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Havana Essentials

  • Best time to visit Havana : January February February March April May July December.
  • Best Events in Havana : Festival of Golden Boleros of Havana (june), Carnival (July), Havana Theater Festival (August), International Ballet Festival and Lyric Art Festival (October)
  • Best beaches in Havana: Bacuranao, Tarará, Playa Mégano, Santa María del Mar, Boca Ciega, Guanabo, La Veneciana, Brisas del Mar, Jibacoa, Varadero

Best Bars in Havana by neighborhood

  • Bars in Habana Vieja : Floridita, Cafe O’reilly, Café Paris, Casa Agua del Tinaja, Casa de las infusiones, Ruinas del Parque, Cafe el Escorial
  • Bars in El Vedado : Bar Bohemio, Casa de la Amistad, Encuentro, Fresa y Chocolate, Madrigal, Magic Flute, Up & Down
  • Bars in Miramar : Kpricho Bar

Best Salsa Bar in Havana by Neighborhood

  • Habana Vieja South: Casa de la Cultura de la Habana Vieja
  • Centro Habana: Casa de la Trova, Gran Teatro de la Habana, Peña de la Rumba Callejón de Hamel, Teatro America
  • Vedado: Parisian Cabaret, Tropicana

Best Clubs in Havana

  • Habana Vieja : Home Museum
  • Vedado : Turquino Cabaret, Centro Cultural Bertolt Bercht, Fábrica de arte Cubano, Gato Tuerto, Cofee Jazz, King Bar, Salon Rojo, Yellow Submarine, La Zorra y el Cuervo
  • Miramar : Casú de la Musica de Miramar, Don Cangrejo, El Diablo Tuntun, El Sauce, Espacios, Opera de la calle, Sangri-la

Located on the northwest coast of the island, Havana is by extension one of the sixteen Cuban provinces, often associated with the province of Mayabeque. On the program: history, culture, gastronomy, music and much more! Havana has everything to please! When you leave the city, you can also easily refresh yourself on one of the many beaches east of the capital.

Things to do in Havana

The Capitol

It’s the border between Central Havana and Old Havana. That building that was intended in the 1920s to resemble Washington’s Capitol, St. Peter’s Square in Rome and the Pantheon in Paris.

It was finally built to house the Cuban Senate, although it is now the Ministry of Science and Culture as well as the Academy of Sciences.

It is still in a continuous restoration.

Old Havana is changing, and the most emblematic buildings are being restored, some are being converted into luxury hotels, capitalism is entering the heart of the Revolution.

Right in front of the Capitol are the cars of the 50’s, Americans, symbol of the city and the country.

They are the predominant cars, Americans from the time of Batista’s dictatorship.

Now many are completely rebuilt, with a brightness that gives light to the streets of Havana.

Obviously it is the tourists who enjoy the walks around the city, nothing cheap by the way.

Alicia Alonso National Ballet of Cuba

It is perhaps the most spectacular building in the city, in the neo-baroque style, full of stone statues.

More typical of the buildings you see on the other side of the pond.

It was opened in 1834, almost two hundred years later it dazzles the beginning of the Paseo del Prado.

La Habana Cuba @jotaciambottiPin
La Habana Cuba @jotaciambotti

The current name is due to the famous Cuban dancer Alicia Alonso, currently director of the National Ballet.

Despite her age, she continues to be recognized throughout the world.

We never get to go in to see a show, but I think it’s really worth it.

Hotel Inglaterra

Together with the National Ballet of Cuba, it stands out for its cleanliness and architecture.

It stands out even more next to the rest of the buildings.

It’s probably one of the most expensive hotels in the city along with the Hotel Nacional or the Habana Libre in Vedado.

Paseo del Prado

Yes, it has the same name as the Paseo de Madrid, and to some extent it reminds you of it.

Its central promenade, full of vigilant lion sculptures, allows you to look to both sides and enjoy some incredible, impressive, yet decadent buildings.

If Havana maintained a state of conservation like European cities, for my taste, it would be the most beautiful city in the world, much more than St. Petersburg.

I love it as it is, but it’s a pity to see some real architectural gems in ruins.

Habaguanex has existed since 1994.

It is a project of Eusebio Leal Spengler that aims to reinvest the money raised by tourism in the rehabilitation of the historical center of Havana and in social projects for its inhabitants.

It is financed through the company’s restaurants, hotels and museums.

The good thing about it is that it does not intend to turn Old Havana into a tourist attraction park, but to revert it to the citizens who live there every day.

In this way, the recovered buildings are used as geriatrics, schools, care centers for the disabled, etc.

Museum of the Revolution

This is an essential visit to understand Cuba today, its past and perhaps the nearest future.

It can be divided into two parts.

First there is an exhibition about the history of the building.

Building of the Government in the time of Batista.

Museo De La Revolucion La Habana Cuba @vinales galleryPin
Museo De La Revolucion La Habana Cuba @vinales gallery

Then it talks about the Revolution.

There are models, photos, posters about the Revolution, how it began, the motives, what was there before, what was sought and what was achieved.

It seems obvious that to some extent there is propaganda.

But knowing how to draw straws, you’ll understand many things.

Why there is a trade blockade, who and what was the reason for the blockade.

On the outside, in the adjacent park is the ship Granma, with which Fidel arrived in Cuba from Mexico.

Obispo Street

Obispo Street is the street that takes you from La Floridita to La Plaza de Armas, a street made for tourists, but which lets you get lost in its transversals.

Calle Obispo La Habana Cuba @lowPin
Calle Obispo La Habana Cuba @low

Plaza de Armas

This is the oldest square in Havana. It was built almost after the foundation of the city. Right next to it is the Castillo de la Real Fuerza.

Plaza De Armas La Habana Cuba @ditaPin
Plaza De Armas La Habana Cuba @dita

Because it was so close, military maneuvers were held there.

