Havana is Cuba’s most populous city and serves as its booming capital which mixes both old and new world elements to create a sprawling metropolis. Each of the districts throughout Havana paint a vivid picture of the deep and exciting history Cuba has experienced, with the colonial architecture of Old Havana stemming back to the 1500s while the newer parts of the city such as Vedado show the progress of time with its modern, luxurious structures dominating the streets.
The culture of the city is very much rooted in its experiences, with the Cuban Revolution a bold statement of the pride the locals harbour, inspiring many with the story of the little island that dared to rage against the system and stare down the colossal United States. The city holds many structures, statues and museums dedicated to this era, and visiting these landmarks are highly recommended.
From the Old to the New
Havana is a city of great history, having been shaped by many spectacular historical events, from its initial founding by the Spanish in the 1500s to the occupation by British forces in the 1700s all the way to guerrilla takeovers in the 1900s, the capital has seen a great many things, much of which can still be seen in the masonry and architecture today, particularly those found within the buildings of Old Havana, the downtown city centre whose colonial buildings, cathedrals and fortresses have withstood the test of time and has garnered the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In stark contrast, the urban neighbourhood of Vedado which serves as the main business district of the city is a modern haven whose highlights include the many luxurious hotels peppered throughout the region, the John Lennon Park which houses a sculpture of the former Beatles singer and the Malecón esplanade which stretches along Havana’s coast and attracts much attention due to its nightlife, sights, and up-and-coming businesses.
Viva la Revolución
It can’t be denied that Cuba has made a significant historical impact on the world especially during the 1950s when Fidel Castro led an armed revolt known as the Cuban Revolution to overthrow the then U.S. backed government of Fulgencio Batista. This was shortly followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis, a major military standoff during the 1960s.
Though time has passed and tensions have simmered to make way for a brighter future, much can still be learnt from these significant events in history as seen at the Museum of the Revolution which once served as the Presidential Palace and now houses relics from this time of uncertainty.
El Capitolio, which was once seat of the government in Cuba until the regime was usurped by the revolution, now stands as the Cuban Academy of Sciences and a particularly distinctive building due to its neoclassical facade that resembles the United States Capitol of Washington, D.C. and Paris’s Panthéon.
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A mixture of old world charm and new world sheen, the city of Havana has no shortage of sights and sounds to discover between its winding streets and bustling districts.
Though it might most be recognised for its cigars, rum and revolts, one look at the fine details of the Plaza de la Catedral or a walk along the Malecón esplanade will enlighten you to the true beauty that can be found throughout the capital.
Whether you’re looking to get to know the intricacies of Cuba’s enriched history and culture throughout Old Havana or would rather ease back and relax in the comfortable confines of one of Vedado’s spectacular hotels, there is something for everyone to be found on this magnificent Caribbean island.
•Pay a visit to the Museum of the Revolution to witness elements of Castro’s regime change.
•Take a scenic walk along the Malecón esplanade during the day or in the evening.
•Gaze towards the looming Morro Castle, a fortress that stands guard over Havana Bay.
•Delve into the centre of Old Havana to discover the impressive Havana Cathedral.
•Spend some time getting to know the marine life of the Acuario Nacional de Cuba.
•Look inside El Capitolio to uncover the golden image of the Statue of the Republic.
If you would like to know more about Travelbag’s excellent tailor-made holidays to Havana, call us on and speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable travel experts.
Whether you’re looking to relax or to explore, you will no doubt be basking beneath the golden Caribbean sun at some point, so when it comes to packing clothes, be sure to include light clothing such as shorts, t-shirt and sandals to help you cope with the hotter days, but as Cuba is susceptible to the occasional downpour no matter what time of year, be sure to pack a poncho just in case.
While Cuba is known for many things, it’s wealth of pharmacies is not one of them, so be sure to pack sunscreen for added protection, some mosquito repellent or salve to ward away those pesky insects and any other medicines you may require.
As with most vacations, be sure to pack a camera or a phone with a camera utility to immortalise those memories.
•Capital – Havana
•Currency – Cuban Peso
•Language – Spanish
•Time Zone – GMT -4 hours
Cuba is a tropical island nestled amongst the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, it’s capital is therefore privy to a particularly hot climate that comes with the occasional high levels of humidity and bouts of rainfall.
The weather comes in two very distinct seasons in Havana; a wet season that runs from May to October and a dry season that begins in November and lasts until April.
When considering a trip to Havana, and Cuba in general, it is common practise to be sure to visit during the dry season window so as to avoid the stormy, monsoon like weather that is so common during the wet season.
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