Havana: New and vintage at the same time

Habanocentrismo aside, the Cuban capital is one of the most popular destinations in the country. The city has several credentials in its favor: It is the cultural center of Cuba par none. The big events almost always take place here, and if you have any chance of running into Herbie Hancock or Madonna, it will be in Havana. Precisely because of the coming together of so many different facets of the city (beaches, architecture, nightlife, commerce, history, etc.) Havana is the main hub of Cuba.

Don’t be afraid to talk with the habaneros.  There are about two million Havana natives in the city, and they are always ready to have a conversation. In fact, they'll probably talk to you before you even say a word, especially if you're on the Malecon. Every Cuban sits at least once in his life on this wall with a beautiful view of the coastline (and it’s free!).

In Havana, taxis are classic cars from the 50s: while in other countries they might be considered museum-worthy, in Cuba they are used in the present in an almost dreamlike way.  Havana refuses to grow old, even with its centuries-old architecture- the seams of time visible on many of its facades.  Havana cleans itself up and is re-painted over and over again, modernizing life within its old walls.  The explosion of small bars and restaurants run by locals are a testament to this. When walking through the streets you can find almost anything: street vendors, fine restaurants or rental houses. That's the good thing about this city, even when you think you’ve seen everything, something amazing happens before your eyes with the unique Havana touch.

Not to miss

  • Get to know the historical center of the city. This is one of the most beautiful areas of the capital, with many buildings that remain perfectly preserved. Take a break in the interior courtyard of a colonial house in Old Havana, which had its time of grace in the nineteenth century as well as now (because we all know vintage has a particular charm).
  • Havana does not look like other tourist destinations, but you’ll only get to see its peculiarities by spending some time there.  Cuba is a very safe country so feel free to converse with the locals and break out of the traditional tourist circuit.  Dare to explore the city on your own.
  • Don’t just settle for one bar or restaurant. Our advice is that you make a plan every night and choose several places that spark your interest, but don’t stay too long in any one spot.  In Havana there is an explosion of new places to try so take advantage of this during your visit. The city is transforming, and you’ll get to see it first hand.
  • Dance your way through Havana. There are several places in the city to get your groove on. If you want something with a more rocker vibe, check out the Submarino Amarillo; pop, the Cuban Art Factory; kick back on Thursdays at Diablo Tun Tun (with Ray Fernández); timba, House of Music of Miramar (with El Tosco, Pupy y los que Son Son, or Alain Pérez); Jazz, La Zorra y el Cuervo. The musical lineup in Havana is extensive and varied: you have a lot to choose from.

How to get there

José Martí Airport is one of the most popular in the country. Flights arrive from almost every place on the planet in addition to the local flights. Boats can anchor by the Marina Hemingway or the Bay of Havana, both of which have been more aimed at tourists in recent years. The National Highway is the main road to reach the capital, although it is not the only one (your best bet is to have a map at hand).

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