If we talk about colonialism and the 16th century and look at the Plaza de Armas, we will realize that we are in Cuba, that it was a colony and that in some way, Cuba’s past is very much linked to the Spanish past.

This square is now a quite interesting second-hand book market, as well as cheap.

Castillo de la Real Fuerza

This was one of the places that surprised me the most. It’s one of the oldest fortresses in the entire American continent. It’s right next to the Malecon, and the views from above are beautiful.

It now houses the Museum of Navigation, and this was the part that surprised me the most and I liked it.

Castillo De La Real Fuerza La Habana Cuba @carnotevePin
Castillo De La Real Fuerza La Habana Cuba @carnoteve

It tells the story of how important Havana was in trade with Europe, more so with the transportation of gold and silver.

The ships came from Mexico to Havana and from there they were escorted to Spain, usually Seville, to avoid attacks by English pirates and the English navy.

Havana was chosen as one of the most important shipyards of the Spanish empire, and the largest ship of its time, the Santísima Trinidad Galleon, was built there.

It was used to transport goods between Mexico and the Philippines. This ship ended up in the hands of the English. There is a model of an impressive size inside the museum.

You can see what the interiors of the ship looked like, and what each of its floors were used for. A real gem.

It also contains the Spanish treasures of shipwrecks off the Cuban coast. It is impressive to see the amount of silver and gold, the coins, jewels and ingots.

It is possible that this treasure represents a very small amount compared to what had to be there.

La Bodeguita del Medio

La Bodeguita del Medio has become so touristy that it has lost a certain charm.

We did and we enjoyed an empty place of tourists and we could talk to the waiters.

Full of pictures and walls written in pen remembering who has been there, it is the trace of the past and present.

Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Neruda or Nicolás Guillén passed by this little winery.

It is famous for its mojito, Hemingway has already written on the walls, “My mojito in the Bodeguita, my Daiquiri in La Floridita”.

La Floridita (at the beginning of Obispo Street) is credited with the invention of this cocktail, Daiquiri.

San Cristóbal Cathedral

In another typically colonial square, with a different tower from the other makes this cathedral somewhat different from the rest of colonial cathedrals.

In the surroundings there are old women dressed in white or bright colors smoking big cigars, very photogenic, for a dollar, they will let themselves be photographed with you.

Mercaderes Street

This street is born in Obispo and dies in front of the Plaza Vieja. It is another of the most well cared for and recently rehabilitated streets. You will notice the difference when you walk around and get lost in old Havana.

Plaza Vieja

It’s called Plaza Vieja and yet it seems to be the newest of all. Its origins are also from the 16th century. It was created shortly after the city was founded and has undergone changes, many changes.

Nowadays, buildings with Noucentista stained glass windows, which are said to be inspired by Gaudí, coexist with Baroque buildings.

It is full of terraces and restaurants, as well as strange sculptures and a very striking fountain.

On San Ignacio Street, which leads to the Plaza Vieja, is one of the most impressive baroque buildings in the city, and the best thing is to go up in its 100 year old elevator to the terrace, free of charge, and enjoy beautiful views of the city.

Calle de los Oficios

Calle de los Oficios was also born in Obispo Street, and died in the Havana Chamber of Commerce, opposite the convent of San Francisco de Asís, in the square of the same name.

This street is curious, because here is the only mosque in the city, recently built, 2012 I think I remember.

There is also the Arab house. This street is even better preserved than Mercaderes Street. The buildings have a strong colonial imprint.

San Francisco de Asís Square

This square and its convent make you imagine what colonial Havana was like in the 16th century. It is to feel the light of the square, on the different buildings that compose it.

Watching the balconies, as if you were in a movie of that time.

La Habana Cuba @PicsbyjairoPin
La Habana Cuba @Picsbyjairo

The Malecón

The Malecón is present in Old Havana, Central Havana and El Vedado. It’s part of the daily life of Cubans, their little sip of rum packaged in tetra brik (no kidding), their guitars. Some fishermen in search of a good catch. It’s a very pleasant walk.

The music and atmosphere starts at night, although it doesn’t stop being alive at any time of the day.

The Malecón is also the place for jineteros, characters who come to you trying to sell you something, be it rum, cigars, taking you to a bar, etc.

Avoid them, you will end up buying a rum that is not rum, cigars that are not cigars either, and if you go to a bar, you will pay a bill as if you were partying in Oslo.

Come to those who are singing, if you feel like it, and enjoy the Malecón.

I’d like to give some advice here.

Camera and bag robberies happen on the Malecón.

They usually happen when someone grabs the bag or the camera with force and runs away.

It gets lost in the alleys and goes from hand to hand, you’ll never see it again.

Maybe they show up on a motorbike and pull the bag, just like before, you’ll never see it again.

Cubans tell you to be careful, not to let your bag or your camera be seen.

In the buildings in front of the Malecón, they say, they usually keep an eye out for lonely or absent-minded tourists.

When they see an easy prey, they warn their buddies who are hanging around on the Malecón.

So, go to the Malecón and have fun, but better if you leave your camera and bag at home, especially if it’s nighttime.

How to get to Havana ?

Flights to Havana

Most airlines are located on the Rampa in the Vedado district.

AEROCARRIBEAN

  • Calle 23 n° 64, corner of Infanta
  • +53 7 879 7524

AEROPUERTO INTERNACIONAL JOSÉ MARTÍ

+53 7 266 4644 / +53 7 266 4094 /+53 7 266 1133 (flight information)

About ten miles south of Havana.

Good to know: since May 1, 2015, you no longer have to pay the 25 CUC tax at the airport before your return flight, this tax is now included in the price of the plane ticket.

how to get from havana airport to city center ?

From Jose Marti airport, several means of transport can be used to get to the city centre:

Getting from havana airport to city center By bus

There are two routes from the airport to the city centre: from Avenida de Boyeros (Avenida de la Independencia) to the University; from Avenida de Boyeros to Ciudad Deportiva, then Calle 26 and Calle 23.

