Havana is definitely unique and entirely different from any other city I’ve ever visited. From decorative buildings with ornate facades to classic, vintage cars crowding the streets — this city is full of color and life.
The best way to explore the city is to get lost. It was so much fun being spontaneous and discovering places I hadn’t heard of and doing things I hadn’t planned.
Here’s a list of my top 10 things to do in Havana!
– Vintage Car Ride –
Hands down, the coolest ride I’ve ever taken. Cruising through Havana in a classic, American, pink, convertible car was a dream. Especially, driving down the Malecon, feeling the breeze hit my hair, the sun shining, the music up, and the beach waves crashing to my side.
You can simply walk to Parque Central (Central Park), in front of El Capitolio, and book your ride. I haggled my way down to $30 CUC for an hour-and-a-half-long tour. 😉
– Hotel Sevilla –
The cutest, pink hotel in Old Havana, where they have live entertainment at all hours of the day, a patio bar, and endless mojitos. Hotel Sevilla perfectly captures the essence of Cuba.
– Mojitos –
Mojitos all day, everyday. This drink is Cuba’s signature drink. It is said that the Mojito was first created by the African slaves who worked the sugar cane fields in Cuba. The name stems from the word “mojo,” which means “to place a little spell.” And you will definitely be under a spell if you have one too many. Haha!
– Hotel Ambos Mundos –
We found this hotel thanks to our horse-carriage tour guide. The American novelist, Ernest Hemingway, would stay here whenever he would visit Havana. I understand why Hemingway loved this place so much. The rooftop terrace provides gorgeous views of Havana. Not to mention, they have a piano bar with regular entertainment.
The terrace is open to public, free of charge. You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to visit. Simply, take the elevator to the top floor and enjoy!
– Havana Vieja –
Havana Vieja is the neighborhood we stayed in. It is the most authentic neighborhood with the least renovations. This is the only place where you will sense the “time capsule” everyone talks about. You can go on long walks and admire the vibrant streets and architecture. Leave your map at home and bring your camera!
-Museo de la Revolucion –
This museum holds plenty of information and artifacts from the revolutionary war. It is also the palace where former presidents resided. The stairwells, balcony views, and ornate architecture are stunning and worth the visit.
– La Floridita –
Another popular spot, thanks to Hemingway. La Floridita is a restaurant-bar where you can enjoy more mojitos and more live entertainment. It get very crowded, so, try to arrive a little early if you plan on visiting in the evening.
– Salsa Dancing –
“You cannot leave Cuba without dancing salsa and drinking a mojito.” That’s what a Cuban hotel employee told me. And trust me, you shouldn’t. Salsa dancing is so much fun! Even if you don’t know how to dance salsa, I can assure you, you’ll have a blast trying! If you need some liquid courage, you know what to order! 😉
– Playas del Este –
Las Playas del Este (beaches of the east) are the nearest white-sand, clear turquoise water beaches from Havana. They’re about fourty minutes away from the city but it is fairly easy to get there. All you need is to hop on a bus, called Havana Bus Tour, and pay your $5 CUC fee. You can hop on and off as you please.
– Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro –
Havana was once surrounded by stone walls in order to protect the city from pirates and other enemies. The wall had a gate that closed every night at exactly 9pm. The soldiers would fire a cannon to inform the people that the gate was now closing. At Castillo de Los Tres Reyes del Morro, they reenact this event every single day by, literally, firing a cannon. It’s something you cannot miss!