HAVANA, CUBA: My Top 5 List

Havana, Cuba Top 5

1. Walking Tour – Locally Sourced Havana Tours

Location: All over Old Havana

You should ALWAYS take a walking tour when you visit a new city. You learn so much, even if it’s your own hometown. A non-government owned walking tour was only available near the end of our vacation in Havana. Even though we had read up on the city and walked passed all the same tour sites numerous times throughout our stay, we learned so much during the tour! We learned about the city history, but also tons of tips on where to eat, museums, art galleries, and other tourist sites worth checking out. I’m not affiliated with Locally Sourced Havana Tours, just really had a great experience with our tour guide, Yaniet. I suggest seeking out her tour.

2. Classic Car Ride

Location: Along the Malecón

This was unforgettable. Sure, maybe it was a little touristy, but it was iconic Havana! We cruised along the Malecón, while the driver told us some history and pointed out landmarks like Hotel Nacional, the American Embassy, and so much more. I recommend taking the full hour tour, a half hour didn’t seem long enough. My dad, a car enthusiast, asked the driver all about the 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air we were riding in and even asked if he could see the engine, which our incredible driver showed him! There is even a spot along the Malecón where you stop for pictures. Again, highly recommend if you enjoy cruising along the ocean, and listening to music while the wind blows through your hair!

3. Fort Across the Bay – Castillo d San Carlos de la Cabaña

Location: Across – Canal de Entranda, off the street – Arret de Los Cocos

The fort across the bay will give you an incredible view of Havana from a different perspective. If you are a history buff and enjoy looking at intricate cannons, stumbling upon museums in alcoves, and an incredible city view, then I recommend you hop in a taxi and check out this fort. It’s also a short walk from the El Cristo de La Habana statue. Every night at 9 pm there is a traditional canon fired from the fort. This canon is paying tribute to centuries ago when the nightly canon blast meant the bay was closing soon and all ships had to sail back in for the night or be left in the open sea.

4. Cemetery – Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón

Location: Calle Zapata y Calle 12, La Habana, Cuba

Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón is one of the largest cemeteries in Latin America. Along the main path you will see elaborately decorated mausoleums and sculptures. It’s really incredible to see and wander around. There are some tours that will take you by car to this destination, otherwise a taxi is also an option. There is a small fee to enter the cemetery, which you enter from Calle Zapata. That’s important to remember since we thought the entrance was on San Antonio Chiquito and were told we needed to walk to Calle Zapata to get in. That walk around the entire cemetery really gives you an appreciation for just how large it is.

5. Café Arcángel

Location: 57 Concordia, La Habana, Cuba

This café was a cozy place we had breakfast at every day. The ham and cheese croissant was my breakfast every morning and it was so tasty! The staff was very friendly, especially the café cat named, Francis. Café Arcángel is full of random memorabilia and trinkets that you could spend a while looking through as you wait for your food. If you do go there, look for a small iron rooster on a bench. That was my contribution to their memorabilia.

Runner-ups

José Martí Memorial in Plaza de la Revolución

Location: Calle Paseo y Ave. Independencia.

Stopping at the Plaza de la Revolución you’ll see the José Martí Memorial and tributes to both Fidel and Guevara who spoke at rallies in that very plaza. There are three parts to the José Martí Memorial and each have their own entry fee. The three options include: walking around the statue of José Martí, entering the Memorial to visit the museum, and taking an elevator to the top of the memorial. The museum is very educational and I’d recommend this, you can probably skip the elevator ride to the top though.

La Floridita

Location: Obispo, La Habana, Cuba

This was Hemingway’s favorite spot for daiquiris! This was VERY touristy but fun to drink a daiquiri and listen to live music. Be warned, it gets extremely crowded.

Museo del Ron Havana Club

Location: Av. Del Puerto and Sol

If you are a rum enthusiast, I recommend this as a stop in Havana. On the tour (not self-guided) you are taken through the whole rum-making process and learn how the process has evolved over time. You’ll learn a lot during the tour and afterwards you’ll enjoy a shot of 7 year aged rum with your tour group.

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That’s the list of my favorite Cuban spots. Do you have a favorite spot in Cuba? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Keep rambling,

Laura

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Written by Laura

Professional Medical Illustrator who enjoys sharing her personal travel stories, posting about her plethora of arts and crafts projects, and writing reviews for the finished books from her ever-growing "to-be-read tower."

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