A bus line mainly used by Cubans provides the connection.

It is paid in national currency, 40 centavos of national pesos, and the journey is not direct.

Take the connecting bus between Terminal 3 and Terminal 1 (domestic flights).

At terminal 1, ask for the omnibus that leads to Plaza de la Revolución.

The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours.

Getting from havana airport to city center By Taxi

By taxi, you will have access to public taxis, yellow cars with the inscription Cubataxi.

Allow 25 CUC to reach the Vedado district or the historic centre, the Habana Vieja.

You can also take private taxis, now legal since Raúl Castro’s 2011 laws.

Ask to see the driver’s license and negotiate, you can easily reach up to 15 CUC the way, while with the taxis of Cubataxi you will not have the choice, because it is a fare imposed by the company that belongs to the state.

Good To Know : all official taxis have blue license plates.

Getting from havana airport to city center by rental Car

By rental car, go directly to the counters of the different agencies represented at the airport.

It is recommended to book before departure.

AIR EUROPA

  • Centro de negocios de Miramar
  • Calle 23 n° 64 – Between Infanta and P.Vedado
  • +53 7 204 6904 – www.aireuropa.com
  • [email protected]
  • Open from Monday to Friday, from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday from 9 am to noon.
  • One daily flight to Madrid.

AIR FRANCE

  • Between Infanta and Calle P. Vedado
  • Calle 23, n° 64 +53 7 833 2642
  • www.airfrance.com
  • Open Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • One daily flight to Paris from José Martí airport.
  • Duration of the flight: from 8:55 to 9:50.

CUBANA DEAVIACIÓN

  • At the corner of Infanta and the Rampa
  • Calle 23, n° 64 – Vedado
  • +53 7 834 4446

IBERIA

  • Between Calle 76 and Calle 78 – 5ta Avenida
  • Centro de negocios de Miramar, edificio Santiago de Cuba (ground floor)
  • +53 7 204 3444 – www.iberia.com
  • Open from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm.
  • One daily flight to Madrid from José Martí Airport.

Get to Havana by Train

The timetables are unreliable and the journeys are really much longer than with the Víazul buses.

You might as well be warned, don’t have any illusions and Cubans will tell you themselves: the train is the worst means of transport in Cuba.

Electricity failures, train breakdowns, crowded wagons and cockroaches as surprise guests…

You will be entitled to almost anything! The only positive point: it is the opportunity to meet Cubans.

Two types of trains run on the entire railway network.

The tren francés, the fastest, the least uncomfortable (air conditioning, reclining seats) and the most expensive of the trains.

It was sold by the SNCF in Cuba, hence the name “French train”, but it is an old train; nothing like our TGVs.

Also remember to bring water and food, as there is nothing for that on the train.

Another possibility, the so-called regular trains, even slower (this is really a priesthood) and that we advise against.

havana cubaPin
Havana Transportation : How to Get around in la Habana – Photo © Tristan Quevilly

Train Station (Estación Central de Ferrocarriles)

  • Avenida Belgica, corner of Arsenal, Habana Vieja +53 7 861 2959
  • Box office open from 8:30 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday, Saturday from 8:30 am to 11 am, closed on Sunday.
  • It’s the main train station.
  • Reservation and purchase of tickets for tourists at the La Coubre train station, Calle Egido, a stone’s throw from the central station.

Towards Sancti Spírítus: departure every other day on a regular basis.

  • Count 13.50 CUC and about 9 hours of travel time.

To Santiago de Cuba: departure every 3 days with the tren francés (air-conditioned cars and comfortable seats).

Count 62 CUC and about 12 hours of travel time.

Stops in Santa Clara and Guantanámo.

With the regular train, daily departure at 8:30 pm.

The journey takes 14 hours and costs 30 CUC.

Stops in Cacocúm (Holguín).

Towards Bayamo: departure every other day by regular train.

Count 25.50 CUC and about 15 hours of travel time.

On Mondays, the train with a departure at 18:45 goes to Manzanillo for 27.50 CUC.

ESTACIÓN DE CRISTINA

  • Opposite the Mercado Unico, Centro Habana
  • Avenida de Mexico No. 7

The station serves Playas del Este. Terminus in Guanabo

Arriving by Bus to Havana

Víazul is the national bus company that tourists can use.

The Ministry of Transport decided in 2008 that the Astro company could no longer be used by foreigners for their comfort .

but they are buses with correct comfort and they are above all much cheaper than the Víazul company’s buses.

For a small extra tip you can try your luck and get a seat.

Compared to Víazul’s prices, you will be a winner when you travel with Astro, even with a small tip.

However, since Víazul’s fares are still very cheap for tourists, the Astro bus solution is only worthwhile if you really have a very small budget.

There is also another company reserved for tourists, Transtur, whose prices are harmonized with those of Víazul but whose tickets can only be booked through local travel agencies.

Only Víazul is represented in the bus stations, but not Transtur, which usually departs from a specific point in the city (address given at the time of booking).

The services are the same, and the agencies will offer you either one of these two companies, depending on the timetable you are looking for.

The buses are comfortable and generally punctual.

It is advisable to buy your ticket at the latest the day before during the holiday season, so that you don’t end up on the road…

You should also be aware that you will need to arrive at the station at least 30 minutes in advance to check in your luggage, which is also a way of confirming your seat…

If you don’t stop 30 minutes beforehand, your seat is usually sold to people on the waiting list at lightning speed!

Important 

since 2015, it is now mandatory to show your passport when you buy your Viazul bus ticket; your first and last names are then scrupulously registered on a passenger list.

Without a passport, any sale of bus tickets will be categorically refused.

VÍAZUL ESTACIÓN DE AUTOBÚS

  • At the corner of Av. Zoológico, Nuevo Vedado
  • Avenida 26 1152
  • +53 7 881 1108 / +53 7 881 5652
  • www.viazul.com
  • [email protected]
  • The Víazul company serves most of the major cities and sites in the country.

