I am so obsessed with Cuba that I can't stop thinking and talking about it, and that's why I ended up writing three posts about this unique country. I believe this post is very important though because there are some information that you need to know before traveling to Cuba.
The visa is actually a travel card that can be issued by the airline which you bought your tickets to Cuba. The process isn't bureaucratic and the visa card costs U$ 50. You can get it ahead of time (which I advise) or at the airport before departure. You will not be able to board the flight without the visa card.
Do all the research before you go
Search for itineraries, addresses, what to do, and etc, before your trip. When you arrive in Cuba you won't have internet access. And yes, it's nice to have some time to just walk around Havana without a destination and find out things at the moment, but there are also some cool things to do there that you probably will not know if you don't research before.
Download the Cuba app
This app is amazing! It was SO helpful on this trip! It has an offline map that actually works. You won't be able to search for an address and have the app showing you the way, but you can see the blue dot in your location, which at least for me, made it much easier to use a map.
Make reservations at the places you want to eat before you go
Some of the best restaurants in Cuba (I have here in this post) need reservations. We even tried to go to some without making reservations but we were not able to get a table. So I advise you to do a little research, or read my post with my favorite restaurants, and make reservations before you go.
Money in Cuba
In Cuba there are two currencies: CUC and CUP. The CUP is used by locals, and CUC by us, the tourists. Basically everywhere is going to have the prices in CUCs, unless you visit something extremely local that is not touristy at all. 1 CUC is equivalent to 1 US dollar, but because of the complicated relationship between US and Cuba there is a surcharge of 10% to exchange US dollars to CUC. A smart thing to do is to bring Canadian dollars or euros before you go so you get the best deal.
How much will you spend each day?
This question is a little hard to answer because it depends on the person. But I wanted to share an average of how much some things cost there: We had breakfast at the Airbnb we were staying in and we paid 5 CUC per person. For lunch and dinner we spent around 12 - 20 CUC per person per meal. The other costs were transportation, museums, rum and mojitos haha. We spent an average of 80 - 100 CUC per day per person.
In Cuba they don't accept any cards from US banks. We should have been able to use my card from Brazil or Lindsey's from Holland to withdraw from an ATM, but we were not able to find any ATM that actually worked. So you have to bring enough money because everywhere you go you can only pay with cash.
Airbnb instead of a hotel
The best way to really get to know Cuba is by staying in a house rather than a hotel. There are several options on Airbnb and the Cuban people are very receptive. Many of them can even offer you services like transportation or food. In my opinion, staying in a hotel takes away some of the magic of being in Cuba.
Do not take a taxis
Very important tip: do not take the yellow cabs. They are from the government and they are much more expensive. You can easily find people offering taxis on a private car (most of the time on the antique cars), and they are much cheaper. Always talk to the driver about the price before accepting the run and don't be shy to ask for a discount.
There are no snacks on the street
Apart from a cart selling churros that we found on the first day, and a little window that sold pizzas, we couldn't find any kind of snacks. There is not a place to grab some chips, granola bar, or fruits on the go. So if you are like me, who eats every 3 hours, bring a few snacks with you or prepare to feel a little hungry between your meals.
The more Spanish you can speak the more you can enjoy. In my group, I was the only one who spoke Spanish and I was trying to translate everything. My friends who were with me said that they will try to learn some Spanish so they can understand everything better and communicate with the Cuban people next time.
Travel with an open mind and heart
Cuba will make you wonder and question many things. Forget about trying to understand everything or find answers. Just go with your head and heart open and let yourself fall in love with this magical place. Forget internet, forget uber, forget luxury. Go and live each day intensely.
The trip to Cuba made a big impact on me. I fell in love with the country, the charismatic people - which reminded me a lot of Brazilians, the music, and the art expressions that are present basically everywhere.
Cuban people are strong, and their love and patriotism can be seen and felt everywhere. My main advice for those who are planning to go there is to not try to understand everything, but simply go with an open mind and let that beautiful place make you fall in love.
Some of the best things we did in Cuba were found in the moment, so make some time to just walk around and explore, but here are the 10 favorite things to do in Cuba:
Dinner at Dona Eutimia
We ate there on our first day in Havana. The food was delicious, and the frozen mojito is a must.
For reservations: email@example.com
The place is famous because it was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, and their frozen daiquiris were named the best ones in Havana. We tried to have a drink there on our first day in Havana but it was packed. We ended up coming back 2 days later and got to sit at the bar and try the famous daiquiri. There was a band of women singing and playing and they were amazing.
Cha Cha Cha
In my opinion, they had the best mojito I drank in this trip. Sweet but also strong in the right amount. We did not eat there, but for sure I want to go back and have dinner next time I'm in Havana.
Unfortunately we couldn't make reservations so we were not able to get a table there. But we got to go to their bar on the rooftop and they have an amazing view of Havana. Not to mention that the restaurant is inside a building that looks like a house, and its architecture is so beautiful. Oh, and If you are a selfie fan don't miss out on the opportunity to take pictures on the stairs that Khloe Kadarshian posted on Insta.
