Do you dream of Havana?
Don’t we all? It could be the salsa music that plays in the streets, the minty mojitos or the mere fact that Cuba is Vedado. Forbidden. Illegal. Off limits.
Cuba offers the wild promise of the unknown.
I’ve dreamed of dancing in Havana for as long as I can remember. In my dreams there were handsome Latin men playing guitars in the cobblestone square, vintage cars rolling down the Malecon and in this dream I am smoking a fabulous cigar.
I just returned from an extraordinary week long visit to Cuba with the uber luxe firm cazenove+loyd out of London. The founder, the fabulous Henrietta Loyd, led an exclusive small group trip that allowed us access to a Cuba most Americans, most visitors really, never see.
As I was planning the trip the question I heard over and over again was “HOW are you going to Cuba?” This from well traveled billionaires (for real) and tennis moms alike. Over the next few weeks I am going to put together a set of posts that will answer every question and lay out the very best itinerary with all of the hidden Paladars you won’t find in guide books and real world advice on how to make your Cuban fantasy come true.
A sneak preview:
We visited Hemingway’s home the day before it closed for five months. Sharon Stone is making a movie about Hemingway called Papa and using his home as a set. I even got take the 20 minute ride from Havana to his home in the open top vintage car they will be using in the movie.
We were hosted for private dinners in various artist’s homes. The art in Cuba is beyond imagination. We met the artists, visited their studios and I bought original works (now being shipped to me from Mexico). I have a great curator and a lot of advice on buying art in Cuba.
We snorkeled in the Bay of Pigs, spent two days on a ranch in Trinidad and visited the mausoleum of Che Guevara, on whom I have developed a mad posthumous crush.
Our last day in Havana I spent in a state of bliss shooting over 1,000 images of the people, architecture and cars.
Along with me for this wild ride was my darling 15 year old daughter. I was brought on assignment but allowed to pay for one guest, I do believe I deserve mother of the year. If not for the trip, then for this photo alone.
So tell me.
What do you want to know about Cuba? I am so in love with the country, the people and the mojitos I want to give you every piece of advice I can so that you can make your Cuban dreams come true. My upcoming posts will be:
How to Get to Cuba (the legal way and the sneaky way)
Where to Eat in Cuba (the best Paladars are brand new and not on any website anywhere, trust me)
How to Get Around Cuba
Money, Gifts and Everything You Need to Know about Tipping in Cuba
The Day I was Followed by a Spy and Caught with Anti-Government Propaganda (truly, this happened)
Looking forward to your questions and comments and to reliving this trip over the next few weeks as I write these stories. I am also on assignment from Greenwich Magazine and hope your questions help me to write a more informative article.