Introduction: “These are a few of my favorite things, . . .” 

As I started to review Dennis’ Cuba Links, which are exhaustive (you had to know him), I got to thinking that perhaps the best way to set up a “Links” page on Cuba is by going to my “favorites” and “go-to” links. Over time, this list is modified and updated. These also answer many of the so-called Frequently Asked Questions about Cuba – – what to bring, what works, better check twice before you go, etc.

1.  Applications and Translation Apps

2.  Telephones and Internet Service in Cuba

3.  News

4.  Hotels – Casa Particulars

5.  Cigars

6.  Shopping

7.  Restaurants and Paladars

8.  Before you go, better check this first



Havana Good Time by Connor Gorry. Great App, off line maps, regularly updated.  One of my all time favs. While in Havana, you need nothing else.

I’m always promising myself to get better at Spanish. I’m getting there, but people still have trouble understanding my Spanglish.  So while in Cuba, or even while practicing, I’ve found the following useful:

Jibbigo – go for the offline version you’ll be glad you did. You can type or say something in one Language and it translates into the language you choose. Its actually pretty accurate and funny, especially when it comes to what it thinks you said.

Duolingo– a fun way to learn. I like the coach who reminds you daily to practice since the Coach is right – you need daily practice to learn a foreign language

ITranslate – similar to Jibbigo.  Now available for off line use.

Conju Verb – ok, so here’s a goal – let’s learn a verb a day, and conjugate it to death with every present past participle, future, imperfections included. Right – you’ll stick to it

My Language Pro

Phrase book – good for common every day phrases

Fluenz – I like it since it follows adult logic – meaning how we form sentences. The have downloaded and online options. – great for texting from the USA to a cell phone in Cuba. It works instantly – but you cannot receive a text from Cuba while in the USA from their cell phones



Nope – – there is no Internet, no roaming Wi-Fi, and only a few hotels have Wi-Fi. Here is a list and here is a sampling from that list;


Anyone can walk in, purchase a card and get service.

1.) Hotel Chateau, Miramar.
2.) Melia Habana, Miramar.
3.) Montehabana, Miramar.
4.) Panorama, Miramar.
5.) Occidental Miramar, Miramar.
6.) Melia Cohiba, Vedado.
7.) National Hotel, Vedado.
8.) Parque Central, Vieja.
9.) Saratoga, Vieja.
10.) Sevilla Hotel, Vieja.
11.) Plaza Hotel, Vieja.
12.) Hotel Santa Isabel, Vieja.


Available for guests only.

1.) Grand Hotel


1.) Melia Santiago de Cuba

All Inclusive Resorts:

Available at cost for guests only.

1.) Melia Cayo Coco
2.) Melia Las Americas in Varadero
3.) Melia Sol Palmeras in Varadero
4.) Iberostar Varadero
5.) Iberostar Laguna Azul Varadero

Option:  the next best thing is to go to Cuba’s telephone and “cable” service, Etecsa

Some hotels have SLOW computers so it’s as bad as the old phone modem service. That being said, if you’re truly in need of staying and being connected, there are options.

Mobal International Cell Phones. Works in Cuba. You can buy a SIM card or a phone that connects on the Cuban cell network, aptly named “Cubacell.” You can also purchase a separate data SIM card plan for internet use on Cubacell. You can also text. But beware, this is very expensive; $2.75 a minute for outgoing calls from Cuba to U.S. and Canada, and $2.50 a minute for incoming calls. National calss are $1.25 a minute, and calls to other countries are $3.75 per minute.  Outgoing text messages are $1.50 per message; incoming are free.  Cellular data is very expensive; $21,99 per MB, charged per kb.  [Note: I gave Dennis this lead, he used it, and got the referral discounts that went along with it!!]

How To Call
One of the most asked FAQs I hear is – “Pablo, how do I call home and how does home call me?” Very easy to do.

For calls from Cuba to U.S. it looks like this: dial (that’s old school lingo for “input”) “119 – 1- area code – phone number.” You don’t need to input the “+” or spaces; just input the number.

And to call from the U.S. to your phone in Cuba, it would be: 011-country code – number. Mobal is a UK phone so it is 011-44-number.

And to call “in Cuba” to another phone in Cuba: input “0 – phone number.”  Click here for further info.

My Phones:

I take 2. My Apple 5 – I replace my AT&T USA SIM card with a Mobal data only SIM card.  I then can connect on their cellular netowork, Cubacell, for internet and emails.  I use it for e-mails.  This is an “unlocked” phone so I can use different SIM cards.

The second phone is an Apple 4S which is a dedicated international phone, also with a Mobal SIM card. I kept this one since Mobal at one time offered a toll free number for calls from the USA to the phone. This means it’s easy to call me – you simply dial 1-888-number. You don’t have to go through a bunch of numbers such as –/–
Plus there’s no charge to the caller since its toll free

Recharging your friend’s cell phone in Cuba:

It is easy. Unlike our US cell phone “plans,” the cell phone system in Cuba is a bit different. There, the Cubans must “recharge” their phone – similar to a debit card system. You can “recharge” their phone a number of ways, even here in the U.S. via various services; here are two that I use: which is now

ETECSA’s website provides links as well:

•Para recargar acceda a:`


3.  NEWS:

Granma – Cuba’s Official News Agency.