Now, this is a serious advice: Make an effort to take at least 1 day to go to the beach and get to see the heavenly Veradero. We went there just for the day and we paid 240 CUCs for a big car that we split in 6 of us. The beach is gorgeous with clear water and fine sand. And the best part is that because of the US embargo in Cuba the beach is basically intact. You won't see many hotels, restaurants, shops or anything man-made.
After we had dinner one day, we started to walk around Havana trying to find a place to have a drink. During our walk we met Allan, an architect and artist from California. He was super nice and talented and getting to know him was also another great part of the trip. He took us to this rooftop that reminded me a lot of Brooklyn. It's a fun place to hangout and have drinks. Tip: their shots of Rum are equivalent to about 4 shots. That night was lit.
Auto Biennial Art
We found this little art gallery when we were walking around Havana Vieja. The gallery is inside a two-story house and has several sculptures and posters that reflect everything. From their intense love for their country to creative abstract works.
Museum of the Revolution
For me, the day at the Museum of the Revolution was what helped me to understand the country a little more. As much as we have always heard of the Cuban revolution, in the museum they display very interesting things that I didn't know about those sorrow years for the Cuban nation.
Fine Art Museum
One of the most beautiful museums I have ever been to! I love contemporary art and the Museum has beautiful works that made me speechless. It is kind like the MOMA but smaller. Unfortunately we arrived there a little late and didn't have enough time to see everything, so it is another place that I really want to go back in the future. Don't miss the chance to go there!
Dancing salsa without fear
Cuba is moved by music and you will hear a beat playing basically everywhere. Salsa is their main rhythm and there are several places where people are dancing. I know that there are places that you can take salsa lessons while there, but my advice is to just dance whenever you have a chance to, and don't worry about your skill because nobody will judge you. Just be happy and move those hips.
Ride antique cars but also the "bike taxi" and "coconut car"
Yes, do ride the old cars. They are super cool and Cuba is the only place where you can find them everywhere. However, we had more fun when we rode a "Bike taxi" that fits 2 passengers, and the "coco car" that fits 3 people. They are a little more adventures than the old cars and you get to see the city better that way.
These are the top 10 things I did in Cuba, but the most important thing is to arrive in Cuba with an open mind and heart, put all your problems aside, and try to dive in the culture of the place. You won't have internet so be there living the moment. If you do that, it will definitely be an unforgettable trip
I am writing this post 10 days after I returned from Cuba, but it feels like my heart is still there. I loved that country so much that to be honest I don't even know where to start talking.
I was never crazy about going to Cuba. I love traveling so of course I was curious to go there one day, the same way that I feel about several other countries, but it was not on my top 10 list of places to go. This trip just happened thanks to a group of friends who wanted to go there and basically put Lindsey and I in their plans.
As usual, I did a lot of research before going, which was great because there was basically no internet there, so it was nice to have a plan with some things to do. However, one of the best parts of the trip was not having internet and the things we did without planning, just living the moment.
When we arrived in Havana and started to walk around the streets of Havana Vieja, a lot of feelings and questions came to my mind. Being in a communist country that basically stopped in time in 1959 made me think about many things that I hadn't paid much attention before. At first, I felt sorry for the young people growing up there. I wondered how my life would've been like if I was born in Cuba. I like to dream big, work hard after my goals, and I'm always looking for something new to use as a purpose. I thought that I would hate to be from a place that has even less opportunities than Brazil.
And then, on the second day of the trip we met David, a young Cuban man who was so intelligent, charismatic, honest, and above all happy. We met him in a bar and he ended up showing us a few places around Havana, and at the end of the night I found out he didn't have a home. He told me that he eats and sleeps at different friends' houses every night. My eyes were filled with tears right away. I just didn't want to believe or accept that such an incredible young man had to live that way. I started thinking about why some people are born with so many privileges while others have nothing. I closed my eyes and thanked for all the opportunities I have. I felt stupid for complaining about such stupid small things sometimes. And I went to bed thinking about David and the Cuban people.
The next day we found David again, which was not very easy considering we had no internet and no cell phones. And it was on that day that I started to realize that the lack of opportunities and ambition is what makes the Cuban people so happy. Every time I looked at David he had a huge smile on his face. He introduced us to some of his friends, and they were always singing, joking around, and laughing. That was when I realized how wrong I was at the first day when I arrived in Cuba. I noticed that David, who had nothing, lives happier than many wealthy business men I know in New York. People who work and stress out so much that they barely have a chance to enjoy the money that they make or the stuff that they own. And no matter what, at the end of the day, life goes by so fast and can't take nothing from here.
I came back to NY wanting to enjoy more and worry less. I want to spend more quality time with my friends, to sit down to talk without worrying about the time, and to not use every spare hour to do an extra job.
