What to do in Havana for a day? One day is not enough to go deeper and experience the Cuban life truly but it is certainly sufficient to get Havana under your skin.
Here are some of the most interesting things to see and do in beautiful Havana. Because the blog is about female travel, places like the Museum of weapons are not included.
However, there are coffee and chocolate, music and dancing on the list! Unlike Trinidad, Havana is a vibrant city with a bohemian heart, that is the Old Havana.
Where to Taste the Best Coffee in Cuba
Café el Escorial is the place you will find the best coffee in Cuba! Positioned right at one of the Old Square’s (Plaza Vieja) corners, this bar is specialized in coffee roasting and brewing. You have a choice between a variety of coffee drinks with the appetizing names like “café Cubano”, “coffee liquor” and “café Calypso” with rum, liquor and crème.
You can also buy freshly roasted coffee beans to bring with you at home. If you are a coffee addict like me, you absolutely should visit this place!
Follow the Steps of Hemingway
Hotel Ambos Mundos – This is the hotel where Hemingway lived for seven years in the 1930s. The architecture is from the 1920s and you will recognize it easily by its pink colour at the corner street in Old Havana.
The best that you can do is to go up with the beautiful cage elevator (still functioning original Otis) to the rooftop bar. There is also a live music even during the day. This terrace gives a beautiful view of the Havana’s harbour.
Go to the Very Heart of Havana
— Plaza Vieja, the Old square of Havana. In spite of its bloody past (the square was a place of executions and bullfights) today Plaza Vieja is a colourful architectural ensemble. Side by side with the historical sites and the classical architecture you will see modern art. Statement pieces of sculptures are spread around and make the surroundings spectacular.
Dance in the Home of Buena Vista Social Club
Café Taberna is known as the home of Buena Vista Social Club, the Cuban musical group that introduced to the world the Cuban son musical genre in 1997.
The group is still playing although the musicians very old now. I had the pleasure to see them two years ago in Sofia and was amazed by their lively playing and singing as well as their youthful look and deep love for the music.
The best feature of this restaurant is the live show. No matter during the day or at night, you will have a real Cuban music and dance experience. On the other side, the food is not the best that Cuba can offer.
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Go for a Romantic Walk along the Malecon
The Malecon is the place where people of Havana are gathering in the evenings. It is an 8 km long esplanade and in a contrast with the Old Havana, the Malecon is full of locals and you can see young couples sitting on the seawall from late afternoon to late night hours.
The boulevard crawls along the ocean and the views are especially splendid at sunset.
Visit the Hotel of the American Gangsters
To understand contemporary Cuba, you need to see its many faces and learn about its different historical period.
Hotel National de Cuba is now known as the hotel of the American mafia. It was built in the late 1920s and in 1946 housed a major summit of the most notorious American Cosa Nostra members. Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lanski were only two of the many who attended this gathering.
In our days, the hotel relies on its glorious past but have difficulties to keep its premises updated and well maintained. It is an interesting place to visit, to have a drink facing the ocean and to see the ballroom where the mafia’s summit took place but it is too expensive for what it offers as a hotel.
See Havana from an Italian Perspective
Morro Castle fortress is known as the Italian fortress. Built to protect the Havana bay, today the place is interesting because it gives different viewing point to Havana city.
The large open spaces are great for walks and picnics.
Get Lost among the Art and Antiques
You can find the Art and antique market in Old Havana, at the Plaza de Armas where the view of a beautiful garden will make you stop and sit on the benches under shades. All around the garden, there are stands with second-hand books, badges from almost all former socialist countries and other memorabilia.
Try the Best Chocolate in Cuba
Museo del Chocolate is also a shop. The chocolate made with the famous cacao from Baracoa is produced at front of your eyes. The delicious diversity will satisfy all tastes and because of that, there are always crowds of people waiting at front of the shop. The museum is in the heart of Old Havana.
Pop Into the Mojito’s Birthplace
La Bodeguita Del Medio is a bar mostly visited by tourists. It claims to be the birthplace of the famous Mojito cocktail. If there are too many tourists for your taste, you can stop for a while just to listen to the music from the street.
If you have time for more in your one-day itinerary, you can visit these places as well:
Museo del Automovil
Plaza de la Catedral
Plaza San Fransisco
Museum of Ernest Hemingway
National Museum of Decorative arts
Even for a short time, a place can enchant you and let you bewitched. You see, there are many and different activities of what to do in Havana for a day!
Read also: Top 10 Places to Visit in Cuba
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