We had talked about visiting Cuba for the last couple of years, it seemed like the rules and advance planning were overwhelming, they were not. We did do quite a bit of research and made plans in advance because we had limited time and there is limited internet, happy we did. If you can, go. If you can have the people who hosted us to show you around do, they made the trip for us.
Guides who made our trip:
David, firstname.lastname@example.org took us around Havana, taught us about history, art, architecture, politics and then took us to the beach for a swim. He also arranged for transportation for us to go to Vignales. If you want someone to arrange logistics of traveling in Havana and around the whole country he is your person.
Marilyn, who with Alex Jr. hosts a farm visit in Vignales, https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/176867. Go on this one, there is lots of tourism in Vignales but this was to an out of the way farm, have lunch if you can and use these two as a resource for a day trip from Havana or if you want to stay for longer.
Nini and Ricky, took us on a couple hour tour to Jardin Tropical, abandoned gardens and party venue that is accessed through a Havana neighborhood, https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/391324. The gardens and fading structures were phenomenal and it was great to see with them as our guides, Ricky grew up in the neighborhood and as a child played in the gardens.
Abel, we did a two hour salsa lesson with him the day we arrived, https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/150405691 he is an incredible dancer and teacher. Highly recommended.
We stayed in an air b and b there are lots of choices. Our house was in Miramar, it was about a 15 minute car ride to Old Havana but the house had a lovely out door area where we were able to relax, hang out and visit. We also had breakfast at the house every morning. The hosts were super helpful with calling cabs, assisting with reservations, fixing a bank problem we had and giving us a ride in their own car to dinner one night when there was a huge rain storm and there were no cabs available.
Restaurants for next trip: