Happening Havana | Travel Research Online


Happening Havana

Locked away for decades, Cuba is has become THE destination since it was officially opened to American travelers. Lured by images of classic cars, the succinct words of Hemingway, and the colorful Spanish architecture—Cuba is an experience that is unlike any other. The capital, Havana, is the center of this experience, a city that must be felt through walking down the avenues and cruising in the cars rarely found elsewhere.

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Havana, Cuba


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  • The fascinating history of Cuba is apparent around every corner in Havana. Particularly in Old Havana, known locally as La Habana Vieja. This UNESCO World Heritage Site crackles with the energy of the past and present, it being the site where the city was founded in 1519. This part of the city lies along the Havana Port, where the traveler can walk along a scenic seawall that gives a great view of everyday life in the Cuban capital. Like most cities of Spanish origin, plazas are prevalent in this part of the city. The main gathering place, and oldest square in Old Havana, is the Plaza de Armas. The Plaza Vieja has a great selection of bars, restaurants, and cafes with outdoor seating to enjoy the atmosphere. Walking or cruising around La Habana Vieja is an experience in the vibrancy of life.




  • Of course, the traveler can’t miss the multitudes of classic cars that cruise the streets. These cars are still in great condition for their age, Cubans pouring love into these magnificent machines. The traveler will see cars such as the Ford Fairlane and Chevrolet Bel Air, both with that classic rounded off style that defined America in the 1950’s. Other types include old Russian and German models as well. And, what could be better than checking out Havana by taxi or tour in a car that is rarely seen on the streets of any other country in this day and age? These may be only one factor that makes Havana a delight to visit, but their aesthetic is hard to pass up without a sense of nostalgia and surprise.




  • The walk along the seawall and bay, mentioned earlier, is called the Malecón. This 8 km-long drive is where the traveler will find a happening vibe and a strip that features the festive heart of Havana. On one side, the bay sits with locals and tourist taking in the sea as it rocks against the seawall. On the other side, architecture of Spanish nature that sets a specific mood. Whether it be during the day when people relax and walk along it, or at night when street musicians serenade the passersby and people enjoy a drink or two…it remains one of the primary muses of Cuban music and writing about Havana. The Malecón is a wholly unique experience that only Cuba can offer.




Havana is dynamic, safe, vibrant, and gorgeous all at once. It is a destination that when mentioned conjures up a sense of romanticism and mirth, a lively spirit that won’t be held down by any means—including messy political atmospheres. Havana isn’t just a destination; it is a way to find the things that were lost along the path to adulthood: colorful curiosity and friendly fun.


Santiago is the second largest city in Cuba. It sits in a valley of the Sierra Maestra mountains with a pretty bay on the Caribbean Sea. The entrance to the bay is almost invisible offshore but as you arrive, the scenery opens up to the city behind the sandy beachfront. The city is the centre of an agricultural and mining region and exports copper, iron, manganese, sugar, and fruit, and it is no surprise that the southern terminus of the country’s Central Highway and Cuba’s major railway is here to move all those products.


If you have the time, it is always best to use every minute to explore a new place. Considering that you may never get back to Cienfuegos, you can slowly sift through the city, both on foot and by car, with your excellent guide. Learn about the history of this place, built by the French so long ago. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has secrets that someone rushing through will never know.


Who can imagine Havana without a classic car? They are not only prevalent in the historic city center but all around the outskirts as well, as they are used for transportation, not just tourism! There is something so special about riding in these cars and hearing how they use incredible parts to keep them running is definitely part of that story.


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