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The grandeur of 16th-century architecture left by Spanish conquistadors made the City of Havana an eye-catching tourist destination in the new world. Modern day Havana is also known as “the Key to the New World,” thus it consists of three metropolises combined into one: the Old Havana, Vedado and the new suburban districts. Each district has a distinctive feature which comes alive at night where the cultural face of the city is revealed.
The common query asked by everyone as part of their vacation plan is: what are the things to do in Havana? In this premise, always expect a warm, sultry weather as Havana has a tropical savanna climate. Bring light clothes; also be ready with your dancing shoes or sandals. Just be cozy and feel free to partake in the carefree Cuban way of life. You are apt for the best vacation of your life on an affordable budget.
Top 10 Things To Do In Havana
Here is a list of the best things to do in Havana while on a trip to this small country:
1. Visit Old Havana
The once petite community of Spain in the Caribbean, Old Havana at the moment is the core of the city of Havana. This UNESCO district is undeniably one of the most genuine and sophisticated places in all of Cuba. Exploring this region can be considered as one of the best things to do in Havana. The Old Havana conveys the beauty of the past by bringing joy to the current modern generation.
Visiting old Havana exposes you to the blend of multiple things that you can do here. You will be grateful to see the splendid façade that is stained by ages. The shedding baroque architecture is very much prominent plus the Andalusian-style arcades lined up in the place. The squares, from central Plaza de Armas to Plaza de la Catedral, are festooned with the elegant historical churches and neoclassical palaces.
Ideal for: Sightseeing; Strolling; Walking.
Visiting Hours: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Duration: 3.5 hours
2. Partying All Night at the Streets’ of Havana
Save some dollars in your budget and forget about your dancing skills. Get up and join the friendly locals as they dance the night away. It would be the most excellent moment to meet new friends and be happy. Night dancing on the streets is one of the most famous things to do in Havana. Salsa, Romba, cha-cha and damson are old time dancing favourites, while hip-hop and rapping are the latest dancing craze. Dancing on the streets of Havana is an ultimate experience and definitely one of the best things to do in Havana for an amazing memory.
Ideal for: Dancing; Socializing.
Duration: Till late at night, as per one’s wish.
3. Stroll at El Malison Beach
Are you still wondering about what things to do in Havana? Don’t worry. Just relax at the beautiful beach of El Malison. The spectacular view of the ocean, its relevant history, thriving nightlife, cool breeze including the beautiful sunset makes El Malison the most spectacular spot in Havana. This place remains a worth visiting place especially if you are on a budget.
Ideal for: Sightseeing; Strolling; Walking; Relaxation
Visiting Hours: Early morning and Sunset
4. Ride In a Vintage Car
Image Credit: mycol for Pixabay
Want to see Havana in style or you are simply a vintage car enthusiast? Now is the time for you to check that dream from your bucket list. American cars from the 50’s in their pristine conditions are waiting for you. The aged cars in Havana are the authentic ones as classic old-timer cars that remain very much reliable as well as an enjoyable machine to drive around Havana.
Ideal for: Sightseeing; Exploring countryside
5. Make a Tour To the Cigar Factory
Parterres, Cahaba, Romeo and Juliet, Montecristo, Bolivar – these are not names of people but rather the brand of cigars. The Cohiba Cigar is the most expensive cigar with a price ranging from INR 4305/- to INR 5740/- per piece. They remain the best gifts for diplomats and VVIPs who love to smoke a cigar. Visiting Partagas Cigar Factory thus remains one of the topmost things to do in Havana. You come to know how Cuban cigars are made and what distinguishes them from the rest.
Ideal for: Sightseeing
Duration: 30 min
Location: 813 La, San Carlos, La Habana, Cuba
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6. Sip Mojito in the Garden at Hotel Nacional
Mojitos, the famous Cuban drink is delicious and affordable one at only INR 200 – INR 250 per cup. And, the best place to have a drink with your loved one or friends is in the back garden of the famous Hotel Nacional overlooking the Malecon beach. Behold the incredible sight here! Make sure that this activity is included in your top 10 things to do in Havana.
Ideal for: Relaxation
Activity Cost/ Ticket Fee: INR 200 – 250 per cup.
Location: Hotel Nacional, Havana, Cuba
7. Taste Cuban food at “Paladares”
If you crave an authentic Cuban Cuisine at an affordable price, it is time to visit the Paladares translated as “family-restaurant” or “self-run restaurant.” The eatery has been built in a huge building. Started only in 1993, this restaurant has already gained immense popularity among tourists and local residents.
Ideal for: Foodies, Food Bloggers
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8. Walkthrough the Cuban Missile Crisis Tunnels
A missile in the beautiful Caribbean is perhaps incredible but true. History speaks that only a Divine intervention averted the grueling scenario that could have started World War III. One of the tunnels led to where the Russian missiles were set up and aimed at the U.S. This famous but hubbub event cannot easily be forgotten in the region’s history. You can witness much there during your tour.
Ideal for: History lovers, Researchers.
9. See A Tropicana Show
Dine, drink and watch a real cabaret show at El Tropicana. This is one of the best things to do in Havana, to watch and enjoy real entertainment. Lovely entertainers in their colourful gala perform on stage for a magnificent show by singing, dancing and reciting their dialogues. After the show, you can even go on stage and dance.
Ideal for: Relaxation; Dining and Socialization.
Activity Cost/ Ticket Fee: INR 5,741/- INR 7,177/-.
Duration: The cabaret opens at 8:30 PM and the show starts at 10:05 PM.
Location: ITM José Martí, La Havana, Cuba
10. Explore Vedado
Built as a residential area in the mid-1850’s, Vedado is located in Havana’s “forbidden neighbourhood.” In the present day, the district has become a significant core of contemporary Cuban culture. It is where arts, culture and chaotic nightlife meet. Vedado also offers visitors the best avenues for some of the top 10 things to do in Havana.
Duration: The cabaret opens at 8:30 PM and the show starts at 10:05 PM.
Location: Vedado, Havana, Cuba.
It goes without saying that if you are well prepared you can enjoy any place to the best extent possible. If you are running out of time and seeking to wind up the tour at the earliest, simply delve into any of the above mentioned 10 activities for your fun-filled trip to Havana where you will build a lifetime full of memories.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Best Things To Do In Havana
A. Known as “the Key to the New World,” the island served as a crossroads for explorers, buccaneers, colonial powers (Spain and Britain), indigenous people, entertainers, and exiles.
A. Visit Cátedra, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Castillo de la Real Fuerza, and Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum). Plaza de San Francisco, El Capitolio (National Capitol Building), 8 La Bodeguita del Medio are also worth visiting.
A. Most tourists on budget tour to Havana and spend as low as INR 720/- per day.
A. The cabaret opens at 8:30 PM and the show starts at 10:05 PM. You can dine at the Los Jardines restaurant before the show starting at 8:00 PM or at the cabaret starting at 8:30 PM and during the show.
A. Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city. The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana’s harbour in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish–American War. The city is the centre of the Cuban government, and home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices.
A. Havana was founded by the Spanish in 1519 in the natural harbour of the Bay of Havana. It became a stopping point for the treasure-laden Spanish galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. In the 17th century, it was one of the main shipbuilding centres.
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