Tickets can be purchased on the spot one hour before departure or in travel agencies.

Bus from Havana to Santiago de Cuba

3 daily departures to Santiago de Cuba

  • 00:30 am, 6:30 am, 3 pm.
  • 51 CUC for a one-way ticket.
  • Duration: 16 hours during the day and 13 hours at night.
  • Stops in Santa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Avila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Holguín and Bayamo.

Bus from Havana to Camagüey

  • Allow 16 hours
  • 35 CUC.

Bus from Havana to Varadero

  • 4 daily connections to Varadero
  • 6h, 8h, 13h and 17h30.
  • Count 10 CUC one way.
  • Duration: 3 hours.
  • Stop in Matanzas.

Bus from Havana to Varadero to Viñales

  • 3 daily connections to Viñales
  • 8h40, 14h and 11h25.
  • Allow 12 CUC for a one-way ticket.
  • Duration: 3 hours 15.
  • Stop in Pinar del Río.

Bus from Havana to Cienfuegos and Trinidad

  • 2 daily departures to Cienfuegos and Trinidad
  • 7h, 10h45 and 14h15.
  • Count 20 CUC for Cienfuegos and 25 CUC for Trinidad, for a one-way ticket.
  • Duration: 5 hours 35 for Trinidad.

Getting to Havana by Boat

MUELLE DE LUZ

Between San Pedro and Santa Clara

Habana Vieja

From this “Quay of Light”, ferries depart for the other side of Havana Bay to Casa Blanca (from there the train from Hershey to Matanzas departs 3 times a day at 6:11, 12:27 and 17:51) and Regla.

Every 20 minutes from 4:30 am to 11:30 pm for one Cuban peso.

Where to Stay in Havana

If you want to visit Havana, the Accomodation will make or break your stay. Though there are somes things to consider before choosing the best place to stay in Havana.

Here is the thing :

Havana developed from east to west.

The architecture therefore evolves significantly along the way, reflecting different periods and styles.

Habana Vieja north

Endowed with a very rich history, the old city, the entire Habana Vieja, has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982.

It is home to countless monuments and buildings from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

A considerable effort has been undertaken to restore the entire area and is continuing unabated.

It will therefore be particularly enjoyable for you to wander the streets of Habana Vieja, discover its superb monuments and visit its museums.

You will not stop admiring the beauty of its buildings and your digital camera may be saturated from the very first hours of your visit, because you will want to take pictures of everything! The northern part of Habana Vieja (Old Havana) stretches from the port where the Castillo del Morro fortress stands guard to the north of the bay to the picturesque Plaza de la Catedral and Plaza de Armas further south.

On its western slope, this area is bounded by the mythical Museum of the Revolution, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Granma Memorial.

La Habana Vieja south

The south of Old Havana is bounded by the Plaza de San Francisco de Asís and the Plaza Vieja to the north, by the Central Station to the south and by the Zulueta Avenue to the west.

As in the northern part of Habana Vieja, there is no lack of monuments and museums.

This area, however, concentrates a greater number of churches and convents, which are a reminder of the importance of the religious power that was omnipresent for several centuries in Havana.

It is also in this neighborhood that the illustrious Cuban historical figure José Martí was born; one can visit his birth house which has been turned into a museum.

Another national monument is the Havana Club Rum, whose headquarters are based in the Museo del Ron Havana Club.

You will enjoy discovering this museum if only for the tasting of old rum that closes the visit.

Centro Habana

The delimitation of this district is not always well defined, but it is accepted that Centro Habana includes everything west of the old walls, as far as Infanta Street, the border with the Vedado district.

To the north, it can be considered to extend as far as the Malecón and to the south as far as the train station.

This neighborhood is an essential stop for all those who want to immerse themselves in the daily life and realities of the Habaneros.

Superb colonial buildings, mostly decayed, welcome the most popular families.

Few tourist sites in itself, except for the Chino barrio, which is only Chinese by name (apart from its arch and its few Chinese restaurants), and the Malecón, a famous waterfront running 8 km along the north of the city.

El Vedado

The Vedado was a neighborhood of well-to-do families in Havana at the beginning of the revolution and is now a modern district of Havana.

It is essentially residential, although there is a lot of activity, day and night.

Calle 23, also known as the Rampa, has become one of the most lively avenues in the capital: bars, cabarets and nightclubs abound.

The urban plan of the Vedado, designed in a checkerboard pattern and articulated around vast orthogonal arteries, is directly inspired by the North American model.

The Vedado’s openness to the ocean and the Malecón, which runs for several kilometres along its northern edge, gives the Vedado more perspective and ventilation.

Further south, beyond Calzada de Zapata, is the “Nuevo Vedado” where many of Havana’s monuments and museums are concentrated, including the Plaza de la Revolución, the José Martí Memorial and the Colón Cemetery.

From the Vedado, it is very easy to reach Old Havana, which is only 5 km along the Malecón.

The casas particulares are legion there, especially in front of the university or on Calle 21 between Calle J and Calle O.

Miramar

The Miramar is the most posh neighbourhood in Havana and therefore in Cuba.

It is characteristic of the period of the neocolonial republic (1902-1958).

As for the Vedado, the architecture of its streets is very close to that of the streets of North America, because they all intersect at right angles and are not named but numbered.

The embassies and residences there make it a very chic area outside the downtown core.

Geographically, the Miramar is bordered to the east by the Almendares River, to the west by the Palacio de Congresos and to the north by the coast.

To the south, the Miramar is more or less bordered by Avenida 7ma and Avenida 19.

As far as rooms in the Miramar are concerned, the prices are the highest in the whole island, although this area is mainly residential: count 35 CUC minimum.

Not to mention the large taxi budget you will need to get to the centre of Havana.

You won’t find any local shops either.

