That we did.

Ernest Hemingway Room (2 CUC) Hotel Ambos Mundos Havana Cuba
Ernest Hemingway Room (2 CUC) Hotel Ambos Mundos Havana Cuba

Entry to the Ernest Hemingway Room costs 2 CUC and it is the actual room where he stayed in while at Hotel Ambos Mundos. Ernest Hemingway was a Nobel Prize for Literature winner in 1954 and he visited Cuba many times during the years of 1940s to 1960. He had good relations with Fidel Castro but left after the Cuban government nationalised American assets there.

Inside Ernest Hemingway Room Hotel Ambos Mundos
Inside Ernest Hemingway Room Hotel Ambos Mundos

The room is pretty small and you can literally see all the exhibits within 5 minutes. But it was quite cool to see some of the items left behind by the man himself, such as the type writer that he used

Type Writer used by Ernest Hemingway
Type Writer used by Ernest Hemingway

Congratulatory letters (and faxes) upon winning the Nobel Prize in 1954

Congratulatory Letters & Faxes to Ernest Heminway after he won the Nobel Prize in 1954
Congratulatory Letters & Faxes to Ernest Heminway after he won the Nobel Prize in 1954

And the bed with a picture of him and Fidel Castro

Bed of Ernest Hemingway at Hotel Ambos Mundos
Bed of Ernest Hemingway at Hotel Ambos Mundos

There were also really old looking but HUGE wooden fishing rods with reels which would have been really expensive in those days. According to our guide, the exhibits in the room changes. Tell us more about what you saw during your visit in our comments section below!

Next, we headed up to the roof top bar to try out the mojito & daiquiri – made famous by Ernest Hemingway

2bearbear enjoying views of Havana with Mojito & Daiquiri
2bearbear enjoying views of Havana with Mojito & Daiquiri
View of Morro Cabana Fort in from Hotel Ambos Mundos Havana
View of Morro Cabana Fort in from Hotel Ambos Mundos Havana
Arty "window view" from lift lobby of Hotel Ambos Mundos
Arty “window view” from lift lobby of Hotel Ambos Mundos

We strongly recommend visiting the roof top bar here. The drinks were relatively cheap at 3 CUC and they tasted quite good. Secondly, there’s amazing views over the entire Old Havana. Lastly, there’s live performance of Cuban music as well. Check out the video above to see the views over Old Havana. Even though we ordered only 2 drinks, we did not at any time, feel pressured to order more food or to leave quickly. The staff pretty much left the guests to enjoy the views.




For dinner, we decided to use the CUP that we changed. Along Obispo Street, we saw a pizza joint that sold pizzas for 12 “-“. There was no mention whether it was 12 CUP or 12 CUC. However, we deduced that it must be 12 CUP. So we bravely ordered and paid in CUP for this pizza…

Pizza found to be cheaper when paying with CUP
Pizza found to be cheaper when paying with CUP

From some reviews we read, we learnt that while paying with CUC, the minimal amount would be 1 CUC (24 CUP). This means that if you had paid with CUP, you would have a 50% savings. We also ordered ice cream cone from the same store for 5 CUP. That’s like 20 cents USD! :O

Along the way, we also picked up some churros and fried cheese balls. A local ordered just before us and she paid alot less in CUP. The churros owner this time, charged us the “tourist price” and we paid 1 CUC for the churros which was not too bad as well.

Churros & Fried Cheese Balls
Churros & Fried Cheese Balls

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Related Posts

Singaporeans Visiting Cuba: What You Need To Know

Top 5 Things to do in Havana Cuba

A Singaporean journey to Cuba: Havana Day 1

A Singaporean Journey to Havana Cuba: Day 2

A Singaporean Journey to Havana Cuba: Day 3

A Singaporean Journey to Havana Cuba: Cuban Rum

We hope you have enjoyed this coverage of our day 2 visit in Havana Cuba. Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll be going on the open-top bus tour around Cuba as well as a trip to the Museum of the Revolution!

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