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One Day in Havana

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While one day is simply not enough time in this fascinating, unique capital city, that is under-going massive changes; if you do find yourself with only 24 hours to explore, try to fit in as many of these recommendations as possible – or better still, all of them (if you have the time and stamina)!

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Foodie
  • Trendsetter

9 Places

7 City Tips

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Map

9 Places

La Corona Cigar Factory

Factory Tours

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Hotels

Old Square (Plaza Vieja)

Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Cafe Bohemia

Restaurants

National Museum of Fine Arts

Art Museums

Casa de la Musica de Miramar

Bars & Clubs

San Cristobal Paladar

Restaurants

Tropicana

Bars & Clubs, Performances

Amanda M's City Tips

  • Don’t expect Cuba to be like any other country you have ever been to; however Havana, like most capital cities, is expensive.
  • The country has a dual currency (CUC and Cuban Pesos), neither of which is international. This means that you can only change currency once in the country.
  • Although tipping is not compulsory, it is expected, and Cubans do work for their tips.
  • Forget about using a local bus service in the city, they are packed and don't follow a timetable. Taxis are inexpensive as no sight is too far away.
  • In Cuba the dress code is relaxed, however men should dress up a little at night.
  • Be very careful on the streets and sidewalks; they have not been well maintained and it is easy to stumble whilst taking in the scenery.
  • Havana has a number of new good private restaurants, with varied menus, and even a few good vegetarian options. A lot of restaurants cater for large groups too, but best book.
  • Save
    La Corona Cigar Factory
    Factory Tours
    See more photos
    Amanda M Says:

    This is a great tour: Even if you have no interest in cigars or smoking, you will gain insight into how cigars are made, the fascination behind them, and value. If you are a cigar aficionado, Havana hosts an annual Cigar Festival in February, which attracts enthusiasts from all over the world.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Get there early before the tour buses.
    • Don’t take a bag in with you as you will have to check it.
    • If doing the tour independently, take a taxi to the factory and ask the driver to wait for you and then bring you back.
    • Buy tickets or vouchers in advance from your hotel, guide or representative.
    • Photography is not permitted.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 117 Tours in Havana
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Really interesting 10/08/2018
    • Fascinating 18/06/2018
    • La Corona Cigar Factory
    Address:
    Galiano Street 93
    Havana
    Cuba
  • Save
    Hotel Nacional de Cuba
    Hotels
    See more photos
    Amanda M Says:

    The Hotel Nacional is the landmark hotel of Cuba, and the hotel of choice for Heads of State, Mafia members, film stars and celebrities alike. The Hotel Nacional first opened in the 1930s and features a mix of Art Deco and Moorish architecture. With its 400 or so rooms and suites, two swimming pools, tennis courts, gymnasium, conference rooms, state rooms, five restaurants and snack bars, Cabaret Parisien, and abundance of bars; there is no shortage of things to do or places to explore here. I certainly recommend it as a place to visit and have a cocktail.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Take the hotel tour, which offers an interesting insight into the hotel and its grounds. Monday to Friday tours run at 10am and 3pm; Saturdays at 10am.
    • The Salon de la Fama boasts the most impressive guest list, and features pictures of its famous visitors displayed by the decade.
    • On Sunday nights, weather permitting, they host a free concert in the gardens; a perfect time to enjoy a cocktail.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 89 Hotels in Havana
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Terrible Service, Wonderful Decor 20/08/2018
    • Very disappointing 20/08/2018
    • Hotel Nacional de Cuba
    Address:
    Calle 21 y O
    Vedado, Plaza
    Havana 10400
    Cuba
    Phone:
    011 53 7 8462120
    Other:
  • Save
    Old Square (Plaza Vieja)
    Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Amanda M Says:

    This is just one of the four wonderful old and renovated squares that are must-sees in Old Havana, and a lovely place to grab a quick coffee or simply admire the architecture. Bear in mind that each of the squares is turning into an exhibition area in its own right, so it can get quite busy here.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Try to do a private tour with a guide if you are interested in history; the square is overflowing with it.
    • Between 5pm and 7pm is the best time to go. (The tour groups have generally gone by this stage.)
    • Visit the beautiful Basilica Menor de San Fransisco de Asis. They regularly program amazing classical recitals and the acoustics are phenomenal.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 280 things to do in Havana
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Must be part during a tour through Old Havana 21/08/2018
    • A great way to spend an hour in the heart of Old Havana 19/08/2018
    • Old Square (Plaza Vieja)
    Address:
    La Habana Vieja
    Havana
    Cuba
    Phone:
    +53 5 4985750
    Other:
  • Save
    Cafe Bohemia
    Restaurants (Cuban)
    See more photos
    Amanda M Says:

