From the resplendent Spanish colonial architecture of the Old Town to the spectacular dilapidation of Havana Centro, a city of survivors and masterful musicians sways indefatigably to the syncopated beat of the rumba. Bereft of the consumer-driven trappings of other less colourful metropolises, Havana remains characterful, safe, and packed with a plethora of interesting museums.

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Saskia and Will are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Havana Vieja never ceases to amaze - one minute you're walking down a pretty cobbled street lined with beautifully restored buildings, and the next you're among crumbling ruins, where locals live in two rooms with their entire extended family

Our guide to holidays in Havana

For history buffs there's the living breathing essence of UNESCO-sponsored Havana Vieja; for beach bums there's the sun-splashed tranquillity of Playas del Este, and for everyone, there are some of the most charming inhabitants you could hope to meet. A stroll along the Malecón promenade is a loely way to spend an afternoon, but time it carefully; aside from dodging entwined couples, you may need to avoid a dousing from the waves crashing over the sea wall.

All of the above are reason enough to visit, but what really sets Cuba apart is the fact that this is one of the last places on earth to see the Marxist/communist model in practice. The crumbling facades and empty shelves in government run food stores pay testament to the struggles the locals have to endure, yet endearing respect (despite a growing anti-Castro sentiment) for the revolution and its aftermath remains the norm, and plays a major part in the sense of solidarity one feels across the island.


Top picks for Havana

Iberostar Parque Central

Iberostar Parque Central

Havana

The Iberostar Parque Central, built in tune with its surroundings in the heart of the old quarter, combines the elegance of Spanish colonial style with modern services and facilities – not necessarily a given in Havana.

Where to stay

Palacio del Marques de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal

Palacio del Marques de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal

Havana

This elegant boutique hotel is located on the Plaza San Francisco in one of the most beautiful districts of old Havana.

Where to stay

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Havana

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba, known simply as the Nacional, is a Havana institution. Everyone from Buster Keaton to Winston Churchill and, inevitably, Ernest Hemingway has stayed here over the years.

Where to stay

Hotel Saratoga

Hotel Saratoga

Havana

The Hotel Saratoga is located on the edge of the ‘Old Havana’ district, the historic heart of the city, opposite the Capitol Building and Fraternity Park.

Where to stay

Hotel Santa Isabel

Hotel Santa Isabel

Havana

Hotel Santa Isabel, the magnificent former mansion of the Counts of Santovenia, was opened in 1867, and soon became the favourite haunt of ship owners and artists alike.

Where to stay

Salsa in Cuba

Salsa

Havana

There are many different forms of music which are commonly associated with Cuba including fandango, folk, rumba, paso doble, waltz, jazz and salsa. Music in Cuba is not simply entertainment but a part of life. It is life and this is what we invite you to experience.

What to do

Many thanks to you Dominique for planning this and joining me on that very special tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and especially you.

Carol, Travel Agent - FAM Trip, 2017

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