Havana 101 – A complete sights and food guide

Scroll down to content

Cuba has become, without a doubt, the hotspot of the Caribbean. The island has seen a runway of famous people like Katy Perry, Rihanna, Zoe Saldana, Madonna, The Rolling Stones among many others including my all time favorite Jon Bon Jovi. Even the Kardashian Clan paid us a visit, ate some well needed soul food and recorded some episodes. The humble streets of Havana have seen from Obama himself walking, to some scenes for Fast and Furious 8, numerous music videos, and just when I thought we had seen it all… Chanel shows up with a fashion show completely lighting up Paseo del Prado. As people run to qualify for a visa and start hitting up their Cuban facebook friends and look up “top 10 things to do in Havana” on trip advisor, I am here to give you a simplified must see list including the hot spots for the real reason you’re going to Cuba… eat good food, drink cheap and party! Here is my itinerary for day-drinking your way through Havana:

  • Plaza de Armas: this is a good starting point and a cool vintage market. Whether you’re looking for a cool Fidel poster, some old books, a rustic camera from the Soviet Union, or some vintage jewelry, this place will have something for you. The market is always open and gets busier on weekends. You can find pretty much anything and if you’re not looking to make purchases, this is a good place to sit, relax and listen to some music before starting your tour around the city. Right across the plaza you have two museums – Museo de los Capitanes Generales (worth paying a visit) and the Museo de Historia Natural (not so much to see).

  • Plaza de la Catedral: just 2 blocks away from Plaza de Armas. Take a gorgeous picture in the Cathedral entrance and visit the breath-taking interior. Back on the plaza you can hang out and feed the pigeons while enjoying music and local artists. Cuba is filled with street artists and it’s a treat to the eyes and ears. ***Tip: You will probably find a churro stand near here.. they are a must try.
  • La Bodeguita del Medio: sits in calle Empedrado, near the Cathedral. Go and enjoy a cold home made mojito just like Hemingway used to drink and write your name on the wall… if you can find an open spot.
  • Plaza Vieja (Old Square): After cooling off with your mojitos (you know it’s not going to be just one) and getting somewhat tipsy, you can head to Plaza Vieja, one of the main squares in the city. You would have walked about 7-8 blocks from La Bodeguita del Medio to here so lets cool off and continue this drinking tour with a dark or light beer at…
  • La Casa de la Cerveza: located in the old square, this is a very popular spot mainly for the large pitchers of beer they offer in a variety of depth and flavors. If beer is not your thing then ask for a malta which is a classic soda-like drink and you can mix it with ice cream or sweet condensed milk. After gaining about 10 pounds with maltas and beer the time is perfect to go to lunch and keep drinking at…
  • El Figaro: just a 5 minute car ride from Old Square and just in time for lunch, El Figaro is a classic Cuban restaurant (Guy Fieri approved) that serves a special dish of lobster in coffee sauce. The dish was created by none other than Chef Gilberto Smith who in occasions cooked for Frank Sinatra, so worth checking it out and quite possibly trying something new.

    1464284106232
    Credits to The Food Network
  • Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro: this is perhaps one of the most popular attractions in all of Havana. El Morro marks the entrance to the Havana Bay and used to protect the bay from attacks back in Colonial times. Go to the top of the light house (while loosing the calories gained by the beer and food) for one of the best 360 views of the city. ***Tip: I recommend seeing the sunset here since the pictures will totally be IG worthy.
  • Castillo de San Carlos de la Cabaña: sits next to El Morro and is also full of history. Take your time and walk the castle, sit on the rusty canons, take lots of pictures and learn the history. ***Night Tip: at exactly 9 pm, rain or shine, from this location a canon is fired into the Bay. This is a symbolic tradition dating back to the 1800s where the firing of the canon would indicate the closing of the city. Many people come at night to enjoy the ceremony. You only have to pay for the entrance fee and the ceremony is included.
  • El Cristo de la Habana: right next to EL Morro & La Cabaña, you have a Christ statue overlooking the Bay and the city. It’s like the one in Rio but much smaller. The views from up here are incredible. I recommend taking the ferry back to the main city… but please, although Cuba is pretty safe… ALWAYS WATCH OVER YOUR BELONGINGS, specially if using public transportation.
  • Habana Club Museum: if you don’t know what Habana Club is…. i’ll start by telling you is the best rum you will have in your life. *** Tip:watch out ’cause it will mess you up real fast!*** This is the national Cuban rum and it comes white or dark, aging period ranges from 3 years (around $4 CUC) till the special añejo that will cost you a fortune. After tasting some good rum, keep walking along to…
  • Plaza San Francisco de Asis: another of the main squares in Havana, this one is mainly know for the convent and the statue of “El Caballero de Paris”, or in English the Paris’ Gentleman, dedicated to a well known man that used to roam the streets of Havana back in the 50’s. Find a classic convertible car and take a ride to…
  • El Capitolio: this building is absolutely gorgeous and is often compared to the United States Capitol building in Washington D.C. The inside is stunning and definitively a must see. Lets continue the drinking tour to…
  • El Floridita Bar: enjoy the best daiquiri in town, or two or three… the limit does not exist… Maybe at this point you should go home, shower, nap off your tipsy-self and get ready for the best night of your life starting with dinner at…
  • La Guarida: the famous restaurant and a TripAdvisor favorite, certainly the one with the best view. Located in an older building in Old Havana, La Guarida offers you incredible food and drink plus a bomb view, specially at night. This is the preferred spots for wedding celebrations and the cool kids hangout. They often partner with incredible entertainment and even have an online reservation system to make it easier for you to get a table. So take advantage of this, plan your trip and reserve before flying. Then tag them on IG or give them a thumbs up online and support local businesses this way.
  • Fabrica del Arte Cubano: sits in the building of an old cooking oil factory. Live music, art, drinks, performances, cool crowd… what else could you ask for?
  • Tropicana: prepare to dance all night long at Tropicana. This is another cool spot where the local people hang out at. The entertainment is amazing and you will have the time of your life. They also do cabaret style shows with the classic hot dancers in minimal clothing, this is a must see.
  • La Zorra y El Cuervo: if clubbing or active dancing is not your scene then check out this small jazz club and bar for some awesome drinks and grooving music.
  • El Malecon Habanero: no matter what you do or where you go… you have to end your night sitting in El Malecon, drinking beer, listening to the locals talk and play guitar, taking in the cool ocean breeze and simply enjoying the city views and vibes.

6efc02525ecf9ad9283c4877854b9b72

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did let me know and if you have any special request, or questions, or anything in particular you want me to cover next let me know with a comment. Share and Subscribe.

Much love,

Your drink-enthusiast Cuban friend… Flavia ❤️ 🇨🇺

One Reply to “Havana 101 – A complete sights and food guide”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: