FBNYC Travel: Havana Cuba

“Travel somewhere new”, that is one of my many goals for 2016. Now that the Cuban boarders are FINALLY open to us U S of A folks I am considering going to Havana. A city that has intrigued me just as much as Paris. The art, the archetecture, and it seems like the whole city is stuck in the fifties. Here are a few things I have been reading up on about my future traveling plans to Havana, Cuba:

Things to Do:

  • Walk along the Malecón, the sea wall that runs along the Havana coastline. On weekends this is where the locals come to party, so bring a bottle and join
  • Take a tour in an old car — For around 20-30CUC an hour for up to four people, be driven around Havana in style. Choose a car you like near the Hotel Inglaterra or outside the Museum of the Revolution. This is right up my alley.
  • Go to the eastern beaches (Playas del Este) — There’s a bus leaving from Hotel Inglaterra every 30 minutes. Price is 5 CUC for a roundtrip. The ride takes about 30 minutes.
  • Museum of the Revolution and the Capitol Building.
  • Visit a live cigar factory. One offering tours is at the intersection of Peñalver and San Carlos (just 1 mile southwest of Old Havana La Habana Vieja), tickets can/should be bought in advance (10 CUC per person as of July 2014). English tours are available. Please note that there is no photography allowed. It is the place where you can also be sure to get the correct cigars in the shop – more expensive than ‘street offers’ – but the quality of these “street offers” is definitely questionable, . Note that the Partagas cigar factory just behind the Capitol Building has closed permanently since late 2011 and moved; the original factory is now a shop only.
  • Havana Club Rum Factory. Go on a guided tour of Havana Club, one of Cuba’s most famous rums. Most of the exhibits are subtitled in English and are fairly self-explanatory.
  • Walk along the Prado street in the evening. Great public space – unfortunately not illuminated at night. The Prado hums with street life, cafes and charm.
  • Walk along El Malecón. A favorite stroll for tourists and locals, a walk along the Malecon runs along the main streets of Havana and provides stunning views of the Bay.
  • Enjoy the glory of La Habana Vieja (The Old Town), some of it faded and crumbling – but there are many beautifully restored buildings as a result of the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
  • Plaza de la Revolución. Huge square dominated by a statue and monument of Jose Marti and the iconic image of Che Guevara adorning the Ministry of the Interior. Arrive either early or late, as it is often swamped by tourists and gets very hot during the day.
  • John Lennon Park in Vedado. Features the only statue of a western musician in Havana. Notable for the regularly stolen (and replaced) eyeglasses.
  • The US Special Interests building in Vedado, just off the Malecon. In the absence of a United States embassy in Cuba, this heavily fortified and guarded building is where Cuban citizens go to apply for US Visas. It was notable for displaying news which is unfiltered and not censored by the Cuban government on electronic billboards situated behind the windows of one of the floors, but these were switched off in 2009. It is also the focus for regularly staged protests.
  • Hotel Habana Libre in Vedado. The hotel housed Castro’s soldiers for several days after they took Havana. It has an excellent selection of photos in the lobby along with one of the only 24 hour fast food restaurants in the city.
  • Enjoy extraordinary 360-degree views of the city using the large Camara Oscura in the old town.

References from wikitravel

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