Havana, Cuba

Discover the unique city of Havana, Cuba. 

Capitolio Nacional de Cuba, Havana
Capitolio Nacional de La Habana©P.Marshall

Havana, capital of Cuba, is a city of quandaries and contradictions. Its main attraction are the beauty of its historical area, the exceptional architecture, the revolutionary and Cuban iconography (from the Malecón to the Plaza de la Revolución Square, as well as La Giraldilla), and its vast cultural offer.

 

Malecón of Havana
Malecón of Havana, Vedado.
Plaza Vieja Square, Old Havana
Plaza Vieja Square, Old Havana
©Tai Pan
Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle, Old Havana
Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle
©XimoPons

The history of Havana is a fascinating one. Here you will find interesting museums and impressing restoration projects, and an excellent musical culture ranging from street music to cabaret.

One of the best things you can do in Havana is paying attention to the daily life of the city: children playing baseball in the street, street musicians, a man trying to turn on the engine of his 1955 Plymouth, etc. The locals of Havana, as opposed to the locals of many other parts of the world, do not only survive; they project, create, debate, and live with a passion rare anywhere else.

Another great attraction is its lively nightlife and musical landscape. Life in Havana, after all, is a cabaret in itself, where all musical styles are represented. You will be able to enjoy the vast offer of life and improvised concerts.

If you want to say that you really know Havana, you have to spend - at least - three days, even though we would advise at least a week. The areas that group most attractions are: La Habana Vieja (Old Havana), Centro Habana, and Vedado. Old Havana is the suggesting masterpiece of the city, whereas Centro Habana, to the west, offer the most candid and revealing insight in to Cuba. Vedado, the most lavish area, was a former mafia feud and is nowadays full of hotels and restaurants that me this the nightlife spot per excellence.

During your first days in Havana, it’s a must to visit Old Havana with its four Colonial squares, most important museums, and other must-see attractions such as: Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum), Colonial Art Museum, Rum Museum, Plaza de Armas Square, San Cristóbal de La Habana Cathedral, Edificio Bacardí building, San Francisco de Asís Convent, or the Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle. The historic part of Havana is an area of four kilometers full of history in every corner. Here you will find many monuments and museums catering all tastes, so setting a clear route beforehand could be a good decision as, otherwise, it may be impossible to see everything and you could miss some of the essential spots. It could be a good idea to begin by visiting the Museo de la Maqueta de la Habana Vieja (Old Havana Scale Model Museum), which gives the best general overview of the historic centre of Havana.

During your third or fourth day there, depending on how much time you are planning on spending in Old Havana, an excellent idea would be to visit the Old Havana Port, near Plaza de San Francisco de Asís Square, to board the ferry that will take you to Morro-Cabaña Military-Historical Site, with its two majestic fortresses: Morro Castle, and San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress.

During the following days, why not visiting Vedado, and Centro Habana? You could even stop on the way to taste a mojito drink in the terrace of the Hotel Nacional, visit the University of Havana, the Plaza de la Revolución Square to see the Ché mural, and the Memorial monument to José Martí. Other very interesting visits would be entering to the Capitolio Nacional de Cuba, the Museo de la Revolución Museum, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Many travellers find it amusing to see life happening in the Barrio Chino (Chinatown). Should you like lively nightlife, you can enjoy yourself in the many jazz clubs, bars, and cabarets in the area.

If the weather allows for it, in the outskirts of Havana, you will find many cities, towns and picturesque towns where life follows a different silent drum. The most interesting of these places are: the neighbourhood of Miramar, mainly noted for its Aquarium; Mariano and Cubanacán, in Playa municipality; the areas of Regla and Guanabacoa; the towns of Cojímar, Casablanca, with the vast Cristo de La Habana statue; Santa María del Rosario; the Hemingway Museum, in San Francisco de Paula; the area of Parque Lenin, with the National Zoo and Botanic Garden; and the Playas del Este (Eastern Beaches), where are some of the best beaches in Havana.

February is one of the best times to visit Havana, just when the International Jazz festival is held. During summer, heat in Havana can be suffocating, so October seems a better choice, being a quieter month with lots of attractions, such as the Ballet Festival. The most crowded and lively month is, by far, December, when the New Latin American Cinema festival takes place.

What to do in Havana:

You cannot be bored in Havana, which offer such a vast range of attractions that it’s hard to find the best one. We do advise you to check these out:

  1. Walk through the Art-Decó, Neo Classical, and Colonial Baroque architectonic mosaic in the city.
  2. Discover and be amazed at the incredible and rehabilitated Old Havana, without doubt, the jewel of the city.
  3. Visit the Revolución Museum, Capitolio Nacional, and Fine Arts museum, where you can get a glimpse at the art history both of Cuba and the world, in Central Havana.
  4. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views offered by the Malecón, specially at sunset; visit Plaza de la Revolución Square with the José Martí memorial monument, and the University of Havana, in Vedado.
  5. Discover the unexplored beauty of the Cristóbal Colón Necropolis.

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What to see in Havana:

Old Havana

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