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Now that the paroxysm of consumerism known as Christmas is behind us (and any entity public or private still playing carols should be shut down or shot), I invite you to experience a different slice of life – Havana.
Until January 3, I’ll be giving away 30 free copies of my iapp Havana Good Time (see notes 1 & 2). All you have to do is let me in on one of your favorite places in Merida (Mexico), The Big Island (Hawaii) or Havana. Why these three? Just because they’re among my favorite places in this hemisphere. If your suggestion is already known to me (in the case of the first two) or listed in the iapp in the case of my adopted city, I might still gift you Havana Good Time just for playing (see note 3).
How to play? Easy: just enter your submission in the comment field or drop me a line.
CAVEAT EMPTOR: this offer only good at the US iTunes store (sorry about that folks – this part is out of my control)
Tell your friends!
Hell, tell strangers. And while you’re at it, let them know about Havana Good Time’s Facebook page, where I post all the latest tidbits, juicy news, and hot concerts happening around town.
Happy 2011 everyone – may it be full of new adventures and health for all.
1. OK, so it’s a free virtual trip to Havana, but this iapp is so dialed in, with over 300 great images, you’ll feel like you’re there.
2. Havana Good Time currently works on the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. Versions that work on your computer coming soon!
3. If you win, all subsequent versions of Havana Good Time are free too!
31 responses to “Wanna Go to Havana for Free?!”
“Don Cangrejo” in Havana
Because the local hip Havana crowd goes there, only open on Friday and Saturday, the music isn’t Cuban covers. No tourists go there so it feels like a normal place instead of the many places where everyone is for sale.
Hola Eric…Thanks for playing.
Don Cangrejo is already in the iapp (“Pop Stars, Poolside”). This place is a fun late night spot to see hot acts like Interactivo, David Torrens, Kelvis Ochoa, Descemer Bueno, etc etc. Dont know when you were last there, but this place brings in a lot of tourists….
“or shot”? Have you been in Cuba too long, my dear?
On to ’11! Good luck.
If only it were Cuba that made me so dogmatic. Unfortunately, Ive been this way for a looooong time.
Swimming at Playita de 16, in winter, when the water and “beach” are cooler and cleaner.
Hola! Dont you just love playa 16?! great place for a beer and a burger, too. Ask the 40-something Cubans around town and they get all dewey-eyed about their youth (mis)spent at this little stretch of coast.
thanks for writing in – this is already in the app.
PS – I guess Ive gone too native bc I would never go in the ocean bw Dec and Feb. FRIO!!!
My favorite place in Merida is the Hotel Caribe.Tucked away behind park Hidalgo it is pretty and quiet yet right in the center of things .You can even stay in the “presidential suite” with its own balcony overlooking the park !
Winner! Winner! Thanks Bill – I didn’t know about the Hotel Caribe. All that, and at the nice price too! check your email for details on redeeming your copy of Havana Good Time.
Happy Monday and thanks for playing!
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En Mérida, lo que más me gusta: las champolas en los portales, a un costado de la catedral. Your posts on getting your Cuban driving licence almost made me cry with laughter. Happy New Year, Connergo! Hope to visit you and your adopted country on 2011!
!qué rico! Im more of a savory person myself – love those elotes they sell all around the zócalo. check your email for details on redeeming Havana Good Time.
Feliz Ano Nuevo to you too! and glad you liked the DMV saga. that’ll teach me to let things slide….
Bar at the Edificio Bacardi. Beautiful building, grand lobby, long stair case up to the bar. Great decor and vibe, excellent mojitos.
That bar is a little hideaway! great for popping out of the noon day sun for some mojitos as you mention. Combine with a visit to Museo de Bellas Artes (Cuban collection)
Thanks for playing but the Bacardi bar is already in Havana Good Time (now if you can supply some info about getting to the top for the views…..)
There is a lift to access the towers. More steps after the lift. Not sure if it was protocol to allow access. If someone is in the area, can they can verify? I won’t be there until late Winter unfortunately.
just found a mention of the bell tower on another site, which explicitly says the tower is open to visitors. I guess I wasn’t special after all. http://www.gpsmycity.com/tours/architectural-tour-in-havana-3534.html
All my blog readers are special! (I have so few!)
This must be brandy new. When I was there 2 months ago, there was no access to the tower. Im on heinous deadline, otherwise Id go check it out myself…
These gpsmycity apps are interesting. anyone ever use one?
If you mean you have few free copies, please no worries. I am more than happy to buy one. I am only helping out and adding to other travelers’ experience. I will make sure to add my review when I am there.
Gracias Carmen! no, I meant I have so few blog readers. but you know what they say (outside of Cuba anyway!) it’s quality not quantity that matters.
