September 27, 2016

Havana – Cuba’s vibrant and historical capital

A proud city with a rich history, there is so much to explore – from its colonial and revolutionary past through to its more relaxed present. With sanctions removed, tourism has become one of Cuba’s most important contributors to the economy. Australian citizens may now travel freely around the country and there is little to deter the avid tourist. Even limited (or zero) internet and phone connectivity is all part of the adventure.

Cuba

The sounds of a lively six piece salsa band emanate from an old bar and café in Havana’s old town. Patrons drink mojitos and dance freely, enjoying a typical Sunday afternoon in what has become one of the world’s most exciting destinations.

Havana, Cuba – it’s like no other city on earth. Preserved in a time-warp since the early sixties, the streets are now alive with curious tourists and friendly locals. Buicks, Chevrolets and Dodges in various stages of disrepair from the 1950s and 1960s line the streets, shuttling people around “La Habana” from the old quarter, along the Malecon to the Vedado and up and down the main thoroughfare – the Prado.

A proud city with a rich history, there is so much to explore – from its colonial and revolutionary past through to its more relaxed present. With sanctions removed, tourism has become one of Cuba’s most important contributors to the economy. Australian citizens may now travel freely around the country and there is little to deter the avid tourist. Even limited (or zero) internet and phone connectivity is all part of the adventure.

For those with a taste for new sensations, Havana is the gateway to this beautiful island basking in the North Caribbean, just two hours from America’s southern tip and a quick 50 minute flight from Cancun, Mexico. Here are our five “must do and see” recommendations for your Havana stay:

5 things to see

  • Old Havana – start your visit armed with a map of the old town. Wear comfortable shoes and wander the cobbled streets, visit the beautiful squares (Plazas) and marvel at the architecture, sights and sounds.
  • Havana Cathedral – classic example of Cuban Baroque.
  • El Capitolio – modelled on the United States Capitol Building, a beautiful building.
  • Museo de la Revolucion (Museum of the Revolution) – set in the presidential palace, there are still bullet holes in the walls from the 1959 revolutionary attacks!
  • El Malecon – this is the long boardwalk along the sea wall that protects Havana. It is buzzing night and day with locals fishing, talking and playing music.


5 things to do

  • Drink a mojito in one of Hemingway’s favourite haunts – La Bodeguita del Medio.
  • Find a table at one of the many the outdoor cafes in the old town, listen to a jazz band and watch the world go by…
  • Sift through the piles of memorabilia and old posters to find that special trinket at the flea market in Plaza Armas – the city’s oldest square (1520).
  • Head to Plaza Vieja and hire a restored Buick convertible with driver and take an open-air tour around the city.


Stock up on Cuban cigars at a genuine tobacconist – the real deal!


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