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Organized Tours in Havana & Surroundings

You can go on wonderful organized excursions in the city or in the surroundings. Among others:

One day excursion in Havana

Tour of the Alamar housing plan. Visit to the Castle of the Three Kings of the Morro. Tour of Colonial Havana. Visit to La Mina bar. Free time. Lunch. Visit to Modern Havana.

Panoramic walk through the city

Visit to the main streets, museums and monuments of the historical center of the city. Visit to the Revolution Square and the Colon Cemetery.

Cuban Party

Departure to Guanabito Farm. The day will consist of a walk through the plantations, a cow milking competition, a cockfight, horseback riding, a Creole party and a meal of roast pork.

Guamá

Boat trip to Laguna del Tesoro, visit to the pottery workshop, lunch in the tourist area and visits to Playa Larga and the crocodile farm.

Varadero

On arrival, free time to enjoy the beach. Lunch and tour of the city.

Marina Hemingway

About 20 minutes from Havana. It is an ideal place to moor the yachts. Every year two important tournaments are held, in May and June: the International Tournament of Fishing of the Needle “Ernest Hemingway” and in August and September: the Tournament of the Castero. It is a very well equipped tourist centre.

Cayo Largo

It can be reached by plane. Upon arrival, a boat trip is made to Playa Sirena, followed by lunch and free time to enjoy the beach.

Best time to Visit Havana

The best time to travel to the Havana region of Cuba is from January to December, where you have a pleasant climate for hot weather and just a little rainfall.

Before you buy your ticket, remember that the country suffers from hurricanes and cyclones, whose season is from June to November.

The average maximum temperature in Havana is 33°C in July and 26°C in January.

Havana’s weather and climate are suitable for a sunny vacation.

Havana’s average climate figure is 9.0. This is based on several factors, such as average temperatures, possibilities of precipitation and the climatic experiences of others.

Havana has the tropical climate of the savannah. It is hot every month, both in the dry and wet seasons.

Average temperature and average rainfall in Havana or the periods when more rain or snow falls, here is all the information so you can be well prepared! Our monthly averages of climate statistics are based on data from the last 10 years.

Holidays in Havana

  • 1 January Commemoration of the Triumph of the Revolution.
  • May 1st Workers’ Day.
  • 26 July: National Day of Rebellion.
  • October 10 Commemoration of the beginning of the Wars of Independence
  • November 16 Anniversary of the Foundation of San Cristóbal de la Habana
  • For other holidays, please refer to the country profile.

Havana Weather & climate

Havana weather is an equatorial climate (Af) according to the Köppen-Geiger classification. 

Havana is a city with high rainfall. Even in the driest month there is a lot of rain. 

Over the year, the average temperature in Havana is 25°C and the average rainfall is 1248.6 mm.

Havana is not one of those destinations to enjoy all year round without worrying about details.

The city is always hot, yes, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about the date of the trip.

Culturally speaking, the city is great all year round, with events like the International Jazz Festival and the International Festival del Cine Pobre.

The high season goes from November to March, when the weather is drier, there are many tourists and consequently higher prices.

July and August are also considered months of high season because of the Northern Hemisphere holidays and, despite the risk of hurricanes, the city is full.

June, September and October are the months when there is the most rain, so avoid visiting the country during these months.

If you travel during this time, keep in mind that the weather may not help the trip’s success.

April and May are good months to travel to the city.

With the exception of Easter week, prices are affordable and the period is not considered high season.

May is a cheap month, and it is also quite hot. In high season periods, especially during Christmas, New Year, Easter and July, make your hotel reservations in advance.

Summer is a time of very high temperatures, with an average of 27ºC. In winter, the average is 23ºC (73ºF); although it is not so cold in winter, it is worth taking a coat for the coolest nights.

Havana climate every month

The region of Havana has a tropical savanna climate. The average annual temperature in Havana is 30° and the average annual precipitation is 620 mm. It does not rain for 138 days per year, the average humidity is 76% and the UV index is 7.

 EneFebMarAbrMayJunJulAgoSepOctNovDic
Day26°C27°C28°C31°C31°C32°C33°C33°C32°C30°C28°C27°C
Night18°C19°C20°C22°C23°C24°C25°C25°C24°C23°C21°C20°C
Rain26
mm
26
mm
13
mm
37
mm
62
mm
72
mm
69
mm
89
mm
96
mm
82
mm
31
mm
17
mm
Raining Days1199121822212525211410
Dry days201922181381065101621
Sun Hours / day789911111299766
Wind Strenght (Bft)222222222232
Índice UV566777777766

Havana Weather in January

The average maximum is 26° during January in Havana and the minimum is around 18°.

In January it rains for 11 days a total of 26 mm and during this month there are 20 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in February

The maximum average is 27° during February in Havana and the minimum is around 19°.

In February it rains for 9 days a total of 26 mm and during this month there are 19 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in March

The average maximum is 28° during March in Havana and the minimum is around 20°.

In March it rains for 9 days a total of 13 mm and during this month there are 22 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in April

The average maximum is 31° during April in Havana and the minimum is around 22°.

In April it rains for 12 days a total of 37 mm and during this month there are 18 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in May

The maximum average is 31° during May in Havana and the minimum is around 23°.

In May it rains for 18 days a total of 62 mm and during this month there are 13 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in June

The average maximum is 32° during June in Havana and the minimum is around 24°.

In June it rains for 22 days a total of 72 mm and during this month there are 8 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in July

The average maximum is 33° during July in Havana and the minimum is around 25°.

In July it rains for 21 days a total of 69 mm and during this month there are 10 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in August

The average maximum is 33° during August in Havana and the minimum is around 25°.

In August it rains for 25 days a total of 89 mm and during this month there are 6 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in September

The average maximum is 32° during September in Havana and the minimum is around 24°.