Hi Conner- you may already have the Centro Martin Luther King on the app- it is also near Pogliotti so can make an interesting politics/ architecture field trip. The Centro MLK is a cool mixture of American peace rhetoric and Cuban revolutionary rhetoric. For the world’s politically active…. PS (even if this qualifies) I will never use the app (just not going to have any of the electronic stuff to use it) so please send it on to someone else….
Hola! Thanks for the terrific suggestion. Im intimately aquainted with the Martin Luther King Center. They do terrific work and Pogolotti (a barrio of Marianao) is a favorite. Marianao as a destination is in the app, but Im afraid the Center is not really set up to receive “drop ins” – not yet anyway! For people who are interested, trips by Global Exchange sometimes stay at the center and the pastors for peace caravans always do. These trips are great ways to see Cuba from a different, non-touristy perspective.
I hear you on the electronic stuff – I had to get an iTouch just to do the app and now it sits in a drawer.
Ah well- I have seen school groups going through the MLK Center and it is too bad that it is not more accessible to the traveling public. And keep the digital stuff in the drawer! Dan
How about La Bodeguita in Old Havana? My friend Karissa and I traveled there in 2007 to visit my friend Brea, who was in med school there at the time, and we we went to La Bodeguita for mojitos. There was an incredible trio playing, and it was such a thrill to have a drink where Hemingway once did! On top of everything else, their mojitos were delicious. It was one of those bucket list moments: having mojitos in Cuba where Hemingway once did with my best friends.
hola jeneka! thanks for the suggestion. Im reading a little about old Papa’s days in Havana right now and I came across this by his third wife, Martha Gellhorn:”
“Cuba is no place for a self-willed opinionated loner.”
You said it sister!!
Sorry I can’t offer you a free copy of the app; Ive just learned that the offer has expired for the free copies.
I think Café TV in Vedado (FOCSA complex, ground level, entry from N) could deserve an inclusion in your guide. I went there twice on my last visit to Havana and liked the good-value food and the service. Of course, the regular high-class comedy nights might not have much to offer to most non-native visitors, but the place itself is nice enough.
Other suggestions: Museo del MININT, Museo de los CDR, Parque Lenin and maybe the Regla neighbourhood. Accommodation: Casa Maritza, with a balcony overlooking Parque de los Mártires Universitarios: 27 de Noviembre (Jovellar) #204 btw Infanta and San Francisco, Centro Habana. +53 7 873 2761.
PS: I already have your guide on my iPhone…
Awesome suggestions. Cafe TV is definitely slated for inclusion, as is Regla, one of my favorite spots and home to one of my favorite Viejitas, Carmita featured in this post about Cuba’s Secret Weapon.
Parque Lenin – I try to love it, but the machos ricos with their huge american cars blasting reggueton while their barely out of puberty mistresses bump and grind
(and sometime vomit from too much hooch) nearby are a bummer. Plus its located in ‘casa de carajo.’ HOWEVER, there are great things to di with kids there (rodeo, amusement park, pony rides) that Im sure Ill bite the bullet in the next version….coming soon!
Museo de MINIT – is it really that interesting? Ive never been. And where is the Museo de CDR? My CDR feels like a museum sometimes it’s so calcified.
Thanks for the casa maritza tip. this is a great, centrally located place to stay. Ill check it out for the next version. Cheers!
I’m glad you like my suggestions. I actually mentioned the MININT museum without having seen it from the inside — when we went there one Wednesday morning last August they had closed it for the day because the staff were on a joint visit to some other museum! I had read enough about it to be quite curious. It surely belongs to the category of places that tell you a lot about how Fidel’s Cuba has always liked to present itself. The same goes for the CDR museum, which is bang right in the middle of Obispo (btw Aguiar and Habana), only that we were actually able to enter it when passing by… Definitely interesting if you are at least 5% into Current History and Politics, not necessarily a beautiful, must-see sight.
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Hey Conner! Last fall I was part of a study abroad program at Casa de la Américas, and we always went to Doña Laura’s on H entre 21 y 23 for lunch. The carne ripiado is amazing, they almost always had salad, and they’d do a vegetarian plate with a fried egg, all for 24-40 PN. I hope it’s still going strong, they did great business with UH students.
Saludos del imperio, missing Havana,
Hi Mimi. Thanks for writing in with a great suggestion! I’ve never been to Dona Laura’s but the location is great – a couple of blocks from Huron Azul/UNEAC, Casa and UH even. I’ll definitely give it a try since Im a sucker for well made, cheap food and 40 pesos cubanos is the nice price!
Havana – easy to miss, deeply, eh?
Absolutely. Your blogged snapshots of life there both help and hurt.
Also, when you’ve eaten your fill at Dona Laura’s, the batidos at the “Pan.Com” (not actually one of the chain restaurants, just a sandwich shack) on H y 17 are delicious. And please eat a mango for me this summer!
Will do – I’m a batido (fruit milkshake) freak and the mangoes are requete rico!