Cuban Art News.

Havana Culture.

Jose Fuster.

Cuba  Good to check before you leave so you can see what’s happening.





Trip I like their website and in recent years, the visitors have increased with their thoughts. ‘

Havana Concierge



Cuban Cigars Review

Cuba Cigar Price List Tediously maintained.

Cuban Cigar Best resource for Cigar Research — hands down.

Cigar Second best and has not been updated in some time (2013)


The news re Cuba Cigars is great although I don’t always agree with their selections in their annual Top 25 – but that’s a personal choice. I had the pleasure of meeting Gordon Mott, Senior Contributing Editor, and David Savona, Executive Editor, in Cuba when they were attending the annual Habanos festival and our baseball group as leaving Jose Marti Airport back to Miami.


While you’re on their website check out the forums which contain a wealth of information on Cuban and Non-Cuban cigars, and many other topics.

Also, here is a link to the 2011 edition of The Insider’s Guide to Havana, for restaurants, hotels, cigar shops, cigar factories, and other good stuff. I subscribe to the magazine and this edition is great and current. 


And here is a link to the 2015 edition “Welcome to Cuba.” 

In the May/June 2015 Issue

Habanos and La Casa Del Habano.

Habanos S.A. is the world leading company in the commercialization of premium Cuban cigars. Think of them as exporting the Cuban cigars to the world (except, of course, to the USA).

La Casa Del Habano

From here you can see every single cigar made in Cuba, news about new cigars, etc. Plus, it gives you a list of every LCDH in Cuba and throughout the world. Here’s the link to all the LCDH’s in Cuba.

In Cienfuegos, there’s one: Address: Blvd. Centro Histórico. Avenida No. 54, esq. a 33.  Phone: 53 43 55 2144

In Havana, there’s lots of choices:

For example, at the Melia Habana Hotel. Avenida 3ra e/ 76 y 80. Miramar. Playa (which is just around the corner from the Occidental Miramar, a 5 -7 minute walk).
Phone: 53.7 204 5289

5th Avenue LCDH:

Address: 5ta Avenida y Calle 16. Miramar. Playa
Phone: (53 7) 214 4737
Fax: (53 7) 204 7975
Address: 5ta y 16 / 5ta Avenida y Calle 16. Miramar. Playa
Phone: 53.7.204 7973


The beauty of travel is purchasing local products – whether it’s t-shirts, art work, CD’s, or other souvenirs.  There will be plenty of opportunity to visit street vendors, shops, etc.  The list is endless and depends upon where we visit.

There is another side to shopping as well – – shopping pre-trip to purchase and bring to Cuba.  Or, upon your return, you may want to buy some things.  Here are two links.

The Guayabera Shirt Store.

Yes you can buy them in Cuba, but my favorite store is here in the good ol’ U.S.A.  It’s the quality of their material that counts.  But nothing beats buying your first guayabera “tuxedo” shirt in Cuba, and you’ll find them all over the Country.  One of the best places was a roadside stop we always made from Havana to Cienfuegos.  I can’t remember exactly where it is, but the selection and prices were great.  At some of the big hotels, there is a bit of a markup.  I do like the Hotel Nacional’s selection.


I think they have the most stuff  which provide me with great ideas.  Fun shirts, hats, key chains, bags, you name it they got it. There’s stuff you can purchase and take to Cuba.  

One year, I purchased some stuff for Dennis with the name El Rapido on it.  You see Dennis and El Rapido, in Cienfuegos, is where he would spend many a night.  So, here’s what I got him: a hat, an official T-Shirt, some stickers (Mac loved those), and best of all, his own official “erasable” chart.

One year I got some of the guys some spiral notebooks, like a journal, for the trip.

If you go this link, you’ll get a number of hits:  

Home & Pets (26,516)
Clothing (14,726)
Accessories (10,760)
Office Products (10,579)
Electronics (7,567)
Cards & Postage (6,825)
Craft Supplies (5,117)
Art & Posters (2,058)
Miscellaneous (1,750)



Restaurants and paladars are always changing, so it’s a good idea to double check if they are still in business. What might be great today is gone mañana, never to be seen or heard from again. It happens.


Alamesa Directorio – list of restaurants.



Aduana Cuba Customs. Cuba’s Customs website. Must read. 

Lonely Planet Thorn Tree – Cuba.
Great source of research and information for travel to Cuba on a variey of subjects, provided by travelers and seasoned veterans. Check it out for the “latest” news.

Western Union – sending money to Cuba.
At some point, someone will undoubtedly ask you to send money to them in Cuba.  Yes, you can do so.