Places To Go Out:
Fabrica de Arte Cubano
This place is where the coolest of the cool hang, and it has a great international scene. The best part about it, is that they keep the cost low, so that everyone including locals can go! Truly an unbelievable place! It’s essentially a giant warehouse that is part art gallery, part club, part bar, music venue, and they even have food. When you pay to get in, they hand you a card, they use that to tally you drink order, DO NOT LOSE IT. Pay when you leave. Get there early, the line is long! Luckily, we made friends with a local, who got us through the line! Thursday through Sunday 8 pm - 3:00 am
The Malecon is where the kids hang out. It’s the place where you know your friends will be hanging after dark, and drinking rum or crystal, the typical beer of Cuba. Drinking in public is no problem there, and you will see plenty of folks walking around with their bottle of rum and a cup, so they can partake in a drink. One thing I noticed was that although drinking in public is totally acceptable, I did not find there to be very many super drunk people in the streets acting crazy, or being generally wasted. That was refreshing.
A cool place that has live music every night. The city doesn’t really have much a going out culture from Monday-Wednesday, so this is a good option when you are there on an early week night.
Safety: Cuba is safe. It’s somewhat unbelievable to be in a foreign land, and yet feel so at ease. There is relatively no crime there, and you can feel it. We walked around all hours of the night, and didn’t have a single problem with anyone or anything. The only things to be aware of is what is referred to as a jinetero. Cuban people are amazing, but like anywhere there a hustlers. They are not dangerous, and are rather friendly, just trying to make a buck, but sometimes you can pay a high price for this, so just be careful when anyone offers to take you to a bar, restaurant, excursion, etc. Here is a helpful article about that. http://www.casapartycular.com/en/jineteros
Luckily we did not have any experiences with this, but we did hear lots of stories from other tourists, that they were definitely not excited about.
Fortunately for us, everyone thought my man was Cuban, and I speak Spanish, so we were pretty much in the clear for a lot of that kind of thing.
Ultimately, we had the best time, had no issues, and enjoyed the heck out of ourselves. I would just recommend taking a map with you, to get yourselves oriented, as there is no wifi as I mentioned, therefore no GPS!! We picked up a copy of the Lonely Planet Cuba, which included a very helpful map in it. I have to say, I loved the experience of not having wifi, not being able to google anything, and have to usereal map. It was such an interesting feeling to not have access to those things that have become such a normal part of our every day life, but reminded of what it used to be like before the internet, when you actually had to ask someone for directions, use a map, and learn an area well enough to recognize it in the dark. I loved meeting random people and being befriended by locals that could take us to the cool local spots that could not be found in any guide book. That was the most fun. I hope you all get to go one day soon too!