Get a Glimpse of Guava: 4 Stops for Your Cuban Itinerary
Places and spaces worth seeing to get a Guava Island experience in Havana
In the very beginning of Amazon Prime Video's Guava Island, the first thing we hear after Donald Glover’s upbeat opening song is Rihanna’s voice. No, to our dismay, she doesn’t sing at all in the film, but lends her distinct rasp and dulcet to do a little story-telling instead. “A very, very long time ago, long before the birds, cars, and even coffee beans, the seven gods of the seven lands created the dueling truths: love and war. The gods then decided humans would need a place away from these elements, a small island. This small island in the very center of the world. They called it, Guava,” she sets the scene, taking us through the legend of their land.
Once a land so abundant with lush greenery and untouched by man, Guava was a slice of paradise once upon a time. However, like a page out of our own history’s storybook, discovery led to modernization and monopolization and soon enough, Guava Island became just as enslaved to the economy as any other place on earth.
In reality, there is no such place as Guava Island—but the country where the production was filmed is definitely well worth a visit. With the short film being shot in Cuba, it’s certainly possible to catch glimpses of familiar scenes and pick up on the summertime magic that the film is all wrapped up in (a good chunk of it, at least).
Ahead, discover four must-see spots around Cuba’s capital, Havana, that are well worth a spot on your travel itinerary.
Soak up the culture at the Sunday Rumba
With his guitar ever slung across his back and a tune hanging off his lip, Glover’s character Deni is the very definition of a free spirit. He lived and breathed art and self-expression. Those are the very concepts celebrated at Callejon de Hamel, a narrow alley in Havana. Stretching only a few blocks long, Callejon de Hamel is a local hotspot for the arts with murals and sculptures that offer a peek into Afro-Cuban history and religion.
While colorful and vibrant on its own, this pocket of Havana truly comes alive on Sunday afternoons. The sound of drums and frantic rhythm transforms this alley into a befitting backdrop for rumba dancers and musicians alike.
Pop into a jazz club for some live music
While Red Cargo kept a tight grip on the folk of Guava Island, this much was obvious: music coursed through their people (in case you haven’t watched the film just yet, watch out for the scene where they dance in the middle of factory work!). This much was even truer for Deni, whose life was dedicated to his craft: singing to and for the people of Guava.
Thankfully, in Cuba, music is a language that rings loud and clear through the country. In the city center, jazz clubs are a great way to experience some of that Cuban soul people can’t seem to get enough of. Some favorites, arguably must-visits, are La Zorro y El Cuervo and Jazz Café, but be warned: famous clubs are synonymous to crowds and long lines!
Mix and a-mingle with the locals
Perhaps one of the most romantic spots in Havana, the Malécon is an 8-kilometer esplanade that runs along the coast. It’s a lovely place to watch the sun as it rises and sets, and is just as great for getting a glimpse into local culture. Locals thread through the Malécon at all times of day, often with friends and music speakers in tow to watch the sea.
Don’t forget to hit the beach!
Speaking of the sea, you don’t have to choose between touring the city center and soaking up some sun at the beach. After all, we can’t forgo sea, sand and the ocean breeze when it’s Guava Island we’re talking about. Just a short trip from Havana are the Playas del Este, a series of beaches located in the east of the country. Bacuranao, the beach closest to the city, is known for snorkelling, while the resort town of Tarará is arguably one of the most beautiful. The largest of the beaches, Santa Maria del Mar, stretches roughly 9 kilometers and has the most facilities travelers would need for a memorable day at the beach.
Ready to experience that Summertime Magic? Watch Guava Island, among thousands of other shows and movies, on Amazon Prime Video with Globe Postpaid. All Postpaid subscribers can enjoy a 6-month subscription on Globe. Simply text APV to 8080 or click through to discover more.