    This cafe has a nice location in Plaza Vieja, and serves great salads and sandwiches. It's a fantastic spot for a quick bite and a rest before you continue your journey around Old Havana.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Be sure to try the lemonade frappe; such a great non-alcoholic thirst quencher.
    • Tables are on the side of the square, or if you fancy some peace and quiet, there is also a private and shaded inner courtyard.
    • Cafe Bohemia can get quite busy; try to eat a late-lunch here and avoid the crowds.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Disappointing and over priced 21/08/2018
    • Terrible pasta 16/08/2018
    • Cafe Bohemia
    Address:
    San Ignacio 364
    Havana 10400
    Cuba
    Phone:
    +53 5 4031568
    Price range:
    US$1 - US$10
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    National Museum of Fine Arts
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Amanda M Says:

    The Museo de las Bellas Artes is a wonderful gallery, and houses some fantastic paintings and sculptures. It is a lovely place to visit, and a wonderful sanctuary when you're looking for a combination of culture and peace and quiet – or simply somewhere beautiful to escape the sun.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Open Tuesday through Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-2pm.
    • Give yourself enough time; the gallery is bigger than it looks from outside.
    • The shop's stock is pretty sparse; be prepared to leave without a souvenir.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 280 things to do in Havana
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fascinating Collection 20/08/2018
    • Wonderful building, some intriguing art 18/08/2018
    • National Museum of Fine Arts
    Address:
    Calle Trocadero e/ Zulueta y Monserrate
    Havana
    Cuba
    Phone:
    +53 7 8621643
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Tue - Sat
    9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Save
    Casa de la Musica de Miramar
    Bars & Clubs
    See more photos
    Amanda M Says:

    Party with the Cubans and go to a matinee here: Casa de la Musica is a mecca for all music and dance enthusiasts. The best parties start in the afternoon, as it is cheaper for the Cubans to go then rather than to the late night show. Late night concerts tend to be a more corny affair – a dance performance followed by, if you are lucky, traditional Cuban salsa or reggaeton – and the venue is filled with tourists and locals eager 'to meet' new friends from foreign shores.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Ask the concierge at your hotel if they have details of Casa del Musica's upcoming program.
    • Like most state-run establishments, the toilets are grim! Take a small silver coin and your own paper!
    • The venue opens at 5pm, but the bands do not appear on stage until 6.45pm. Get here in good time as seats fill up quickly.
    • Try to get yourself in with a group of Cubans to really enjoy the party, but be prepared to buy the rum; it's not that expensive at the matinee and well worth it!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #17 of 42 Nightlife in Havana
    • Horrible people outside BE CAREFUL. 15/08/2018
    • Nightlife 06/08/2018
    • Casa de la Musica de Miramar
    Address:
    Ave. 20 No. 3308 esq. a 35, Miramar
    Havana
    Cuba
    Phone:
    +53 7 2040447
    Other:
  • Save
    San Cristobal Paladar
    Restaurants (Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, Spanish, Cuban)
    See more photos
    Amanda M Says:

    This is a fantastic place to have dinner. The food is Cuban-Creole and the local menu features great pork, fresh fish and sea-food dishes. This restaurant is not just about the foodie experience however - its kitsch decoration is also one-of-a-kind. Every part of the walls and ceilings seems to have something on or hanging off it, from old signs and mirrors, to plants and 'swinging toucans.'

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    Tips
    • This is an extremely popular restaurant so be sure to make a reservation.
    • Take a taxi. The streets are very poorly lit, and like most streets in Havana, have lots of uneven pavements and potholes to navigate.
    • Not a cheap place to dine, especially if you drink wine.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Not great 10/08/2018
    • Very Memorable Lunch 02/08/2018
    • San Cristobal Paladar
    Address:
    San Rafael No 469, E/ Lealtad y Campanario
    Havana
    Cuba
    Phone:
    860-1705
    Other:
  • Save
    Tropicana
    Bars & Clubs, Performances
    See more photos
    Amanda M Says:

    If you only ever come to Cuba once, then this is a must-do experience. It’s quite a spectacle, filled with music, dance, lights and action, making it a highly engaging show. There are two shows a night and if you pay for the first, you can stay for the second, meaning more of an opportunity to dance and party! There are two venues to choose from – the best one being the open air 'Paradise beneath the Stars' – but should it rain, the indoor venue, 'Salon Arcos de Cristal' is not a bad plan b.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Tickets should be booked in advance.
    • Eat elsewhere first. The actual show starts quite late, usually about 10pm, and ends around midnight. Try to arrive by 9.30pm for the best spots.
    • If you take a camera or a phone with video capability you will be charged to bring it in. Buy the ticket; it’s worth it for the memories.
    • Try to arrange a return journey with the taxi that takes you to the venue.
    • There are three choices of seats; pay the extra and get the best ones.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 42 Nightlife in Havana
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Show Didn't Happen, REFUSED REFUND 19/08/2018
    • My Experience At The Legendary Tropicana 18/08/2018
    • Tropicana
    Phone:
    2670110
    Other:
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