Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

Weekend getaway: New Orleans

November 15, 2016
The only photo I took during our (music-filled) trip to New Orleans.

- Steph

Map: What to eat and see in Havana, Cuba

October 12, 2016
Havana is exploding in popularity now, but it’s a tricky city for tourists to navigate. There’s no internet access on mobile phones and very limited public wifi, which means you have to come prepared. On our trip, we relied almost exclusively on own custom map that included recommended restaurants, must-see attractions, museums, and more. It proved much more valuable than the guidebooks we had brought along.

havana city map
Our map is available to any aspiring Cuba traveler. You can view the high-res version below.
We brought our printed map with us because internet access is slow, unreliable, and expensive, and the Google Maps app does not allow Cuba maps to be downloaded offline. We also preferred consulting a few sheets of paper versus pulling out an entire guidebook. So please print out or buy a map before you go!

Our map combines information from a wide array of sources (English-language guidebooks, Spanish-language restaurant sites, Cuba travel blogs, etc). In particular, we put a lot of effort into finding places where we would want to eat —where to eat lunch in Havana Vieja away from the crowds, where to go for a special dinner, where to grab a drink with the best views over the Malecon, and so on. Cuban cuisine doesn’t have the best reputation, but we followed our map and we ate really well.

A few notes about what our map includes (and doesn’t include):
  • Sights: It lists the major sights in Havana Vieja along with a brief description. I’d recommend bringing along a Havana history guide to learn more about specific locations.
  • Museums: It lists the major Havana museums, most of which we found to be worthwhile.
  • Restaurants: This is where our map shines. We present a carefully curated list of restaurants and include sample dishes, decor, and contact information. We include must-visit culinary destinations and fallbacks, for when its 2pm and you're starving.
  • Tourist traps: We’re not really into following the tourist hordes so you won’t find Bodeguita del Medio on our map (you’ll know when you’re there because of the throngs of people gathered outside at all hours).
You can download our map below. We put a lot of time into making the map, so if you find it useful, please consider paying (whatever you think it's worth). But most of all, we want you to enjoy the map and your trip. We loved Cuba and hope you will too.

Here’s a brief overview of our itinerary:

  • Day 1: Vintage car tour + Havana Vieja (including Plaza de la Catedral de San Cristobal, Taller Experimental de Gráfica, the Plaza de Armas, Calle Mercaderes, Calle Obispo)
  • Day 2: Havana Vieja (including Almacenes de San José craft market), Capitolio, Paseo de Prado, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
  • Day 3: Museo de la Revolución, Centro Havana, Malecón, evening in Vedado (La Torre, Cafe Laurent, La Zorra y el Cuervo)
  • Day 4: Day trip to Vinales
  • Day 5: Rum and cigar shopping + El Cocinero + Fabrica del Arte Cubano 
  • Day 6: Castillo de los Tres Reyes + last-minute activities

More detailed information about our trip:
If you spot any errors in the map, please let us know in the comments.

Note: Direct flights to Cuba are now available from the United States. Travel restrictions for U.S. citizens are still in place, but travelers claiming the people-to-people license no longer have to travel as part of an approved tour group.

Note to email subscribers

September 25, 2016
Hello faithful blog followers! Sorry for our extended absence. We've just posted seven long overdue blog posts. Here are the direct links:
We hope you enjoy the photos and we'll be back soon with more. Thanks for reading.

- Steph and Ben

Hanging with goats

September 14, 2016
Photos from Labor Day weekend in Mendocino, with so many goats!

First stop: Philo Apple Farm
Second stop: Pennyroyal Farm
Everyone loves goats
Third stop: Andiron Cabins (with goats Peanut Butter and Jelly)
Sunset at Van Damme State Park
Mendocino Headlands
And to top if off, Peanut Butter and Jelly know how to open and close doors.
- Steph

Camping trip: Hills over Healdsburg

July 10, 2016
Over Fourth of July, we took the motorcycle to Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley.

lake sonoma liberty glen campground
Hills over Lake Sonoma
- Steph

Camping trip: Sonoma Valley

June 22, 2016
For our second camping trip of the summer, we spent the night at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma.

- Steph

Weekend trip: Santa Fe

May 31, 2016
For Memorial Day, we flew to Santa Fe (thank Southwest companion pass!). The highlights: hiking at Tent Rocks and cocktails at Radish & Rye. The lowpoint: our cracked rental car windshield.

Hiking at Tent Rocks
tent rocks santa fe
tent rocks desert new mexico
Santa Fe Railyard District
Santa Fe Railyard District
Santa Fe Railyard District
santa fe church
- Steph

Camping trip: Sonoma Coast

May 26, 2016
For our first camping trip of the summer, we took the motorcycle up the Sonoma coast and camped at Salt Point State Park.

- Steph

Cuba trip: Stopover in Cancun

May 25, 2016
Start at the beginning of our trip to Cuba.

Then we were back in Cancun for one last night and day. We knew our way around this time, like where the airport ATM was located, which faux-security checkpoint en route to that ATM didn't really stop you if you just walked through, and what a reasonable price for a taxi from the bus station should be. ("So walk!" the first driver threatened when we rejected his price; one block later, the price magically dropped 25%.) We checked into the same hotel, ate another hearty lunch at the vegetarian place, Darma Cafe, next door (we ended up eating there three times), then hopped on a bus and went to the beach.

In the evening we walked through a plaza, which had a festival atmosphere in celebration of Benito Juarez's birthday. It was nice to see the "real" Cancun and not just the Vegas-like hotel strip (where most tourists stay, never having to speak Spanish or engage with Mexicans except as employees in the hotels). For dinner we went to a taco joint called Piknik, recommended on TripAdvisor specifically for their margaritas. (We had internet access again!) The tacos were very good, but our margaritas were surprisingly tasteless. We considered for a few moments whether to just accept them, but decided that, with their rave reviews, maybe it was a fluke. So Steph politely explained to the waiter that our margaritas really didn't taste like lime or tequila at all, maybe they made them wrong? And within a few minutes, we had two properly-made replacements, which were quite delicious.

The next morning was the last day of our trip, as well as my birthday. We had a good "completo de la casa" breakfast at Cafe Andrade, with eggs, tortillas, onion, pepper, etc (and a crazy hot sauce on the side). Then we took the bus back to the beach (the public Playa Chacmool). There were plastic beach chairs for rent for a "tip" + photo ID (as collateral). We had brought photocopies of our passports, not wanting to lose our real ones a few hours before our flight. The woman running the rental shop insisted that only the real thing would do. But Steph pulled off a masterful feat of Spanish negotiation, explaining that carrying our real passports was too risky, we had a flight in the evening, etc, promising to stay very close and return the chairs. Success!

The surf was really choppy - there was actually a surfer catching some nice waves - and we splashed around and body-surfed for a while, with the lifeguard advising us where to avoid rocks and drop-offs. (The Cancun coast is suffering severe erosion, and its beauty is sustained mostly by very costly repairs and sand restoration.) Then we sat on our hard-won chairs - Steph read 100 Years of Solitude, and I finally finished The Old Man and the Sea. (I had alternated between that short novel and Jon Lee Anderson's fantastic, 700-page biography of Che Guevara, which I am still only halfway through.)

On the bus back to the hotel, we were amused (and slightly embarassed) by a group of American tourists who needed a guide to use the public bus (to get from one point on the strip to another), had the guide pay for all of them, and then thanked the driver in English. A different kind of travel.

- Ben