Havana is a city that certainly has seen great change and variety. In periods of ascent and decline, it continues being a vibrant and rhythmic place whose streets and historic quarters inspire fascination. Cuba has and continues to move through many social changes, yet tourism here has always kept a strong foot in the door and it doesn’t show any signs of waning.
Once one has navigated a means of arriving and gaining admittance, this island nation and its once playground like capital will certainly be a fascinating place to explore. Among the many attractions one can find are local experiences of the island culture. Music and dancing are popular, as are rum and cigar production, historic walks and beautiful parks and museums too. People are friendly and the atmosphere is certainly unique.
One of the central attractions to start at is the Capital building and the Museum of the Revolution. Remember that the island has two currencies and tourists are expected to pay the CUC currency when prices are listed. These buildings represent much of the modern history and political atmosphere of the island nation. Just behind the capital building is the Partagas Cigar factory which is a major attraction for those loving the famed Cuban cigars. Tours are frequent but photography is not allowed.
Two great places for a stroll in the city are Prado street and El Malecon. Prado Street is like a wide open market intermixed with small shops, open air cafes and it has a general atmosphere of diversity, color, sights and sounds. The street is quite active both day and night. For a more nature-centric stroll El Malecon is a walkway that takes in some of Havana’s more famed streets and offers bayside views of the lovely harbor and the Caribbean Sea.
The centerpiece of Havana that makes its way to postcards is the La Habana Vieja. This is the old town which is kind of in flux between faded and wonderfully restored public buildings and artful facades. This is a world heritage site and classic cars serving as taxi’s are a unique throwback to the booming era of extravagance in the early part of the 20th century. The Plaza of the Revolution is a central meeting place full of sculptures, tourists and all sorts of social events.
Some of the more attractive buildings and venues are museums and the cathedral. The San Cristobal Cathedral is set right in the heart of Old Habana and it is hard to miss. The baroque architecture is reminiscent of the great cathedrals of Europe and the buildings purposeful asymmetrical architecture is a curios aspect to behold. The Plaza de Armas is an ornate and historic setting in which to see the remnants of the place of much military and religious significance in the heart of the island. The adjacent castle of Real Fuerza is an impressive fortress and serves as a maritime and artifact museum at the current time.