The Best 48 Hours in Havana, Cuba

Hi! We’re Candy and Crystal. We’re sisters who grew up as military brats and spent the first half of our lives in Japan. The majority of our family resides in Japan, but we ventured out and have spent the second half of our lives mainly in the United States. We both love traveling and have always documented our travels, so we decided it was time to share our travel experiences with the rest of the world.

We have had our eye on Cuba ever since airlines started direct flights to Cuba from the United States. We booked our trip through Southwest Airlines and it was just like booking any other flight except we had to get a visa specifying the reason for our visit (there are 12 visa categories to choose from). Since many people had questions about getting this visa to Cuba, we thought we'd start out this post with that process.


4 AM

Southwest required that we arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to our departure time to give plenty of time to process our visa for Cuba. It only took 20 minutes to get our visa and then check-in to our flight, but as we were heading to our gate, we noticed the lines were getting long. So, if we hadn't arrived early, it would have taken us much longer for the process.

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11 AM

We arrived at the Havana airport around 8AM. It took us nearly 2 hours to go through customs and exchange our money. As soon as we got our CUC, we grabbed a taxi in one of those old American classic cars Cuba is known for. It took about 25 minutes to get to Old Havana, where our Airbnb was located. Our lovely hosts showed us how to use the bathroom (no flushing toilet paper in the toilet and discard in the trash can) and then handed over the keys. We were so excited to stay in Old Havana right in the center of everything. 

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12-4 PM

We were ready to explore and just started wandering the streets of Old Havana. The cobblestone streets and historic architecture were simply stunning. Every corner we turned, we discovered something intriguing. As we were walking, many Cubans tried to talk to