The trip to Cuba ended up being much more than another beautiful place to see. It touched me in ways that I did not expect and somehow changed the way I see certain things. I can not wait to go back and spend more time to learn even more about this incredible place.
outfit 1| outfit 2 | outfit 3
Last Sunday I spent part of my afternoon helping my friend Chelsea to "build" her roof. She lives in Bushwick and has an amazing backyard that happens to also be a private roof. She has incredible roommates and they have decided to make the roof the coolest spot for us to hang out this summer.
First the idea was just to make it nicer and more comfortable, but then we started to get more creative and promises of palm trees and bath tubs have been rolling around and I am so excited to help making this place look incredible. I will probably be posting more photos from the #VanRoof this summer, and I have actually started shooting some videos of the renovation/decoration process so stay tuned for more.
Now about my outfit, summer has not even started yet and I am already wearing my crop tops. I have actually forbidden myself to buy any more crop tops because so many let see how that goes lol. But I found this red one about a month ago for $5.90 at Zara and since that's basically what I paid for my coffee I decided to just get it. Not super proud, but I definitely love the color. I also love my new skirt from H&M which was also super cheap (I think it was $34.90) and I will be wearing it all the time this summer. And lastly but not least, how hot are my new ray bans? I can't take them off my face!!
Last Saturday I felt really honored to be at my friends Theresa and Jessica wedding in Brooklyn. Jessica has been friends with my girlfriend Lindsey Thoeng for a long time, and I met the couple right in the beginning when I started dating Lindsey. They are both so beautiful, have an incredible vibe to be around, and their wedding was the most beautiful one I have ever been.
First of all, it was my first lesbian wedding, so I was super excited. And then these two sutnning girls walk down the aisle with so much peacefulness and graciousness. You could tell through their shinning eyes how much that moment was important for them.
I feel like I could barely breath during the ceremony. I just felt this intense urge of happiness, love and joy, and then I started to cry once they started their vows. Theresa is a DJ and after the ceremony the dance floor was LIT! Every single person was dancing and there was even a drag queen and dancers performing. But beside the unforgettable party that they threw, the best part was to be there celebrating their love. Everyone there had a huge smile in their face.
Glasses: GlassesUSA | Top: similar here | Jeans: Twenty5a
When I was a little kid I used to ask my mom if I could wear glasses. I don't really understand why but I wanted it so badly. Now, 20 years after I am finally able to wear a cute pair of glasses. They are not real prescription glasses, but just an accessory to make an outfit or look more interesting. I matched it with red lips and a bare shoulder to add a more sexy touch, and went for lunch in the Flatiron District on a beautiful sunny day.
It took me a while to become a fan of lipsticks. I started using eyeliner basically every day when I was only 13 years old, then got addicted to mascara, foundation, and blush. But lipstick kind sounded a little outdated, and it always made me feel like I was wearing too much makeup. Until the matte lipsticks became a thing a couple years ago. Now I can never leave the house without the last touch on my lips.
This Temptu kit has been my go to since I got it last March. I love how the lipsticks feel creamy but still delivers a natural matte look. The kit comes with 4 beautiful shades and they are basically all I need for every occasion.
My favorite color for everyday is the Blushed Suede, and the Plush Plum for when I am in the mood for a more dramatic look. I have to confess that when I put the Jet Rouge (the darkest one) on I absolutely loved it! I felt so feminine and powerful. But I haven't had the chance to use it outside of my house yet. I feel like I need a special occasion for it, which you guys will see for sure on my Instagram soon: I'm planning to wear it on a night out in my upcoming trip to Cuba.
So glad I stopped being boring and started exploring lipstick colors haha, What are your favorite colors and trends for lips? Help out this lipstick newbie girl!
I’m the type of person who loves to try out a bunch of different workout classes: from boxing to dancing anything that seems challenging sparks a interest in me.
Yoga is one of the classes that it’s pretty challenging for me because I’m not flexible at all, and I usually prefer the classes which I run/jump/lift and sweat like a crazy person. But there were so many times that I did yoga and enjoyed it so much that I decided that in 2007 I was going to get better at it. I told myself that I was going to practice more often to improve my flexibility, breathing, posture, and that way enjoy yoga every time I do it, because nothing compares to that peaceful feeling afterwards.
I got super happy when I started doing classes at Yogaworks. First of all, the stuff there is super nice, and the studios are so beautiful, with great lighting that makes me feel relaxed by just being there. Their instructors are amazingly patient, and capable of helping everybody in the class. I especially loved how they are very specific about how you should do each move, explaining how your posture should be, and how you should feel.
And then I decided to try the Coreworks class and it made me fall in love even more with the studio. I came to the class thinking I was going to nail it because I work my core so much doing boxing and total body conditioning at the gym, and I was extremely surprised about how there are many other exercises to work your core, targeting different muscles that I didn’t even know I had. I felt my abs tighter after the class (yay) and broke a sweat just the way I love. Definitely recommend trying that class! In NYC I did it with the instructor Lynette Johnson and she’s wonderful!
Now, how cute is my sportswear from Boohoo? I’m kind obsessed with it and got some compliments in the locker room (yay again). This set is super comfortable and is a great deal for the price. The link to shop it is below: