Reviewed by Rob Belles, TravelLikeAnArchitect.com
“North Americans don’t understand… that our country is not just Cuba; our country is also humanity.” – Fidel Castro
Is Cuba a repressive Communist country? Is Cuba a country of compassionate humans? These were questions my wife Lynn and I had before we set foot in Havana. Having traveled to over thirty countries on four continents, we’ve seen a lot but are always looking for new adventures. In May 2016, just after President Obama relaxed the travel restrictions to Cuba, we debarked on the second cruise to Cuba in over fifty years.
It was on that cruise that we met Greg Shapiro, a fathom Impact Guide. One year later I was pleased to learn that he wrote a book, 12 Hours in Havana: Build your perfect day in Cuba. Whether you’re going by air or sea, 12 Hours in Havana is a prerequisite for anyone heading to Havana. I wish this book would have existed when Lynn and I were in Cuba. Although fathom did offer guided tours, we had plenty of free time for exploring on our own. And explore we did. But we also nearly got lost.
12 Hours in Havana is a treasure trove of information and trivia about Cuba – the culture and history are worth reading even if you are not planning to travel to Havana. Travel tips include everything from currency, taxis, LGBT culture, and personal recommendations on places to eat. (Cuban food is so delicious!)
It’s the wonderful and well-documented itineraries that make the book essential to anyone looking for the best way to get around. Greg distilled his personal experience and organized the best of the Havana into efficient, exciting, and easy-to-follow journeys. As I read through each, the vivid descriptions made it easy to mentally retrace my steps. There were a few unique places we walked right by and had no idea existed. As a bonus feature, Greg utilizes the app Maps.Me to create a map you can download to your phone, which works without Internet (essential in Cuba).
Overall, the book is well written, concise, and easy to use. You would be foolish to go to Havana without this essential guide. 12 Hours in Havana Build your perfect day in Cuba is available on Amazon.