A crumbling, captivating beauty in the Caribbean
Havana, or Habana to the Cubans, is a wonderfully romantic place with huge energy and an exciting, beating heart. Despite its crumbling facades, Cuba’s capital is extremely alluring and has provided inspiration to great writers such as Federico Lorca, Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. Mambo and Salsa music, 1950s American Chevy taxis, elegant boulevards and plazas, and grand colonial buildings give the city a retro feel. Some of the downtown bars have remained unchanged for decades. The most visited, and captivating part of the city is Habana Vieja, the old town. This UNESCO-declared World Heritage Centre teems with life in its genteel plazas and narrow streets, alive with the chatter and daily lives of the Habaneros.
Havana is one of the most vivacious capitals in the world with museums, colonial architecture, pleasing retro influences there is a great atmosphere. There’s nothing quite like pulling up a stool in one of the bars in Habana Vieja and letting the time drift by.
When to Go?
Cuba enjoys year-round warm weather with a rainy season from May to October. November to April is the best time to visit. Hurricanes do hit Cuba occasionally and these tend to be in September and October. December and January are Havana’s busiest times, as are July and August.
How to get there?
Direct flights are available from London to Jose Marti International Airport (HAV), which is located 15 km (9 miles) from Havana. Metered taxis to the city centre are available at the airport and the journey takes 25 minutes. Flights tend to be more expensive in December, January, July and August, as well as Easter.
Visit the Partagas Cigar Factory and watch cigars being hand-rolled - it’s fascinating. Enjoy a stroll around Habana Vieja and the Malecón seafront stretching the length of Havana. Visit the Che Guevara and Jose Marti statues at the Plaza de la Revolucion. When the sun goes down and the day-trippers have headed back to Varadero resort, grab a Mojito at La Bodeguita del Medio, Ernest Hemingway’s favourite haunt.
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