Visit Havana, Cuba for less than $500

My heart is in Havana.

"My heart is in Havana."

From the popular Camila Cabella song "Havana," to the increasing popularity in Cuban style decor, our culture seems to be recreating the same Cuba craze that struck the nation in the 1930s. Before our relationship with the island because as complicated as it is today, wealthy Americans whisked themselves and their lovers away to the island for a weekend of music, gambling, and drinking. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, relations with the island went downhill and Cuba became sort of a mystery to the US. With an embargo from one of the most powerful nations in the world, Cuba was stuck in the past unable to update most of their technology, cars, etc. Since Obama opened up our relationship with Cuba a few years ago, a few Americans have visited and gotten a glimpse at what we've been missing for years. As a Cuban-American, I'm dying to go but have limited time. I know that to see the whole country, I'll likely have to return, so I've planned a simple weekend trip to Havana, that's affordable and action packed.

Where to stay

Air BnB

There are a number of beautiful resorts in Havana and throughout Cuba that you can stay in that according to American standards are still pretty cheap, but the super affordable way to do it and see the most authentic version of Cuba is to stay in a Casita. Casitas are a lot like bed and breakfasts. Usually small and family owned the accommodations are simple but there is a lot of heart. This seems like a hard thing to track down, but it's not. With Air B n B, you can now look through photos of an array of places and choose your favorite spot with the best accommodations. I'm staying at La casa de Maria y Ernesto. Check it out here. On average, a casita will only run you $25-40 a night. This one is only $25! The added bonus of staying in a casita is that a home cooked breakfast will only run you an extra $5 max.

Housing will run you $70 including breakfast at the casita.

How to get there

Jetblue

Jetblue has made flying to Cuba easy. Depending on where you live, it can be a straight shot. If you leave near the Tri-State area, I recommend driving to JFK to save money on additional airfare. From there, a roundtrip flight to paradise will be about $200. If you live in the Southeast, it's fairly simple as well. There is a direct flight from Orlando that will run you about the same as New York. The good thing, is that once you're in Havana everything is fairly walkable.

Transportation will run you around $200/person.

What to bring

DSW

Cuba is a simple place. An island, don't expect to bring heels or fancy closed. Be prepared to wear a breezy blouse, cut offs, and sandals, let your hair down and dance. Since you'll be walking much of the time, if you're going to buy something, I'd say invest in good, breathable sandals like Birkenstocks or something similar, but other than that I'd encourage you to bring your favorite summer clothes. I'm even packing less makeup for my trip to let my skin breathe in the sea side fresh air.

If you decide to grab some new sandals, check out Madden Girl's Bryce sandal. They look just like Birkenstocks! This will run you only about $30 at DSW as compared to $135 for real Birks.


What to do

Easyvoyage UK

There are endless things to do in Havana and what's even better? Most things are cheap. You'll find the best things off the beaten path by walking around and exploring the streets. Lunch and dinner in Havana will run you no more than $7 each including a refreshing cervesa. Some of the top sight seeing places on our list are: Playa Del Este (to soak up some sun of course), Old Havana and Old Square (to snap some photos of the beautiful architecture, and of course Tropicana, a popular dance hall. My dad always tells me stories about my ancestors dancing the night away in clubs like this every night, so it's only fitting that I go check it out as well.

Food and activities in Cuba should run you about $100 max.

Now you can see why Cuba is such an affordable, awesome place to travel! With this simple but action packed trip, you're only spending about $400, leaving you with an extra $100! I bought a polaroid camera from Urban Outfitters so I can snap old school photos to commemorate the trip.

Check out flights to Cuba on Jetblue here.


Anie Delgado is a contributor to Popdust and is an actress and musician based in NYC. Follow her on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter and check out her music on Spotify. Press inquiries here.

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10 Endangered Animals to Weep Over

Celebrate Endangered Species Day.

An endangered species is not a tragedy, because if a species is endangered, then they aren't yet extinct.

Sadly, there are millions of endangered species across the world, all facing threats that mostly stem from human activities. Still, it's not too late. Take a gander at these majestic animals, and then donate to a wildlife fund or environmental activism group of your choice.


Of course, nature doesn't need saving—humans do—and climate change and environmental destruction are threats to humans as well as animals, but if you need a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the natural world, check out these extraordinary species.



SPONSORED

Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

I took one piece (super yummy!) - 30-60 minutes before bedtime is recommended - but when I climbed in, I didn't notice a difference. I was worried I'd wasted my money.

However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

It had to be these sweet treats. The next day, I even felt more balanced and relaxed - Fast Asleep helps boost serotonin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and I definitely noticed a difference in my overall mood and alertness.

I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

Food & Drink

The Best Apps for Craft Beer Delivery

Try beers from all over the world–from your phone.

With breweries and distilleries out of business for the foreseeable future, your favorite beer may feel particularly out of reach this time of year, especially with the weather changing. But don't let quarantine suck all the fun out of summer. Luckily, thanks to technology, a lot of craft beer is now deliverable straight to your door step. Here are a few of the best apps to help make sure you stay up to date on the latest trendy brews.

Tavour

Tavour

Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.

TapRM

TapRM

TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!

Drizly

Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.

Saucey

Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus

BeerMenus

For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.