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Old Havana, Cuba

Havana

Havana’s dramatic history from Spanish colonisation in the sixteenth century to the brave new world of the Castro dynasty is etched into the buildings, plazas and avenues of one of the Caribbeans most charming city centres.

Habana Vieja (Old Havana) is the old port and heart of the city, filled with fine colonial buildings and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

Downtown Havana, Cuba
Downtown Havana, Cuba

A little more about Havana

Outside of the old quarter, there are some suitably Soviet style highlights including Plaza de la Revolucion, where Castro used to deliver marathon speeches overlooked by the Jose Marti Monument. Take the elevator to the top for fantastic views of the city and of the huge image of Che Guavara along with the slogan “Hasta la Victoria Siempre”.

Heading west along the Malecon from Old Havana, you pass through Vedado, a Las Vegas style playground for Americans during the fifties, and then the elegant suburb of Miramar with its impressive historic mansions. Both are areas worth spending time in for their historic significance as well as a little fun, boasting some tremendous music clubs, bars and cabarets.

Museum of Revolution, Havana, Cuba
Museum of Revolution, Havana, Cuba

Havana is rapidly becoming a creative hotspot. New and exciting galleries and exhibitions are regularly being unveiled and there are a great range of museums (including the huge Museum of the Revolution). However, this is a fabulous city to discover by foot and this is certainly the best way to get to know the cultured, educated and welcoming residents of this fantastic city.

Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba

Our Specialists 'Must Do'

So many to choose from! However, dusk is a magical time in the Old City and a valuable hour that’s not to be squandered. Stroll through the old quarter from Plaza Vieja, through Plaza de Armas to Plaza de la Catedral to really appreciate the beauty of this 500 year old city centre and its magnificent Spanish colonial architecture and pastel hued buildings by the yellowing light of early evening. Continue (via a mojito or two) to the Malecon (promenade) for sunset, a magnet for lovers, families and fishermen generating a party atmosphere.

Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba

As the sun sets over the imposing outline of Hotel Nacional at the far end of the promenade, dive back into the city and make your way to Parque Central where Habaneros gather to animatedly discuss the latest baseball results. It’s then a few blocks to La Guarida Restaurant. An elegant sweeping staircase within a dimly lit Havana tenement building deposits you outside an innocuous wooden door surrounded by hanging laundry. If you’ve been smart enough to make a reservation, this will magically open to welcome you to a rambling series of charming dining rooms and one of Havana’s best dining experiences.

Experiences

Visit the Museum of the Revolution

Gen up on Cuba’s recent rebellious history in the mammoth Museum of the Revolution.

Stay in Havana

Stay in a beautifully restored colonial mansion in the heart of this UNESCO city.

Discover the back alleyways of Havana

Lose yourself in the music and cigar-smoke filled cobbled alleyways of Old Havana.

Electric Bike Ride

Take to the back streets of Havana with a battery powered bike.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Plaza Vieja 1912 £££££

  • Cuba
  • Boutique

This two-bedroom casa particular is on the top floor of an historic building that overlooks Plaza Vieja, in the heart of Old Havana. Lovely and clean and in a very atmospheric setting, it is a great base from which to wander the old town.

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Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski £££££

  • Cuba
  • City

Constructed between 1894 and 1917 as the first European style shopping arcade in the country, this handsome building is now a high-end hotel, located in the centre of Havana that faces the Capitolio building and the Gran Theatre.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

James Armitage

James first travelled to Cuba in 2007 and was amazed by the wonderful people and smiling faces.
Talk with our experts
  • 01285 601 784

John Faithfull

Since 1999, John has returned multiple times to explore this fascinating Caribbean island that charms and challenges in equal measure. Attracting visitors with a heady mix of music, cigars and revolution, there is a dynamic new generation of artists, entrepreneurs and thinkers waiting to be discovered beneath the surface.
Talk with our experts
  • 01285 601 784

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

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Why Steppes