What to do in Havana, Cuba

Hi Fly’Fam,

As you noticed recently, since this year we are more active on YouTube, but no worries, we didn’t forget about written articles. Elodie’s last article, inspired me to write about our last trip before covid-19 situation closed the borders.

After I came back from Los Angeles and Elodie’s trip to India, we finally had the opportunity to travel together. This time we flew to Havana and it took us 14 hours and 2 planes to get there. 

As you follow us on our YouTube channel a few weeks ago, we published our vlogs from there (one about things to do in Havana and one about wedding in Cuba). To summarise our trip, I would like to share with you 4 things that you must do and see in Havana, when you visit the capital of Cuba.

FlySoulmates in Havana Ep.1
The Wedding in Cuba l FlySoulmates in Havana, Ep.2

 

  1. Vintage tour around the city 

How many times have you seen the vintage on the pictures of Havana? I’ve seen a lot, that’s why in my opinion, this is what you must do. At the scheduled time on the day of your tour, your driver will pick you up from your hotel or AirBnb in the Cuban capital in a classic car, ready to begin your ride around the city. You’ll be taken to see the most emblematic places of interest in Havana, visiting Plaza de la Revolución, or Revolution Square, and driving around the outskirts of the lush Almendares Park.

Your vintage car your which will last around two hours, it will include one of the most famous areas of the city: the Malecón, the seafront promenade. Explore the streets and avenues around the John Lennon Park, the Vedado and Nuevo Vedado districts, and the Colon Cemetery.Finally, at the end of your classic car tour, you can choose to be dropped back off at your accommodation, or to delve deeper into the historic centre of Havana: discovering the World Heritage Site on foot at your own pace. During the tour you can stop the car and take as many pictures as you want. Also if you have any car preferences (colour, model etc), you can request that during your booking HERE.

2. Take a free walking tour

Have you ever done a free walking tour? What is really cool is that you can see the city with a local tour guide and learn more about it. The tour starts at Hotel Inglaterra, the oldest hotel in the city and one of the places where Winston Churchill used to stay. Opposite the hotel, you’ll see Parque Central, a park which is the green heart of the city, which is also surrounded by emblematic buildings such as the famous governmental building, El Capitolio.

El Capitolio

While you discover some of the city’s fascinating history, you’ll continue the walking tour past the Partagás tobacco factory. This is currently closed for renovation work, but your expert guide will explain all about the Cuban cigar making process. Next, you will head to the Parque de la Fraternidad Americana, an area of parks which was created in 1928 and symbolises the relations between Cuba and the rest of the continent. There’s a lot of history to be told here! Then you will leave the most touristy places behind and make your way to some lesser known sights such as the essence of Havana from yesteryear. You’ll be able to discover the customs and habits of the locals and see what life is really like here.

Your free walking tour will then head to Bar Floridita. Standing tall next to the famous Bacardi Building, with its Art Deco architecture and 1940s and 50s atmosphere, this bar is the birthplace of frozen daiquiris and was a regular hangout for Ernest Hemmingway. No trip to Havana would be complete without seeing this iconic place! If you want you can finish the tour there (like us) or you can walk farther and finish your free tour of Havana in Plaza Vieja in Old Havana.

If you are lucky in the bar you can meet some celebrities or actors like us, where we had the opportunity to meet Ben Affleck.

To book the free walking tour you need to book: HERE

3. Learn Havana dance

During our walking tour, we noticed that live music is everywhere and so many people were dancing salsa at the bar. This is the good opportunity to make the most of your time in Havana embracing Cuba’s incredible culture of music and dance. That’s why we decided to go for cuban dance classes. We picked the Salsa Estilo Cuba Dance School located in the neighbourhood of El Vedado. The class will take approximately one hour. 

The English-speaking instructors, professional dancers from prestigious centres, will welcome you to the class. Their knowledge of Cuban folklore and traditions will give you a great introduction to the island’s captivating rhythms.

