Once a mecca for American tourists, the Caribbean’s largest city was badly affected by the trade embargo. Its economy almost crippled, Havana somehow managed to pull through and the city still retains much of its historic lustre, despite the many years of neglect. To walk down Havana’s streets today is to take a trip through history. Its many colonial buildings are being restored and there is an energy that’s rarely found anywhere in the world. Music is of huge importance to the city’s residents, so take a flight and hotel to Havana and as you stroll through the city's squares you will hear melodies coming from every quarter.
What To Know Before You Go
Take a flight to Havana and you will arrive at the José Martí airport. A quick search of the internet will find you some great deals on flights from Dublin to Havana or flights from Cork to Havana. There are no public buses stopping at the airport, so take a taxi to your destination. The standard Cuban currency is the Peso, of which there are two versions: one for locals and one for visitors. You can only change money inside the country and be sure to spend it all before you leave as it is not traded internationally.
When Should You Visit Havana?
Cuba enjoys a warm tropical climate with a wet season and a dry season. Take your package holidays in Havana between December and May to enjoy the best weather characterised by sunny days with perfect blue skies and not a drop of rain. The wet season begins in June and extends to October, so people often avoid taking their city breaks in Havana at this time of year.
At the weekend Havana comes live with music and if you love jazz why not time your trip to coincide with the Havana Jazz Festival which is held each December? Cuban jazz is famous throughout the world and has a unique flavour marked by Latin American influences as well as indigenous music such as Son, Rumba, Mambo and Guaracha. It even has a local variant of Bebop known as Cubop.
What Should You Do In Havana?
The pedestrianised plazas and wide, colonial boulevards of Havana make for a perfect holiday destination. Amongst the city's many attractions, the old town features architecture dating back to the 1500s and is home to many bars where you can enjoy a mojito and watch the world go by to the accompaniment of local musicians. Take a stroll down the Malecón, Havana’s colourful, sea side boulevard where the whole world seems to meet. Alternatively you could hire one of the many reasonably priced taxis and find yourself cruising the streets in a Cadillac dating back to the 1950s.
What Should You See In Havana?
Havana is Cuba’s cultural capital and with a wide range of attractions, it has a lot to offer the visitor. Take a flight and hotel in Havana and discover the best of Cuban creativity.
Visit Capitolio Nacional. This vast, neo-classical building is one of Cuba’s most iconic buildings.
Discover Havana from another perspective at the Ernest Hemmingway Museum.
Learn some local history at the Revolution Museum.
Catch an outdoor theatre performance at Almendares Park.
Visit the beautifully restored 18th century Merchant Street.
What Should You Eat In Havana?
Visitors taking their package holidays in Havana come home talking about the food. Eat like a Cuban and you will eat well. Plates piles with fried chicken, rice and beans and sweet potatoes and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables are the norm and there is plenty of food to choose from without the need for restaurants. Choose to dine out, however, and you will be treated to cuisine from around the world. Wash it all down with a local rum cocktail.
What Should You Take Home From Havana?
Even visitors spending the weekend in Havana will want a souvenir from their trip. Perhaps the most widely bought items are the Cuban cigars and Che Guevara t-shirts. You will find these, along with wooden and leather goods, at the open-air handicraft market in the old town. Enjoy the interesting shops and live music of Calle Obispo or browse antique books on the Plaza de Armas. While Havana is not a shopping city, you will definitely find something to remind you of your trip.