Havana is Cuba’s capital city. Spanish colonial architecture in its 16th-century Old Havana core includes the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a fort and maritime museum. The National Capitol Building is an iconic 1920s landmark. Also in Old Havana is the baroque Catedral de San Cristóbal and Plaza Vieja, whose buildings reflect the city’s vibrant architectural mix.



How to get to Havana

We took a taxi from Varadero to Havana, the cost for a one way transfer was $100. We had a large minivan, although you can take a taxi or an old car.

Getting there from the airport

  • Taxi – Jump in a yellow cab from the airport, it’s easy to find one inside and outside the terminal

  • Private car – You can arrange for a private car o pick you up, this will most likely be an old American muscle car... Perfect way to get to the city.

  • Car Rental – Be sure to check if you can drive here prior to booking. You can also reserve a car online via Rentalcars


Where to stay in Havana

Where to stay in Havana

Accommodation in Havana is expensive, it doesn’t really matter where you stay. They don’t have Airbnb there yet so the only options are hotels and hostels. The other issue you have here is that you’ll need to book accommodation through a non US website due to the embargo.

Areas to stay in Havana:

  • Old Havana (Habana Vieja) – Very busy area as is a main tourist area so many bars, restaurants and museums, and here come the negatives… very noisy, and theft is high. The building are old and the street are not so safe at night.

  • Vedado – Out of the main tourist area, contains some hotels and restaurants. 1 hour walk to old Havana along the water front, or a quick taxi ride.

  • Central Havana – Interesting place but not ideal to stay as the building have not been maintained and are crumbling away. Advisable to only walk through during the day as this is a very poor and over populated area.

  • Miramar – Closer to the beaches, has larger hotels, contains the wealthier Cubans. Has restaurants but are scattered around. Too far to walk to old town so car or taxi will be necessary.

We ended up choosing the Hotel Neptuno Triton including buffet breakfast. It’s an ok hotel block with a swimming pool, but it was tired and not well looked after. When booking accommodation, ensure that you’re in a Wi-fi Zone. NB: larger hotels will offer internet access.


Reality check

As first timers in Cuba, it came as a real shock to us to catch a glimps of how life is for the locals. After having spent 6 very lazy days in an all- inclusive in Varadero, we moved onto Havana on a bed and breakfast basis. Now Cuba isn’t cheap and so a trip to the local supermarket, we thought would save us some money in lunches and snack. But we were in for a shock. On approaching a decent sized supermarket we pulled out our list of groceries. Unfortunately for us supplies are extremely limited in Cuba. Yes there were rows upon rows of mustard or tomato ketchup, packaged biscuits and crisps but apart from select dry produce there was really very little.

For those travelling with young children, it is advisable to take all necessary supplies with you, including food and toiletries.


Things to do in Havana with children

  • Hop on Hop off bus

    • We took the bus from outside the Melia hotel and went into old Havana. We stopped off at Revolution Square, we took pictures in front of the pillar and iconic hotel wall art.

    • We then got back on the bus and stopped off at a market in Vedado. Here we lost the bus! We walked down to the waterfront, down the back streets, towards the Cathedral. We stopped off at the old Partagas cigar factory and found our way to the port, where we found the bus again. We got on the bus then decided it was too early to head back and so walked along the harbour and castle to Plaza de Armas where we caught the bus from San fransico Sq. to go back to the hotel.

  • The following day we took a vintage 1950 convertible green Buick car to old Havana. We walked around Plaza de Armas the Cathedral and walked up and down Mercedes avenue. This road is full of old restaurants and bars. We walked to the Foradita hotel, to Havana club and stopped off to eat pizza and drink mojitos of course. We spent the whole afternoon walking around the old town and then took a taxi back to the hotel.

  • Old Havana - Old Havana is the city-centre and one of the 15 municipalities forming Havana, Cuba. It has the second highest population density in the city and contains the core of the original city of Havana.

  • Museum of the Revolution - The Museum of the Revolution is a museum located in the Old Havana section of Havana, Cuba. The museum is housed in what was the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario Garcia Menocal to Fulgencio Batista.

  • Plaza de la Catedral - Is one of the five main squares in Old Havana and the site of the Cathedral of Havana from which it takes its name. Originally a swamp, it was later drained and used as a naval dockyard.

  • Plaza de Armas - The city's oldest plaza is surrounded by restaurants & host to numerous second-hand book stands.

  • Revolution Plaza - Vast plaza & site of many presidential addresses, featuring monuments to Cuban revolutionary heroes.

  • The Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás - Is a cigar factory museum in Havana, Cuba. The world-famous habanos cigars are produced in this factory. Across the street from the massive Capitol building and is one of Cuba's oldest cigar factories.

  • Old American car – hire a car for a day or a few hours. These are bright pink, green blue old American muscle cars. Excellent for a cruise around the city with the top down.

  • Beaches - Miramar area contains the beaches of Havana.

  • Horse and cart rides around the old Havana

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