When you think of Cuba, what comes to mind?
Fidel Castro & a 50+ year embargo?
Cuban cigars & rum?
Dirty dancing… Lots of dirty dancing? 💃💃💃
Now that the embargo has been lifted, tourism to Cuba should be available soon. Meanwhile, if you are curious and ready to visit Cuba already… Here is a quick look into the sights and attractions you can check out while you’re in Havana.
- Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro aka Morro Castle
6 CUC if you arrive before 6pm
8 CUC if you arrive after 8pm (for the cannonball launch)
A must-see in Havana. You can take the P11 bus right across the street from El Capitolio and get off at the stop right after the tunnel. You can also take a taxi. If you go during the day, you can catch beautiful views of the city. If you arrive late, you can watch a great cannonball reenactment at night.
The cannonball launch is highly recommended. If you are sensitive to loud noises, be prepared because the blast will cause your ears to hum for a second.
- El Capitolio
Modeled after the US Capitol in Washington D.C. and the Pantheon in Paris, El Capitolio is a beautiful architectural sight. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to visit the interior. El Capitolio is still under renovation so many visitors have not been able to experience the full beauty of the capitol.
- Plaza Vieja
One of the most popular squares in Old Havana, Plaza Vieja is a great gathering spot. Full of cafes, you can also see some of the most beautiful stained glass windows. The Camera Obscura is located in this area and you can catch wonderful views of the city.
- Parque Central
Great place to check out the line of gorgeous classic cars. You will be approached by tour guides trying to sell you a ride in a classic car. The fee should not be more than 25 CUC for an hour around the city so haggle! This is where Papá Cubano can be found, if you’re lucky.
- Barrio Chino de la Habana
There’s a Chinatown in Cuba! But don’t expect to find many Asian people (unless they’re tourists). Barrio Chino is one of the largest Chinatowns in Latin America and is worth the novelty of visiting. You can also find the beautiful Church of our Lady of Charity if you walk through Chinatown.
- Iglesia Nuestra Senora de La Caridad Del Cobre (Church of our Lady of Charity from El Cobre)
Beautiful inside and out, this church is worth a visit. If it’s good enough for Pope Francis to visit in 2015, it’s good enough for everyone! HikeSnobs aren’t religious but we definitely love architecture.
- Calle Obispo
Probably the most popular street in Havana. This narrow street is filled with shops, music bars, art galleries and tons of people. Cars are not allowed on this street so you can leisurely enjoy browsing the vendors up and down the calle.
- Plaza de la Revolución
Although not much to see, Plaza de la Revolución has a lot of history. Political rallies took place here and Pope Francis held a large mass here in 2015. This is where political figures, like Fidel Castro, have addressed more than a million Cubans on many important events. If you talk to a local who knows their history, you will be entranced by the information they provide.
- José Marti Memorial
Right across from Plaza de la Revolución is Havana’s tallest structure. Dedicated to José Marti, a national hero of Cuba, the memorial is a 358 foot tall obelisk. You can pay a CUC or 3 to go to the top and enjoy a view of the city. Access to the top may not be available at all time.
Side note: There is a legit cigar shop located closeby. You can try asking the locals if they know where it is.
- Plaza de la Catedral
Named after the Cathedral of Havana, you can find some of Havana’s most impressive buildings here. Enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants and take a relaxing stroll through the plaza.
- El Malecon
This 4 mile stretch of sea wall offers a relaxing day along the ocean. It’s a great gathering spot for locals and tourists. Music, artwork, fishermen, children playing, maybe someone trying to scam you… You can find it all here!
Be careful walking along El Malecon though. Waves can come crashing over the seawall and attack you. As you can see in the photo, the waves can be pretty vicious.
- Almacenes San José (Artisans’ Market)
A big flea market where you can probably get the best deals for souvenirs. There are a whole bunch of artwork and stalls selling similar items. If you go right before closing time, you should be able to haggle for even cheaper prices.
- Playa de Havana
There’s a bus in Parque Central that can take you to the beach. It comes maybe every half hour. You can get off at Tropicoco and walk to the beach. Chairs and umbrella cost about $2 for the whole day. Some taxi drivers may try to convince you that farther beaches are nicer so they can get more CUCs out of you but Papá Cubano said Playa de Havana is just as beautiful.
- Buena Vista Social Club Night
Catch a performance with live music and entertainment. It is such a fun experience. If you pay 55 CUCs, you can catch the show and a three course meal and three drinks. If you want to just enjoy the show, it’s only 25 CUCs. The food is okay but it’s worth the dinero. They interact with the crowd and you can even go up and dance with them at the end!
Cuba is a diverse and beautiful country. This “untouched” country gives visitors a bird’s eye view of an authentic Cubano experience. It is highly recommended to visit before the flooded gates of tourism change it all. You can take a look at our Cuba guideline to start your adventure!
- Once again, be careful of scammers. It is pretty common.
- Expect to spend a lot of money…
Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!