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Find information on Havana in our Travel Guide covering sights, foods and nightlife plus more...
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Havana, the capital of Cuba, is located on the north coast of the island. It lies around a natural harbour and at one time was very affluent with a thriving economy. Evidence of this can be seen in the many wonderful neo-classical, colonial and baroque buildings. The revolution, followed by the United States embargo, severely affected the economy and, following the break up of the Soviet Union in the early nineties which lead to a reduction of aid, life became increasingly difficult for Cubans. Tourism is now the major source of income and every effort is made to make your stay a holiday to remember. Havana is a lively city where much of it appears to be trapped in a time warp. Anyone with an interest in old American cars will be delighted with the number of ancient Cadillacs. A Havana holiday is filled with sightseeing opportunities, atmospheric restaurants, bars and clubs and the beat of Latin-American music.
Havana may be a little dilapidated with buildings needing more than a lick of paint, but it is an extremely vibrant city. It has the romantic quality of a bygone age and this attracts visitors. Those who want the best of both worlds choose a two centre holiday, spending half their time in the city and the rest at one of Cuba’s fabulous beach resorts.
Havana is a great place for couples and those with an interest in social history. Anyone who enjoys a spirited atmosphere will leave Havana satisfied. With good restaurants, lively bars and clubs and with constant music in the air, Havana is always in the mood to party.
All of Cuba enjoys a balmy, subtropical climate making this remarkable island a great place to visit at any time of the year. The annual average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius, with summer heat peaking around 30 degrees. Daytime temperatures in winter rarely dropping below 18 degrees C. Rain falls mostly in the summer and autumn, and while there can also be torrential downpours at any time. They are usually short lasting. The main hurricane season in Cuba is between August and October, so it's important to watch weather forecasts if you are booking your Havana holiday in this period.
Havana, Cuba’s capital, is a very interesting city that looks like it has fallen on hard times. There is evidence everywhere of its former opulence with many fine edifices in a poor state of repair. In recent years investment in the tourist industry has seen some improvement in the dilapidated buildings, but the overall impression is still one of former, rather than present glory. That said, Havana is a fascinating city, one that Earnest Hemingway ranked third in the world. Take a horse and carriage tour of the old town and visit the colonial palaces, churches, museums, galleries and the old fortress. One of the curious things about Havana, and Cuba in general, are the number of very old and very large American cars dating from the fifties. The modern part of the city, Vededo, contrasts sharply with the old with acres of glass fronted high rise buildings, hotels and smart shops. Nightlife in Havana is renowned for its lively atmosphere with its many bars, discos and clubs. The evening parties are often fuelled by Cuban rum cocktails.
If you should need a rest from sightseeing, the nearest beaches are only a short distance from the city. Cuban beaches are superb stretches of soft white sand lapped by warm clear waters, ideal for relaxing after a strenuous day in the city. There is also an eighteen hole golf course close by.
Havana nightlife is legendary with plenty of lively spots where you can salsa the night away. There is a huge choice of venue from elegant restaurants to bars and clubs where the music vibrates into the streets. Havana hosts music, dance and theatre festivals each year, with the jazz festival being a particular favourite.
Havana has modern shopping malls that have been constructed primarily to service the tourist industry. However the Cuban economy is state controlled and the many years of the American embargo has led to a lack of quality goods in Cuba’s shops. Cosmetics, camera films and medicines are limited and it is best to take plenty with you including sun cream, an essential item in glorious Cuba. Cuba is renowned for its world famous cigars and rum. The Cathedral Square has a weekend market where you can purchase gifts and souvenirs.
Havana has a large number of restaurants serving an eclectic menu to satisfy all tastes. Fish features prominently in traditional dishes which are simply cooked and not overly spicy or hot. Beans and rice are an essential part of the diet. There is a large Chinese community in Cuba and there are some excellent restaurants in China Town. Cuba must be one of the few countries in the world that does not have any of the American fast food chains.