During the class, you’ll have the opportunity to try different styles of Latin dancing, including salsa, merengue and the cha-cha-cha. If you can get your head around the steps for these famous dances, you’ll also give the Cuban rumba, the mambo, bachata, tango and kizomba a go! Once you’ve managed to keep up with your dance partner, all you’ll have to do is let yourself move to the beats of the Cuban music, a fusion of African and Caribbean melodies. Pure passion! After the class for  sure you will be able go to the dance floor and show your skills. 

You can book the class before you arrive in Havana HERE


4. Have a drink on a rooftop bar

What is really cool in Havana you have plenty of rooftop bars where you have plenty of typical drinks from Mojito, to Cuban rums, cocktails, beers etc. Also the hotels have rooftop bars and they are also available for non hotel guests.

The best hotel terraces are: 

  • Hotel Habana Viareja (the terrace is hidden, so it’s good to get inside and ask, because it’s on the other side of the street 
  • Hotel Paseo Del Prado (at the terrace you have the view of whole Malecon)
  • Hotel Parque Central (located in city centre, next to La floridita)
  • Hotel Parquard (with the view of Castello and Havana port)

This is what you can do in Havana in a nutshell, if I missed something, feel free to add your suggestions in the comment sections.

Travel tips:

  • The local currency for tourists is CUC, not CUP, so be sure, that you exchange the right one
  • If you exchange your currency, make sure that you have euro (it’s higher, than american USD
  • To get around the fastest way is to take a coco taxi. The price around city centre is 10 CUC
  • Make sure that you spend your money or exchange your money at the airport before you cross the security gates at the airport. After the security control the shops and restaurants accepting only USD, Eur and Canadian dollars

My journey in Rishikesh – 200HR Yoga Teacher Training

Hey Fly’family,

Waouw! Where can we start?! Well, I guess how are you?! It seems that we live in a complete different world since we last checked on each other.

Last time, I connected with you guys, I was about to embark in a beautiful journey of Yoga teacher training in India in February 2020.

It all started back in 2018 when I was thinking to get more serious with yoga as I was ripping the benefits of the practice while working on a busy corporate job.

I started slowly with a session 3 times a week and soon after I could not get enough of it.

Then the idea of going to India, where the yoga was born slowly made it to my mind.

As this time, it was kind of an “impossible idea” or “too big of a dream” to become reality but after some time, I soon realized “nothing is impossible”!

In june of last year, as you know we went to Bali, and if you have missed it, you can watch our video right here.

As you can see in the video, we stayed the Hotel Parahita Kampung Ubud that was giving free yoga classes every evening.

To practice yoga in a such beautiful environment made it so euphoric and from this experience, I dreamt of going to India to do an intensive yoga teacher training.

There are several types of yoga retreats or intensive trainings that are available in India, it is definitely the paradise for yoga, the hub.

Then, the mental game started where I had to figure out which yoga school I will choose.

When it comes to India, you find yoga retreats, intensive trainings, ayurvedic schools from the north to the south and for a first timer, the amount of choices can be quite overwhelming.

It seemed such a paradise and I was split between discovering the south of India and go to Kerala to learn yoga with an ayurvedic twist or go to Rishikesh, the birth place of yoga.

I mean for some it may seem quite an easy decision but living in Ireland, the perspective of enjoying the sun of Kerala compared to the mild to cold temperature of the mountains of Himalaya in Rishikesh was quite tempting.

Until, I found 7 chakras Yoga school and RYTTC in Rishikesh. The reviews were amazing and people seemed to talk more about a life experience rather than a strict yoga training.

Well, there you go, Andrew made me realize that I had to stop overthinking the process and just jump into deep waters! (Yep, still thanking him everyday for giving me the extra push I needed!). I booked the training on January 3rd and set to fly on January 30th!!

Excitement was at the max, I booked a Yoga teacher training for the full month of February.

It was going to be my first solo trip of one month, an opportunity to reconnect with myself, to explore further my inner power.

Andrew was more than happy to have the house for himself and to venture to LA as you might have read our last post right here.

When the D-day came, I flew with Turkish Airlines from Dublin and had to connect through Istanbul then right to New Delhi.