In September it rains for 25 days a total of 96 mm and during this month there are 5 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in October

The average maximum is 30° during October in Havana and the minimum is around 23°.

In October it rains for 21 days a total of 82 mm and during this month there are 10 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in November

The average maximum is 28° during November in Havana and the minimum is around 21°.

In November it rains for 14 days a total of 31 mm and during this month there are 16 dry days in Havana.

Havana Weather in December

The average maximum is 27° during December in Havana and the minimum is around 20°.

In December it rains for 10 days a total of 17 mm and during this month there are 21 dry days in Havana.

Pro Tip

For precise weather information on every city in Colombia we recommend the WeatherSpark website which is very detailed.

How to get around In Havana

Bicitaxi

Count between 1 and 4 CUC depending on the race and the distance covered.

With the terrible economic crisis of the 1990s and the shortage of fuel, Cubans have brought back bicycles…

Authorized by the State, these two-seater bicycle taxis, distant cousins of the Indian risckshaw, criss-cross the streets of the capital.

BICITAXI YOANDRY

  • Calle Lealtad n°16
  • Between Animas y Virtudes
  • +53 7 866 6133
  • Yoandry is a spirited young man who knows Centro Habana like the back of his hand.

Contact him if you want to discover this neighborhood locally.

However, you should know that he only speaks Spanish.

BICITAXI ALEXEI

  • +53 5 236 6593
  • 5 CUC every 30 minutes, 10 CUC per hour.

Alexei knows La Habana Vieja very well and proposes to make you discover it according to a circuit of 30 minutes or one hour.

Dynamic, he also has a small hi-fi system integrated in his bicitaxi, a good way to listen to the latest salsa hits between two visits.

havana cubaPin
Havana Transportation : How to Get around in la Habana

Cocotaxi in Havana

Resolutely original, these motorized tricycles have a rounded yellow shell, the shape of which reminds one of a coconut.

They circulate from 7:30 a.m. to midnight.

Two seats in the back and the driver who is active in front like a handsome devil.

Count from 5 to 6 CUC to connect the end of Habana Vieja to the Vedado.

There are several stations, in front of the Capitolio, in front of Coppelia in the Vedado, around the Cathedral Square.

Official taxis in Havana

All vehicles are equipped with meters.

You can’t be fooled, and the taxis are usually honest.

They park close to main roads, hotels, tourist centres and airports.

As an example, allow 5 CUC for a trip Vedado-Habana Vieja and 20 CUC to reach the Playas del Este.

Cuba Travel GuidePin
Havana Transportation : How to Get around in la Habana

Private and Individual Taxi

With the massive development of self-employment following Raúl Castro’s reforms in 2010 to boost the Cuban economy, it is now possible for any citizen with a driver’s license and a vehicle to become a private driver.

Or a taxi driver on his own account! They have to pass a specific (but relatively easy) exam and then they are issued a license that they have to display in their car.

Normally, the vehicle is safe because it has been checked beforehand by the relevant authorities.

However, take a look inside the vehicle before boarding and check that it is not too dilapidated.

The advantage of private taxis is that they are often much cheaper than official taxis and you can negotiate the fare much more easily beforehand.

This is an opportunity to ride in old cars that can be superb, like some American models, but also more dilapidated like many Russian vehicles less glamorous (and sometimes less reassuring too).

Illegal taxi

In these taxis, no license and even less meter. On the other hand, you will find a fire bomb in case… The police have the right to arrest and punish them.

As a tourist, you risk nothing except being forced to get out and take another taxi.

To avoid confusion when paying, always ask the price of the journey you want to take before you get in.

However, since it has become possible to become an official self-employed taxi driver, illegal taxis are tending to disappear, as most private drivers prefer to have an official licence and work legally to avoid problems with the authorities.

However, since they have to pay a licence fee to the state, some continue to take clandestine taxis to make more money or simply because they cannot afford to pay for the official examination required to obtain the licence.

To find out if you are dealing with a legal private driver, check if he has a license plate that says “Taxi” and ask him for his official license nicely so as not to rob him.

CUBA TAXI

  • +53 7 855 5555 / +53 7 855 5556
  • Official taxis.
  • 24 hours a day.
  • Count 4 to 7 CUC per drive in Havana.

Rent Bicycle in Havana

Hotel receptionists, owners of special casas and the Infotur tourist office will be able to give you direct information about possible rentals.

Generally count 3 to 4 CUC per day.

Be careful however when you park your bike! An anti-theft device is not enough because thieves in Havana are very well equipped and your steed would disappear in less than two minutes.

In fact, you must take care to park your bike in parking lots specially designed for this purpose, where a security guard is systematically watching.

These parking areas are generally found near major roads, but ask the locals if you can’t find them.

You then only have to pay the guard 0.25 CUC to watch your bike.

This is the only way to avoid having your two-wheeler stolen, which also avoids having to reimburse the full price to the rental company…

Renting a Car in Havana

The rental system remains relatively expensive in Cuba. Count between 55 and 100 CUC per day, depending on the model you choose. For gasoline, the same price is displayed on all pumps in the country.
If you are looking for an agency, do not hesitate to go to the lobby of any major hotel in the city.

Prices are the same everywhere, because Transtur, the government company, manages all the rental agencies on the island.

Three branches of Transtur manage three different categories of cars: economical for Cubacar, more spacious for Havanautos, and more luxurious for Rex.

In terms of infrastructure, you will have no problem to drive around Havana. The roads are of good quality and the signage is relatively good. The Cubans will often propose to watch your car for the night for 1 or 2 CUC. Do not hesitate to accept to protect yourself from theft or damage.

At the time of recovering your car, take your driver’s license, your bank card and your passport with you.

Good to know: if you can’t negotiate prices in Havana, it is possible to do so in other cities of the island, less frequented by tourists.

CUBACAR

  • +53 7 835 0000 / +53 7 273 2277

Cubacar offers the most affordable prices: Korean cars, Kia or Hyundai.

