Lives in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Since Apr. 2013
18-24 year old female
I have spent the last few months travelling through Cuba and Central America. I have recently written a few short TripAdviser guides which focus upon Havana and Antigua; two beautiful and exciting locations. I am also extremely passionate about South Africa and try to visit as often as possible. I love marathon running, yoga, healthy eating, eco friendly fashion and dreaming about my next trip. I am currently planning a trip to the West Coast of the United States.
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Cemeteries, Historic Sites, Neighbourhoods
Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Plaza de Armas is a beautiful square located in Old Havana. The lush foliage provides welcome relief from the sun, Latin music spills out of nearby bars and cafes, and vendors dot the square selling antiques and books. I recommend that you take the time to delve into the beautiful historic buildings that surround the square, including the Palacio del Secundo Cabo and the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales.
Situated between Old Havana and Central Havana, Central Park has an energetic atmosphere, with plenty of benches where you can sit in the shade and people watch. This is also the easiest place to organize a drive in a classic car, as well as a convenient spot to grab a taxi. There are many attractions situated in close proximity to the park, including el Paseo del Prado and El Capitolio.
Across the bay from Havana sits the impressive El Morro Castle, which was constructed as a means of guarding Havana from attackers and pirates. The imposing fortress resides on the cliffs and offers spectacular panoramic views. It is a perfect place to watch the sunset, and the tradition of firing a canon at 9pm is maintained to this day.
The buildings that line the Malecon are somewhat decrepit, and yet they remain spectacularly beautiful in their crumbling and faded way. Their muted colors and decaying facades are the perfect backdrop for an atmospheric stroll along the seawall. Feel the spray of the sea and the fresh breeze on your skin as you escape the heat and the pace of Old Havana.
The Plaza de la Revolucion may not be the most beautiful square in Havana, but its historic significance renders it a must-see attraction. Mass political rallies were often held here, and it is from the Plaza de la Revolucion that key politicians continue to address Cuba. Sculptures depicting the imposing faces of Che and Fidel make for great photo opportunities, while providing a taste of the revolution propaganda that is apparent throughout Havana. The square is also a great spot to watch classic cars as they hurtle past.
The Cemetario de Colon is a great historic cemetery, renowned for its elaborate marble statues. The sheer size of the cemetery, along with its vast number of ornate memorials, will undoubtedly leave an impression.
Escape from the noise and hustle of Old Havana to spend an afternoon wandering through the Jardin Botanico Nacional. The plant collection here is extremely extensive, including both Cuban and foreign flora. The garden is quite a distance from the city center, but it is an oasis of natural beauty that you must witness. Hop in a taxi and enjoy the peace of the garden.
The Callejon de Hammel is a vibrant place to soak up the Caribbean atmosphere. Pause to appreciate the colors of the mesmerizing street art and the creative use of recycled materials, and then enjoy dancing to rumba rhythms. The Callejon de Hammel may be busy and bustling, but it is a fantastic place to dance in a truly Caribbean setting. Explore a bit and you will also find more relaxing spots, such as an area of benches made entirely from recycled bath tubs!
Jaimanitas is a neighborhood on the northwestern edge of Havana that has slowly been transformed into an outdoor ceramic fairyland called 'Fusterlandia.' Over a period of many years, the artist Jose Fuster has transformed both his and his neighbors' homes into wacky, colorful creations — and it's well worth exploring.
Although it's not in Havana, I felt Valle de Vinales deserved a mention, owing to its close proximity to the city and its stunning natural beauty. The lush valley is peppered with rocky karst limestone outcrops that create bizarre and beautiful rock formations called 'mogotes.' There are caves to be explored and traditional tobacco farms to be visited. Life in Valle de Vinales moves at a slow and peaceful pace, and this juxtaposition to the speed and noise of life in Havana is often a welcome change.