The Cuban capital of Havana is one of the world’s most spectacular places and offers a variety of attractions to explore. Being the country’s most colorful location with the most contrasts, the capital has earned a positive reputation for its varied culture and places, including the grand Spanish fortification of Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the contemporary folklore and weekend street parties at Callejon de Hamel, with its strong African heritage, and the symbolic Revolution Square, to mention but a few.
In other words, Havana is a sensual and addictive place that must be seen and felt in order to be understood (or at least get closer to demystifying its magnetic allure). Beyond the steamy weather, pretty colorful buildings, Afro-Cuban beats and happening locals, there are many more attractions to be taken in during a visit to Havana.
These are some of the top things to see and do in Havana, Cuba.
The city is packed full of different museums that re-tell the history of the capital and beyond. One such is the Museum of the Revolution in which you can explore the details of Fidel Castro’s rise and the triumph of his rebellious 1959 revolution. Then there is the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes which displays an impressive collection of local and international art with a huge variety of pieces ranging from 500 BC till the present day. These two are definitely the ones not to miss but for a bit of fun you can include a few more in your agenda such as the Museo del Ron or the Museo del Chocolate or for a step back in time the Museo de Artes Decorativas, the Museo Napeolonico and the Taquechel Pharmacy Museum.
If you have visited Havana and didn’t try the Mojito, then your trip is incomplete. Almost every bar and restaurant in Cuba serves it and the ones made here are too good to pass out on. Stop by La Bodeguita del Medio on Calle Empedrado, at the heart of Old Havana, to enjoy the best Mojito in town right at its birthplace.
Also known as simply “La Catedral” or “the cathedral” this centuries-old church is quite impressive and has numerous statues and frescoes. Facing the church is a wide square in which you can find a variety of art galleries, coffee shops and small bistros serving quality coffee and refreshments.
Photo by Nick Kenrick
If you’re looking for a cheap journey through the streets of Havana, then hop on this piece of quirky and ingenious mechanics that has been roaming the city to offer visitors uninterrupted views. This tiny, coconut-shaped (hence its name) and open-air three wheeler vehicle gives you a noisy and somewhat slow but still interesting and scenic ride through the downtown area. You’ll find them mostly parked around the Malecon promenade and around the Vedado neighborhood.
This spectacular UNESCO-listed valley and wondrous natural site is just a two hours’ drive from Havana and definitely worth the day trip for an amazing encounter. Viñales is known for its isolated flat-topped limestone mountains scattered around the valley floor but there’s much more to this place than picture-taking and admiring the dramatic landscape. Don’t miss the Cueva del Indio where visitors can sail around its electrically-lit depths onboard motor boats and explore the formidable stalagmite and stalactite formations. Once an indigenous dwelling, some of the cavern’s walls feature ancient, pre-Colombian paintings made by the region’s first dwellers.
If you’ve visited world famous Tropicana and are looking for more, then visit the cheaper and closer Cabaret Parisien inside the Hotel Nacional. Sitting at the heart of the Vedado municipality, the cabaret’s “Cuban Show” takes place nightly and kicks off at 10 p.m. offering a great spectacle for the senses with two hours of non-stop dancing and singing that aims to introduce you to the unique mix of cultures that Cuban music and dance is a result of. Expect a flamboyant mix of frills and scantily-clad women performing world-class choreography.
For more in-depth info on Havana, there are some great websites like Cubaholidays.co.uk which will give provide with first-class insider’s knowledge and handy tools to navigate the peculiarities of this unique Caribbean nation and its blossoming capital. With the freshest Cuba news and a frequently updated blog, this kind of website will also help you plan your trip to Havana to perfection in order to get the best, richest experience.
From amazing nightlife to the vibrant lifestyle of the people here, Havana is blessed with exciting encounters, intoxicating music and an effervescent, inspiring spirit that never fails to leave a mark on anyone that visits.