Transport back to a simpler time in Havana, Cuba. This city may be timeworn, due to the long-standing economic embargo against the country, but its colonial architecture and pristine beaches make Havana a diamond in the rough.

What to see and do

One of the Caribbean’s largest and most vivacious cities, Havana has an infectious energy and romantic atmosphere that make it easy to see why tourists and locals alike love Havana.

Havana Cathedral

This breathtakingly grandiose Catholic cathedral is built in the Baroque stile. Make of coral from the nearby ocean floor, the walls of this beautiful building still contain fossilized marine life. Enjoy the statues and frescoes from artists like Rubens and Murillo in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Habana Vieja

This antique but up-beat borough of Havana is the second-most populated area of the city, and is bursting with Cuban culture. Find street quartets serenading on nearly every street corner and wonderful local shops on every block.

Malecon

Stroll along Havana’s promenade and take in the expansive view of the water. This broad roadway and seawall stretches 8 km along the city. Around twilight, this is the perfect spot to take a romantic stroll as you listen to the waves crash. During daytime, it is perfect for a self-guided architecture tour, as many prominent buildings line the street.

Vedado

The most modern party of the city, Vedado is filled with trendy shops, hotels, restaurants and nightlife. Don’t be too quick walking through this area, though, as you may miss some of the best historical sights Havana has to offer. This area sits in stark contrast to the rest of the city, so enjoy this mini-metropolis within this retro city.

Museo de Artes Decorativos

A beautiful building inspired by the French Renaissance, Museo de Artes Decorativos is worth visiting even if you don’t go inside. If you do venture in, though, there is a museum detailing how the wealthy in Havana lived prior to the Revolution.

Miramar

Inside a ’50s-inspired town, there is an era-appropriate neighbourhood filled with glamour and style. Nearly 70 years ago, this was the most beautiful area in the city, filled with upscale mansions, ritzy country clubs and glittering hotels. Once a thriving community, the area is not quite as popular now, but gives a glimpse into the world of wealth that filled Cuba before communism took hold.

Seasonality

Cuba is beautiful, sunny and tropical year-round, but you may enjoy certain times of year better than other based on your personal preferences. The high season lasts from November to May, which means the island is filled with tourists and has the most agreeable weather. February is the coldest month, with temperatures around 25°C. To be prepared for your getaway to Havana, make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecast the days leading up to your trip.

May to October is usually Hurricane season, so this is the best time to stay away. If you do choose to travel during this time, consider travel insurance to protect your trip – but be sure to read the Product Disclosure Statement carefully, as expected weather events may not always be covered.

Travel tips

  • You must obtain a visa to enter Cuba, which you can obtain from the Cuban Embassy. Proof of travel insurance is also required to enter Cuba. You can get travel insurance for Cuba through Cover-More.
  • To exit Cuba, a departure tax of nearly A$35 is required at the airport, so remember to keep some money available.
  • The official language in Cuba is Spanish, and English is not as widely understood as in other Latin countries.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Gareth Williams.