We never get tired of traveling around Havana, and although every time we go there is a corner that is not surprising, today we leave you the ones we consider essential. What to see in Havana.
Plaza de la Revolución and the monument to Jose Martí
One of the main places to see and maybe one of the most photos you will have seen when looking for information about Havana.
It is a public square, created by Fulgencio Batista, one of the largest in the world. In it, Fidel Castro gave his long speeches in full sun, sometimes 6 hours, others 10 hours.
We found a white monolith in honor of José Martí, the first “liberator” of Cuba who fought against Spain for Cuba to be independent.
In front you can see two buildings, one with the image of Che Guevara and the phrase “Hasta la victoria siempre”, a phrase that Che used to say goodbye to Fidel in the last letter he sent him. In the other building we found Camilo Cienfuegos with the phrase “Vas bien Fidel”, among them they had a joke and that is that Fidel always asked Camilo “Are Camilo going well? And he answered with this mythical phrase.
National Capitol of Cuba
In your days in Havana, the capitol will not only be a reference, but you will see it from the Parque de la Fraternidad, Parque Central, walking along Paseo del Prado … You will recognize it because it is very close to the Washington capitol, but a meter higher, one meter wider and one meter more elongated. The construction was initiated by the dictator Gerardo Machado in 1926 with American support and ended 3 years later thanks to the work of more than 5,000 workers.
It was declared a National Monument in November 2010 and today it is being restored by the Office of the Historian of Old Havana.
The ticket price is 3CUC and the visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 8pm.
Stroll through Old Havana
One of the pleasures of Havana, is to walk its streets and be surprised by each of its corners. The area of Old Havana is the oldest area of the city, although it is also the most tourist area today. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.
Stroll through the streets Oficios, Obispo, Mercaderes, O’Reilly and many others and enjoy its colonial, baroque buildings mixed with others Art Nouveau and Art Deco or neoclassical.
The Cathedral of San Cristóbal de la Habana
It is located Plaza de la Catedral, in the area of Old Havana. The visits are allowed until 12 noon.
The cathedral has two towers and its facade is Baroque, designed by Fancesco Borromini, Italian architect. Its construction began in 1748 and is dedicated to the Virgin and underwent several reforms until in 1788 the church became a cathedral.
The remains of Cristobal Colon were in the central nave of the cathedral until 1898 when they were moved to Seville.
La Bodeguita del Medio
One of the things that all tourists like to do is take a mojito at Bodeguita del Medio. And although under our opinion today is a place too crowded with tourists, although it is worth a visit, although the mojito enjoy it later in another place quietly.
His fame comes because it was for a long time a typical restaurant for which famous writers and artists passed, the most talked about is Ernest Hemingway and important politicians like Salvador Allende.
On its walls you can see signatures and graffiti, this initiative was started by the journalist Leandro García and since then other personalities have continued with tradition. We can find signatures of Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda among many others.
Its origin dates back to 1942, when it was just a small convenience store, with time it expanded its menu with food and drinks to become what it is now.
It is another place that became famous because of the Hemingway pass and because it is said that this is where I was going to take the daiquiris.
It was designed in 1559 and at an architectural level we can see how the Cuban Baroque becomes Art Nouveau inspired by Gaudí. At this point of the old square you get the feeling that you are transported back to any of the thousands of major squares in the towns of Spain.
Plaza de Armas
Havana has four colonial squares and the Plaza de Armas is the oldest of the four, built in 1520 approximately. In it we can find a flea market of second hand books from Monday to Saturday and the statue of Carlos Manuel Céspedes, who was the one who initiated the independence of Cuba in 1868.
If you look east, there is a neoclassical temple with a ceiba inside. In that place it is believed that it is where the city of San Cristobal de la Haba was flooded in 1514. Each year, on the eve of November 16th, the habaneros turn three times in silence to the ceiba, throw a coin and make a wish , as a ritual.
It is the place dedicated to Afro-Cuban culture in Havana and for lovers of street art.
On April 21, 1990, Salvador Gonzales Escalona came to the alley to create a mural in a friend’s house, but ended up painting other facades that until then were not in very good condition. In an improvised way, many neighbors joined him, giving birth to this place that today represents the Afro-Cuban community and culture.
With only 200 meters, it concentrates art in murals, poetry, sculpture and Yoruba religion.
Walking through this alley is a pleasure for the five senses, and more if we do it on a Sunday morning, when the rumba groups go out to play.
The Malecon of Havana
The boardwalk is a promenade of about 8km long and also one of the most popular avenues and places in Havana. While it is beautiful to walk through it at any time of the day, it is at sunset when it takes on a special life. It is filled with magic, people, music, laughter and colors. We can find people dancing, bathing in the sea, fishing … without a doubt a place that is worthwhile to enjoy during the sunset.
And to finish I tell you a curiosity … do you know why there are so many old cars in Havana?
These cars are also known as almendrón. If you look, you will see that almost all cars with American brands, Ford, Chrevolet, Cadilac … These cars arrived in Cuba thanks to the good relationship and friendship of Fulgencio Batista, Cuban dictator, with the United States. With the 1959 revolution, new cars were forbidden to enter Cuba from the United States, this has led, with much imagination, Cubans have been repairing these cars to continue using them.
As it can not be otherwise, this city has our hearts stolen, thanks to its cultural wealth, its mixture of cultures, traditions, religions and its people! We never tire of returning, and if you want you can join us in any of our trips, you can see the next departures in Upcoming Trips.