Cuba has always been a hugely popular destination for travellers because of its wonderful culture, music, food, historical buildings, cars, cigars … the list is endless and one of the most visited cities is its capital Havana. The Havana experience will be memorable and you’ll find it on every street, every beach and with every person you meet.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN HAVANA
- Old Havana (Havana Vieja) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a good place to start your experience. There are numerous historical buildings here including La Cabaña, an impressive 18th century fortress built during the Spanish rule, and Castillo del Morro, a picturesque fortress built in 1589 which guards the entrance to Havana Bay. The plaza de la Catedral is one of five main squares in Havana and is home to the Catedral de San Cristóbal, an impressive Roman Catholic cathedral from the 18th century that has one tower wider than the other – thought to be the only example of a baroque façade with asymmetrical features.
- A favourite for tourists is a walk along the Malecón, the sea wall that runs along the Havana coastline providing fantastic views of the city’s main streets and also Havana Bay. An evening walk along the Prado with its popular bars, restaurants, bands and street life offers a great place to relax and enjoy what is Havana. The Havana Club Rum Factory is the place to go for one of Cuba’s most famous rums and the Partagas Cigar Factory to see how the most famous cigars in the world are made.
- Castillo de la Real Fuerza is a fortress originally built to defend against pirate attacks and is the oldest stone fortress in the Americas. It has also been added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now a great place to discover all about Cuba’s maritime past. It contains excellent exhibits dating from pre-Columbian times including a model of the Santisima Trinidad built in the 18th century and was the largest in that world at the time.
EATING OUT & NIGHTLIFE IN HAVANA
There is good choice of eating establishments in Havana from small peso stalls scattered throughout the city selling cheap tasty snacks to many restaurants offering a variety of dishes and reasonably valued ‘meal of the day’ options. Havana has a good choice of drinking establishments and its worth taking a wander off the beaten track for a local neighbourhood bar that suites your taste.
GETTING AROUND IN HAVANA
Walking is a great way to discover Havana. Just grab a map from the hostel or ask for directions for where you want to go and discover this wonderful city at your leisure. Another option is by bike and it is even possible to find a guided cycle route from Havana to Santiago de Cuba. Finally taxis can be an experience in itself and if you’re a fan, look out for a 1950s American Chevy.