(Originally posted 7/14/2015)

 Early in the year, I was at the Pleasanton California Fly Fishing Show. Dylan and I from Flywater were talking with the guys from Avalon about Cuba. Eventually, they invited us to lead a group to their newest fishing area on the North Coast-Cayo Cruz.

I had a few other things in mind when visiting Cuba this time, outside of the fishing. When I was there last, in January of this year, I got a small taste of life in Cuba, and it really got me intrigued. I wanted to see more. So, I laid plans to spend an extra 4 or 5 days doing just that.

When most of us go on a fishing trip to Cuba, we end up spending a night or two in Havana. Usually, accommodations are high-end hotels catering to foreign guests. And, most often those foreign travelers spend their time in the Old Havana district, usually visiting the haunts of Hemingway. It really is worth seeing. But, I wanted to do all that I could to get away from the tourist scene. Below are some photos from Havana, with a little explanation for each:

I had read all about the fact that Cubans can now rent out their homes, and rooms in their homes. In fact, they are now available on Airbnb. Rather than $300 a night in a hotel full of tourists, travelers can stay with a Cuban family and spend $30 a night. This was the balcony outside my room where I would relax in the evening, and have breakfast in the morning.

There are 3 distinct parts of Havana. Old Havana (old but touristy) Central Havana (authentic but hectic), and Vedado (authentic and very residential). I opted to stay in Vedado, and I am really glad I did. It was hot and muggy as you can imagine, and most homes did not have A/C. As a result, the people were outside in the evening. On my streets, groups of men would play dominoes (tiles) in the shade of the trees.

I loved walking around this neighborhood in the evenings, and discovering things. As you know, old American cars are everywhere in Havana, but I loved the alleyway this one was parked in. Look at that beautiful arch at the end and the buildings themselves.

Here are some other images from around the Vedado neighborhood:

Scroll through these photos to see life in other parts of Havana:

By the way, I also learned during this time in Havana how to properly stand in line in Cuba, how to flag down and ride in a group taxi, and how to use the local currency to save a lot of money!