It isn’t easy to find the words to describe Havana, but one thing is for certain. You won’t be disappointed if you elect to head for the Cuban capital in search of your HOT Holiday in the sun.
For many years, the US trade embargo meant that Havana was a city that stood still, and as a result, it has a unique charm unlike anything that is to be found elsewhere.
Okay so improved relations with the USA mean things are changing but the city remains one where you’ll be able to embrace history and culture no matter which way you turn.
A tropical climate means that Havana is relatively warm throughout the year, with the average temperatures running from the low 20s upwards.
The best time to visit is probably during the spring, when the rainy season is drawing to a close and peak travel season has still to arrive.
Whilst there are impressive beaches located within easy reach of Havana, it isn’t the main reason why most would chose the city for a holiday.
Instead, there is huge appeal in simply taking a stroll through the streets to marvel at the stunning architecture at every turn, to ride in the vintage cars that are still a common feature on the roads and to explore the arts and crafts that can be found across the city.
Old Havana in particular should be explored at length, with plenty of colour surrounding you and a network of streets that leads to small open spaces where you can watch locals going about their business whilst sitting back with a drink.
Whilst the relaxation of trade embargoes means things are changing, Havana remains a true ‘must see’ for anyone considering a break in the Caribbean.
In fact, once you pay a visit, you might feel like you never want to leave…
Old Havana, or Habana Vieja, is the historic centre of the Cuban capital and is noted for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the many historic buildings it contains. Many of those older buildings are now being restored to their former glory, with the likes of the Castillo del Morro and the Catedral de San Cristóbal amongst the sites you might want to visit.
Museum of the Revolution
Housed in what was once the Presidential Palace, the Museum of the Revolution is based largely around the war that took place in Cuba during the 1950s, leading to Fidel Castro taking control of the country and the embargo with the USA coming into force. One of the main exhibits is Granma, the yacht on which Castro and other revolutionaries – including Che Guevara – sailed from Mexico to Cuba for the revolution.
The writer Ernest Hemingway was a big fan of Cuba, and his home in the city - Finca Vigía – is now a museum that is open to the public. You can also visit El Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio; two bars that Hemingway would frequent when in the city.
As well as the narrow streets of Old Havana, El Malecón is another area of Havana that is certainly worth exploring. The esplanade runs for around 8km along the coast next to the city and is home to a number of new businesses and famous old buildings – such as the Castillo San Salvador de la Punta.
Playa del Este
If you do decide to hit the beach whilst on a break in Havana then Playa del Este is probably the place to go. The beaches here aren’t a match for the likes of Varadero, but there is pltney of opportunity to lie back on the sand and top up your tan in the sun.
Ride in a classic car
Anyone with an interest in anything automotive will feel in heaven in Havana thanks to the many classic American cars that are in daily use across the city. Should you wish, you could book onto a tour around the city in one such car or simply admire the machines from close quarters as you walk through the streets.
Cuba is famous for cigars and Havana is home to a number of factories where you can take a tour to see the way in which traditional Cuban cigars are created.
Cuba is also well known for rum and there is ample opportunity to see the way in which the drink is produced as one of the various museums within Havana. Of course, the chance to then sample some goods is simply a bonus.