Havana ohh na na. My heart is in Havana.
Havana, Cuba is a truly fascinating city. Full of beautiful architecture, the streets are full of music, culture & history and it truly is such an fascinating city to explore. When I arrived in Cuba it truly felt as if I had stepped back into the 1950’s (kind of like the movie Back to the Future). There were vintage cars everywhere, no internet, incredible architecture, and public transport was pretty much non existent.
Havana is such a huge city so if you go in with the idea that you’ll just wander around, you’ll probably miss a lot of the really cool things to see. Are you ready to fall in love with Havana? Here’s a list of some of the best things to make the most of your time in Havana.
WANDER AROUND OLD HAVANA
There are so many beautiful hidden treasures in Old Havana. The best way to explore is by foot. Check out all the old buildings, cafes and restaurants, listen to the music playing and do some shopping.
First time travelling to Cuba? Read about Tips You Need To Know Before Travelling To Cuba.
RENT A CLASSIC CAR
You just simply can’t go to Cuba without riding in a classic convertible. This was a highlight for me. Of course I picked a pink bubble gum convertible car, because #travelgoals right! When you’re in Parque Central you’ll see a lot of people hanging out beside their classic cars. Most of these people are offereing tour in their car. Most tours will cost about $40-$50 for an hour.
DRINK A TRADITIONAL MOJITO
While you can find mojitos at most restaurants in Havana, La Bodeguita del Medio is one of the most popular spots in Havana. This bar got very famous when a lot of celebrities would frequent it, and was also known as Ernest Hemingway’s favourite bar. At night you’ll find a live band here and packed with people sipping their mojitos.
VISIT THE BEACHES
When I think of Havana, beautiful beaches aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. But just a short drive from Old Havana you’ll find the Eastern Beaches – Playas de Este. There is a bus line that runs there every 20 minutes from the main plaza. It costs approximately 5 CUC for a return trip ticket. There’s 5 of these beaches in a row so you can spend the entire day beach hoping with the same bus pass.
CHECK OUT THE CAPITOL BUILDING
A beautifully renovated white building in Central Havana, you can’t miss the El Capitolio. If you’re in a vintage car tour you most likely drive right past it. It’s an incredible building definitely worth checking out.
VIEW A SUNSET FROM A HOTEL ROOFTOP
I found the best rooftop bars were the ones surrounding Parque Central. There are a number of beautiful hotels here where you can go up to the rooftop to grab a drink and view the sunset over Havana. Just make sure you check with the hotel staff if outside guests are allowed to access the rooftop.
GO SEE THE ARCHITECTURE AT LA GUARIDA
La Guarida is a very popular restaurant known to have the best food. The restaurant is located 3 floors up, but what I found most intriguing was the beautiful architecture on the first & second floors. Here you’ll find a beautifully preserved historic building. If you would like to eat at the restaurant make sure you make a reservation first. The restaurant is very popular among the rich and famous and therefore it’s always booked out. Just expect very high prices.
GRAB A DAIQUIRI AT LA FLORIDITA
Another bar made famous from Earnest Hemingway, La Floridita is the place to grab a daiquiri. My suggestion is to go early in the day. I went there around 4pm and it was absolutely packed, I could not find a seat anywhere or even get to the bar to get a drink.
SHOP FOR CUBAN RUM & CIGARS
Cuba is certainly well known for it’s famous Cuban Cigars and Cuban Rum. There are plenty of places that sell them and for incredibly cheap prices. I picked up a couple bottles of rum for less than $5 each. Keep in mind, if you’re from the USA or flying through the USA, there may be restrictions on bringing Cuban Cigars into the country. Best to check with your airline the current restrictions.
VISIT PLAZA DE LA REVOLUCION
Plaza de la Revolucion is a historical location in Havana, known to hold many political rallies and where Fidel Castro and other political leaders address the Cubans. Here you’ll find a huge memorial statue and government buildings covered in giant mural of Cuba’s revolutionary hero Che Guevara & Fidel Castro, one of the most iconic images in Cuba.