After a 14 hours journey, I arrived in the vibrant & buzzing capital of India…Oh New Delhi, what an energy! Only had the time to dipped my toes into it that I was already catching the next flight to Dehradun, the airport city close to Rishikesh!


After only 55 mins of flight, I arrived in a completely different atmosphere. Rishikesh is located in the North of India, at the foot of the Himalayas and surrounded by the mountains.
My journey has been summed up in the recent video we dropped on Youtube few days ago that you can watch here:

but I really wanted to give you more details on my experience!

  • The School – Rishikesh Yoga Teacher Training Center

As I practice yoga regularly for one year, I knew that joining an intensive training, I would be challenged in the practice but this is exactly the reason why I wanted to immerse myself into.

The program is very strict for 30 days, we are starting everyday at 6am to 6pm by Pranayama and meditation, ashtanga, hatha, anatomy & physiology, yoga philosophy. Some courses were optional such as vinyasa and mantra chanting.

We had breaks for breakfast and lunch and then few hours spread during the day when we could relax, go to the cafe, read or venture to Rishikesh!

The day definitely filled packed that sometimes I would just go to the cafe next door to relax and go straight back to the school or chill in my room.

  • The activities

There are so many things to do in Rishikesh that even one article can not tackle! I’ll try to sum up some of them. We had only sunday free so the school activities for us such as rafting, hiking to the waterfalls but the one I took place that literally blew my mind was the sunrise at the Kunjapuri Temple located in the Himalayas. It was absolutely breathtaking! And it is from far the ones that I recommend even on a solo trip.

  • The environment

Rishikesh is charged with a lot of energies, I have never been in a city so full of energies that it makes you feel a bit dizzy. It is noisy, there’s a lot of traffic and streets food everywhere. It is also crossed by the Ganga river and I have to say I could spend hours meditating by the river or watching sunsets. A sense of peace and union with nature ultimately invaded me each time I was crossing it!

98% of the city is vegetarian and this is the hub for yoga, meditation and so many other soul’s disciplines.

The locals are very welcoming and are used to see yoga “tourists”, sometimes you can spend a lot of time bargaining, but always in a friendly manner! They will always invite you to try their food and gosh, believe me there is so much food to taste, either street food or hidden restaurants, you will find your heaven!

The top street snack for me was : momos, a sort of vegetarian dumplings served with hot sauce, chai tea, then bajee, potatoes beignets and so much more delicious food! Be ready for spicy food lol

  • The people

As I practiced yoga regularly only since 1 year and half, I  knew that coming to a 200HR intensive yoga teacher training would be challenging…this is exactly the reason why I chose to do it! I really wanted to create this space in my mind to introduce this practice on a deeper level with no excuse for not doing it! I found myself immersed in a very diverse group with people from different part of the world, different age group coming together for one purpose, Yoga! 

Some of them were practising from years  and some people were trying yoga for the first time. 

Very humble group, always cheering for each other without drama 🙂  It was a great occasion to support and learn from each other…We spent a lot of time together from early mornings, yoga session to birthday celebrations, they became my yoga family for one month! 
And the cherry on the cake is that I made new yogi friends <3

  • My overall experience

Well, the immediate feeling that I experience is a deep satisfaction for overcoming my fears cause this trip was totally worth it. It came at the right time when I was absolutely ready to live these experiences. Two months after this experience I am still ripping the benefits of this holy month on a physical, mental and spiritual level. I definitely believe that it helped me tremendously to cope with this unprecedented time of pandemic that we are living right now. 

I feel like my pocket is full of tools to re-energize my soul once I feel low, I learnt to enjoy the path I am walking instead of obsessing on the end goal, loving myself more, overcoming my fears, loving my flaws because they make me vulnerable…and accepting & embracing our vulnerabilities is a beautiful process of growth <3

I hope this article was useful to you wherever you are in your path 🙂 I could go on and on with it but I think it is your turn to experience it 🙂  If you have any questions about my experience, do not hesitate to drop your questions on the comment section below! And for those who have completed their 200 HR YTT in Rishikesh or somewhere, please do let me know your experience as well!

Lots of peace and love! 
Stay safe and talk to you soon 
Elodie