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Cuba jumped to a high spot on my travel list when it opened back up to the US. If you caught on Instagram, I just checked it off with one amazing week in Havana. Even after a bit of planning and researching, I was a little unsure of what to expect. The culture and way of life are so different than what I know and it was truly unlike any place I’ve ever been, which ultimately made for a fascinating trip. We did so much walking to explore the city, stopping at any place that caught the eye. There are plenty of wonderful places to visit in Havana but these are the 8 I think should not be missed. If you have any questions about traveling to Cuba — visas, tours, accommodations — I’m happy to answer in the comments!

1. Walk along the Malecón at night

During the day, this is a great spot to get a photo of those classic cars cruising along the water with a backdrop of beautiful buildings. But the area really comes alive at night. Catch the sunset here or go back after dark to see it crowded with locals hanging out, blasting music while enjoying rum and cigars.

2. Get a coffee at Café El Escorial

Take an afternoon break at a table outside at this cafe in Plaza Vieja. The coffee menu is extensive and exceptional!

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3. Have sugarcane juice, coconut water or a mango from a street cart

You’ll find these throughout central Havana or on the beaches. The mangos were my favorite! Don’t hesitate to barter (it helps if you can speak a little Spanish), we usually paid $1CUC for each.

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4. Go to Santa Maria del Mar

It goes without saying that there are so many beautiful beaches in Cuba. If you’re staying in central Havana, I recommend taking a taxi to Santa Maria del Mar. It’s pretty close, extremely picturesque and wasn’t crowded with tourists.

5. Walk down Paseo de Marti

Stroll down this street from the Capitol building to the Malecón. The walkway in the center is lined with benches and is another great spot to experience the city. Grab a drink, your camera, a book, anything and have a seat for some people watching.

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6. Have a drink on the roof at Hotel Saratoga

The view is unrivaled from the rooftop bar of this beautiful hotel – in all honesty, a place I insisted on checking out because Beyoncé stayed there. Settle down with a cocktail and catch the sunset here. There’s a second charming bar on the second floor with a piano player every night.

7. Have dinner at La Guarida

This storied building is a sight you must see. Go a few days early to secure a reservation. If you can’t get one, have a drink at the bar on the roof – the La Mansión there was one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had.

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8. Pick out a classic car in front of the Gran Teatro and take a tour

What a view – the charming, colorful old American cars that one pictures when thinking of Havana line up in picturesque rows on the Paseo de Marti in front of the Great Theater and Hotel Inglaterra. Head over and pick your favorite for a tour of the city, with plenty of stops for pictures of course. We paid $30CUC for an hour in this darling pink car.

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I find it near impossible to define my makeup essentials when I have my entire collection to choose from but packing for vacation certainly demands it. Over the years, I’ve gotten good at not overpacking and that includes my beauty routine. It’s best to keep makeup as streamlined as possible when traveling which means something different depending on your destination. Today I’m heading to Cuba and for a warm-weather vacation, I think you can’t go wrong with glowy skin, rosy cheeks and tinted lips. These are the a few products I’m currently obsessed with to create that look – my summer makeup essentials.

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Base – NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is my go-to for everyday. It has a light but buildable coverage and SPF 30 so I love that an extra step is taken care of. I mix it with a few drops of Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in moonlight. This is my favorite way to use the drops so far because it creates the prettiest all-over glow. I always apply my base with Wander Beauty’s sponge. I set with a very light dusting of IT Cosmetics powder or my new Beauty Pie powder. These powders don’t mattify but just help keep everything in place.

Color – For a more minimal look, I’ll use either blush or bronzer. I still bring both because a girl needs options. The ColourPop blush and highlight duo is super convenient if I want a little flush and even more glow. I also love it as eyeshadow with the pink in the crease and the highlight popped on my lid. The Butter Bronzer is worth all the hype it gets and more, the scent alone is worth the $15.

Eyes – I put a dab of Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Jean all over my lid and a couple coats of Wander Beauty mascara for fluttery lashes.

Lips – I love a tinted balm like Dior Lip Glow or Fresh Sugar Lip. I always end up with a few too many lip products as a result of leaving one or two in every bag. NARS Roman Holiday lipstick is another favorite at the moment, it goes on a sheer light pink.

Mist – A setting spray with SPF lets me reapply as you’re supposed to throughout the day. I’m bringing the Pixi Sun Mist and trying out the new Kate Somerville SPF 50 setting spray.

Body – Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse oil can go everywhere. I put a few drops along my collarbone and shoulders for even more glow.

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Round up the troops – I need your vote! Let me explain: I’ve collaborated with Volition to create a new in-flight face mask that needs 1700 votes to go into production and become available for sale.

Have you heard of Volition Beauty? I reviewed (and loved) a couple of their products months ago but this time around, I’m an innovator! I came up with the idea a few weeks ago when I was getting ready for a 7-hour flight. I read countless in-flight skincare routines looking for the perfect face mask but couldn’t find one that addressed all my skin-related problems that come with long-haul flights: dehydration, pollution, dullness and irritation. So I settled for a basic hydrating mask and emailed Volition my idea. I started doing research on ingredients and made a big list of potentials that would do everything to protect skin while traveling: hydrate, fight pollution, brighten and soothe.  We hopped on the phone when I returned and I was happy to hear we were all baffled as to how this product didn’t exist!

They then found a lab to create the formula, a cream-gel that goes on clear and can be left on for as long as you’d like. We’re still fine tuning the ingredients but it will definitely have marine hyaluronic acid which works better than your average hyaluronic acid for instant and long-term hydration. The new face mask is called Jetset & Protect and you can vote here to make it become a reality!

Image by Arthur Elgort for Vogue