HAVANAUTOS

This is the intermediate category with brands like Toyota or Nissan Samsung.

REX

  • José Martí Airport
  • +53 7 642 6074 / +53 7 683 0303
  • www.rex-rentacar.com
  • Offices accessible at José Martí airport in terminals 2 and 3.

Rex only offers large luxury sedans: Seat, Audi, Skoda, BMW… Price accordingly and driver rental possible.

Jose Marti Airport

Havana airport, named José Martí airport in honor of the famous Cuban independence fighter, is located 15 km from the city center.

The airport is organized into 4 terminals, of which the 3rd is the largest.

You will find at Havana airport ATMs and currency exchange offices.

Internet access (for a fee) and public telephones are also available.

The airport has 2,000 parking spaces spread over 3 terminals and modest duty free shops for last minute shopping. Be careful, thieves are rampant in Havana airport. (We still haven’t mourned the loss of our camera!!!).

Keep your belongings (very) close to you and don’t let them out of your sight.

Getting to the center / beaches of Havana from the airport

Taxis are available at the airport exit.

To get to the center of the city, the trip will cost you between 20 and 25 CUC for 20 to 30 minutes in a cab.

To make your arrival in Cuba as smooth as possible, you can also book your transfer right now. This is where it happens!

Administrative formalities upon arrival

Upon arrival at the Havana airport, you will of course have to go through customs.

There, the customs officers will make sure that you have completed the necessary administrative formalities to enter the country (tourist card and insurance).

Since Cubans like to take their time (that’s an understatement!), the passage through customs can be a little long.

Administrative formalities at departure

When you leave the country, you will have to go through customs again at Havana airport, where customs officers will make sure that you have not exceeded the legal quantities of cigars and rum that tourists are allowed to bring back from Cuba.

Events in Havana

Events in January

  • January 1st: At midnight on December 31st, the triumph of the revolution is celebrated.
  • 7 January to 4 February: Winter ballet festival called Pro Danza Center.
  • January 8th to 19th: Cubadanza, winter Cuban dance festival, at the Contemporary Dance Company.
  • January 28th. Anniversary of Jose Marti.

Events in February

  • International Book Fair at Fuerte de San Carlos de la Cabaña.
  • February 24th. Anniversary of the attack on the presidential palace.
  • Festival Del Habano

Events in March

  • Havana Biennial

Events in April

  • April 19th. Bay of Pigs Victory Celebration.
  • La Huella de España, Spanish dance festival, in several places and organized by the Spanish Embassy.

Events in May

  • May: the International Festival of Guitar of Havana takes place in several places of the city of Havana.
  • May 1st: Fiesta del Trabajo, includes a popular parade in the Plaza de la Revolución, with a speech by Fidel Castro or some of his collaborators.
  • May Cubadisco

Events in June

  • Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament

Events in July

  • July 25th, 26th and 27th. The attack on the Moncada Barracks is commemorated with a political speech and a musical and dance show in the evening.
  • Havana Carnival, mid July-mid August, all over the city.
  • Cuballet de Verano, summer ballet festival, at Pro Danza Centre.
  • Cubadanza, summer Cuban dance festival, at the Contemporary Dance Company.

Events in September

  • Havana Theater Festival

Events in October

  • Festival of Contemporary Music of Havana, in UNEAC and other places of the city.
  • Latin American and Caribbean Music Meeting, at Casa de Las Américas.
  • Oct 10th Commemoration of the beginning of the first war of independence
  • Havana International Ballet Festival, at Gran Teatro Internacional

Events in November

  • Marathon Maracuba Marhabana
  • Havana International Fair
  • Celebrations for the Foundation of the City
  • Havana Contemporary Music Festival

Events in December

  • Festival of the New Latin American Cinema, in several theatres of the city.
  • International Crafts Fair
  • International Jazz Festival, at the Casa de la Cultura de Plaza, La Zorra y el Cuervo, Jazz Caffé, and other venues of the city.

Best places to Dance Salsa in Havana (live Music & Shows)

Casas de la Cultura
Every neighborhood in Havana (and Cuba) has its house of culture, where artists and neighbors meet at weekends for parties, concerts, poetry readings, music and dance performances
Perfect for those who wish to experience the cultural vitality of Cuba
We mention only the most active one
For more information, check with your hotel, or with the owners of particular casas who will be able to direct you.

Casa de la Cultura de la Habana Vieja

  • Calle Aguiar No 509, between Amargura and Brasil
  • Tel : +53 7 863 4860
  • Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 6pm.

Certainly one of the most active casas de la cultura in the city. Old and young people from the neighbourhood compete in liveliness.

  • Noches del Bolero, the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.
  • Peña del Changüi and Peña del Danzón, on Wednesdays at 7 pm
  • Peña del Són, Thursday at 7 pm
  • Peña juvenil del Rap, at 4 pm, and Noche variada at 7 pm, on Fridays
  • Sábado afrocubano at 4pm, and peña Reggae at 7pm on Saturday.

Casa de la Trova

  • Calle San Lázaro No661 Between Padre Varela (Belascoain) and Gervasio
  • A stone’s throw from the peña de Yoya
  • Open from Thursday to Saturday, from 6pm to very late depending on the atmosphere.

Good concert hall, mainly for listening to sound

Excellent performances on Fridays in general.

Gran Teatro de la Habana

  • At the corner of Calle San Rafael Paseo de Martí
  • Tel : +53 7 861 3077
  • Box office open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday until 3pm
  • 20 CUC the entrance.

Built in 1833, it will see the greatest glories in the history of the show, including Caruso and Sarah Bernhardt

Prestigious companies, such as the Bolshoi, will also perform there

Home to the Cuban National Ballet, founded in 1948 by Alicia Alonso, the theatre also has several spaces for film and theatre

The spacious García Lorca Hall is the perfect venue for major ballet performances and symphony concerts, and is also the home of the National Ballet of Cuba, founded in 1948 by Alicia Alonso

It is a major centre of national culture and hosts the annual International Ballet Festival (first week of November)

Finally, note the excellent acoustics and original architecture.

