It’s hard to do Havana justice in words. It’s a city that feels like a film set, thanks to its vintage Cadillacs and candy-coloured old town. Sitting still simply isn’t an option in Cuba’s capital – there’s so much to see. It’s packed with 19th-century cigar factories, Renaissance mansions, and galleries telling the story of the Revolution. And, at night, the city transforms into a haze of mojitos and salsa music.
• It’s easy to lose yourself in the labyrinth of Habana Vieja. The UNESCO-protected old town cocoons Spanish mansions and plazas lined with grand old churches.
• Ernest Hemingway penned a considerable chunk of For Whom The Bell Tolls at the Hotel Ambos Mundos. Peek inside, and you’ll see the author’s old typewriter.
SHORE EXCURSIONS► View all EXCURSIONS
Vintage American cars purring through the streets. Mile-high murals of revolutionary icons. Camera-worthy colonial monuments. If you’re looking for Havana in a nutshell, this is the trip for you. You get the real ‘rum and cigar’ authenticity of this crumbling capital topped and tailed by tours of the best bits. Your day starts in the modern quarter where sights like El Capitolio – the bigger, younger sister of the White House in America’s Washington DC, and the Malecon – the city’s famous seafront promenade await. You’ll also see Plaza de la Revolución, Revolution Square, where Fidel Castro famously addressed millions of Cubans. Then it’s on to a cigar shop, of course cigars have been synonymous with Cuba for many years now. From here you’ll head to a viewpoint over Castillo del Moro for a cocktail in a bar before setting off on a guided walking tour of Havana Old Town, Habana Vieja. This UNESCO-protected part of town is real time warp stuff. All faded Spanish mansions and plazas lined with grand old churches, it’s a dusty 1950s nostalgia kick.
Cabaret Tropicana - A Paradise Under The Stars►
Paris got the Moulin Rouge, New York got Studio 54, and Havana got the Tropicana. This world-famous club is the city’s epicentre of glitz and glamour and a must for theatre and cabaret-lovers. All the acts perform, sing in Spanish & dance on an open-air stage cocooned by tropical greenery. As well as your seat, this tour entitles you to a small welcome glass of sparkling wine and a bit of Havana Club rum to enjoy throughout the performance.
Hemingway in Havana►
Ernest Hemingway made Havana his main home in the early 1930s and today, the author is as synonymous with this city as the mojitos he used to drink here. This half-day tour is a great way to follow in his footsteps. Your day kicks off with a scenic drive through Cojimar, a fishing village that inspired Hemingway to pen ‘The Old Man and the Sea’. Next, it’s on to Finca Vigia – Hemingway’s one-time home and now the site of a museum dedicated to him. Although we can’t go inside - you can view the interior through the windows to see how it has been preserved just as the family left it with his personal belongings which really bring the place to life. Then, rounding things off, you’ll head to two of Hemmingway’s favourite watering holes, the iconic La Bodeguita del Medio in central Havana, famous haunt of the author’s, this atmospheric drinking den is rumoured to be the birthplace of the mojito, and La Floridita AKA the cradle of the daiquiri.