Havana was one of the most visited Cuban towns before the Communist revolution. Cuba reopened to tourism in the 1990s, and has become a popular destination once again. Thousands of tourists are occupying Cuba during the peak season.
How to get there
Jose Marti International Airport has three separate terminals. Terminal 1 is for internal (domestic) flights, Terminal 2 is mainly for charter flights from the USA and Terminal 3 is used for all other international flights. Be prepared for strict customs officials; they will probably check your bags for any suspicious electronics or other items. Be prepared for long wait here because they work pretty slowly.
If you take train around Cuba, most of them in the eastern part of the country have been suspended due to poor track conditions.
Hiring a car in Cuba will cost you from 33 to 106CUC per day. The car will have a special tourist plate, and that means giving huge tips at any parking lot. You can also take a bus (Viazul) operates an inter-city coach service to/from most major destinations including Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Pinar del Rio, Sancti Spiritus, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad, Varadero and Viñales.
Nearby places to visit
See the Museum of the Revolution and the Capitol Building. Don’t miss to visit a live cigar factory. English tours are available. Don’t bother to get your camera/phone out because taking photos is strictly forbidden. Here you can get the correct cigars in the shop – which are more expensive than ‘street offers’ – but the quality of these “street offers” is questionable. Partagas cigar factory just behind the Capitol Building has closed permanently since late 2011.
See the Havana Club Rum Factory. Take a guided tour of Havana Club, one of Cuba’s most famous rums. Most of the exhibits are subtitled in English.
Walk along the Prado street in the evening. This is a great public space, but unfortunately it is not illuminated at night.
Visit John Lennon Park in Vedado.
Things to do
Walk along the Malecón, the sea wall that runs along the Havana coastline. On weekends the locals come to part here, so you can join them and drink together.
The Latin American New Cinema Festival is a popular event that is held every December, Here you can see international films. Over 500,000 people are visiting it every year.
Tropicana Show is a cabaret show that costs 90CUC and it’s worth seeing. Take a tour in an old car. Absolutely don’t miss to take a ride (for around 20-30CUC) in those old timers that are roaming around Havana. The tour takes an hour and is meant for 4 people. Choose a car you like near the Hotel Inglaterra or outside the Museum of the Revolution.
Accommodation and bars
There are 3 main areas for accommodation: Old Havana is the liveliest, Central Havana is slightly quieter and parts can be a bit seedy, and Vedado is the quietest with more greenery, and is the place to find the large hotels and nicer casas are situated. Hotels vary in prices and the quality. Some of them don’t have hot water and or TV-reception. Get your info well before booking.
La Bodeguita del Medio is the bar in which to sample a Mojito. This was the former hangout of Ernest Hemingway. It is quite popular among all of the bars in the town. Don’t forget to visit it.
Best season to visit
Cuba has a tropical climate; the weather is warm and humid all year long, but it can get cold in the autumn and winter. Cuba is surrounded with the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, so the warm water all year round makes it perfect for visits all year round. Winter water temperatures are at 24C, spring and fall temperatures at 26C and summer temperatures at 28C.