Peña de la Rumba Callejón de Hamel

  • Callejón de Hamel
  • Between Aramburu and Hospital
  • Sundays from noon to 3:30.
  • Every Sunday, the callejón de Hamel comes alive to the sound of rumba, a dance that goes back to the slaves from Africa

It is an extremely popular festival, with dancers and musicians who devilishly link the sequences to the rhythm of the drums

A great atmosphere is guaranteed

It will also be an opportunity to discover the exceptional murals by Salvador Gonzàlez Escalona, whose work began in 1992

Drawing his inspiration from African culture and Santería, the artist stages the Yoruba cults, the Abakua sect, the Congo cult of Bantu origin and the Araras

The Callejón de Hamel, a space for community expression, has established itself as one of the most original artistic and alternative places in the city

If you are in Havana on a Sunday, we really recommend you to go to the callejón de Hamel, as it is a unique place, but beware of pickpockets, as they are legion on the spot despite the police presence.

Finally, note that it is in the neighbourhood that Angel Diaz founded the musical movement of the rope, which originated from the Spanish bolero.

Teatro America

  • Avenida Galiano, between Neptuno and Concordia
  • Tel : +53 7 862 541

It is a musical theatre of Cuban humour and folklore

The programming of the shows is announced on the radio and/or by posters on the doors of the theatre and, of course, spread by word of mouth.

Parisian Cabaret

  • Calle O and Calle 21 Vedado In the Hotel Nacional
  • Tel : +53 7 836 3663
  • www.hotelnacionaldecuba.com
  • [email protected]
  • Show every day from 10pm to 2am
  • Meals from 9pm for those who wish to dine on site
  • Entrance: 35 CUC or 60 CUC with dinner included.

Located within the walls of the Hotel Nacional, the Parisian Cabaret is a possible alternative to the Tropicana

Easier to access and much cheaper than its competitor, the show is no less good

Starting at midnight, dance teachers take to the stage and give a free collective class; the public is invited to join them on stage to compose a mini-choreography: atmosphere guaranteed until 2am.

It is recommended that you buy your tickets for the show directly at the Hotel Nacional rather than from a travel agency where it is always a little more expensive.

Tropicana

  • Línea del Ferrocarril and Calle 72, Marianao
  • Tel : +53 7 267 1717 / +53 7 267 0110
  • Shows every day from 10pm to 11.45am, music until 1am
  • Count from 70 to 90 CUC.

The Tropicana was once home to the high society of Havana and rich American businessmen

G. Cabrera Infante dedicates the first three pages of his novel Three Sad Tigers to this famous cabaret

The great figures of Cuban music played there: Perez Prado, the king of the mambo, Benny Moré, Rita Montaner, Bola de Nieve as well as the American Nat King Cole and the French Josephine Baker

Big shots from the North American mafia also haunted the place, at a time when Havana rhymed with gambling and prostitution

In 1959, the cabaret came under state control

Today, the troupe has 200 dancers performing on the open-air stage

Exceptional show, and big atmosphere guaranteed

Most hotels offer all-inclusive packages (transport, meals and shows).

Our advice for tight budgets: go instead to the Cabaret Parisien show, which is half the price, but just as impressive

The only real difference with the Tropicana is that the show is not outdoors, but indoors.

Best restaurants in Havana

Restaurant Van Van: for small budgets, this is an establishment that doesn’t look like much, but offers delicious local cuisine in a decor that is very popular with consumers.
– Restaurant La Guarida:
a famous and rather expensive gastronomic restaurant.
You won’t be disappointed by the quality of the service or the ingenuity of the dishes.
-La Mina in La Habana Vieja: with its nice terrace, this restaurant invites you to a delicious shady break on the Plaza de Armas.
– And more generally, head to the cafeterias frequented by locals, scattered by dozens throughout the city. If you’re not looking for great food but rather an authentic atmosphere at (very) low prices, this is definitely the right choice.

Frequently Ask Questions

What to Pack for Havana ?

Due to the predominant tropical climate, you should include in your luggage:
– Swimming suit and sandals
– Light clothing, especially in the summer
– Light colored clothes and cotton fabrics, flannels, shorts
– If you travel in the winter season, a Lightweight jackets or a wool sweater can be sufficient, mainly, for the nights; and closed shoes, but comfortable.
– Accessories such as sunglasses, hats and sunscreen.
– If you have indicated some medicine or specific health treatment, you should take it with you during the trip.

When are the Holidays in Havana ?

– 1 January Commemoration of the Triumph of the Revolution.
– May 1st Workers’ Day.
– 26 July: National Day of Rebellion.
– October 10 Commemoration of the beginning of the Wars of Independence
– November 16 Anniversary of the Foundation of San Cristóbal de la Habana
– For other holidays, please refer to our complete guide : Best Time to Visit Cuba

What is the Voltage in Havana ?

Note that it is 110/220 and 60 Hz frequency. Generally, plugs are flat-pinned, so you may need an adapter for certain electrical devices.

Where Can I buy Rum or Cigars in Havana ?

If you want to buy traditional products such as rum, coffee, tobacco and music, choose the specialized or authorized shops and establishments for their sale. That is the only way you can be sure of acquiring authentic quality merchandise. Never make this type of purchase in the street or from unknown people

Can I Drink Tap Water in Havana ?

Although tap water can be drunk, it is recommended that you buy bottled water.

How is the Weather in Havana ?

On average, the hottest months in Havana are April, May, June, July, August, September and October.
The rainiest months in this city are May, June, July, August and September.
The most favorable months for swimming in Havana are April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November

How Many days should I stay in Havana ?

We can only advise you to take the time to discover this city of crazy charm. 3 days would be a minimum.

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