The exotic capital of Cuba and largest city in the Caribbean is a must-see for any visitor. For centuries, it has served as the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico. And in 1982, Old Havana, the city's historic centre, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city's first building, overlooking the entrance to a protected bay, dates back to 1519.

Today, Havana is the heart of the nation's busy political, scientific and cultural life. Museums, theatres and concert halls, art galleries and cultural institutions are popular venues. The National Ballet of Cuba, the House of the Americas, the Foundation of New Latin American Film and the National Folkloric Dance Group all have won international acclaim. Both day and night, Havana continues to thrill visitors anew.


Havana likes to entertain on its many beaches. A few of them are:

Playa del Este
This beach outside Havana's east coast is where weekend and vacation action takes place.

Playa Santa María del Mar
Is another beach to the east and it is just a lovely place to spend the day.

Jibacoa and Puerto Escondido beaches
Located 45 km from Havana, they are an ideal destination to enjoy all kinds of water sports, horseback riding and bicycling.

El Salado beach
This beach is protected by coral reefs so it is ideal for scuba diving.


Fortunately, to discover Havana you don't have to spend all your time indoors since several attractions are to be enjoyed in the open air. Go to the Zoológico Nacional and the Zoológico de la Habana, the Botanical Gardens, ExpoCuba and the Acuario National (Aquarium).

The Lenin Park has all sorts of shows and activities for children and the Morro-Cabana Park is a great option for those who like the outdoors.

Outside the city, many of the beaches are flanked by cliffs and mountains reaching up to 100 m. Some shores are protected by coral reefs that can be explored by scuba diving or snorkeling. Escaleras de Jaruco is the destination of choice for speleology.


Havana, the capital of the Republic of Cuba, was founded in 1519 by the Spanish conquistador and was originally christened La Villa de San Cristóbal de la Habana. Established next to the Port of Carenas, it became the most relevant port in the western hemisphere for the treasures of the Spanish fleets being brought to the New World.

The seat of the government, which had been in Santiago de Cuba, was then moved to this city. Havana's strategic geographic position was a major factor in its rapid growth, and in the decision to build a sea wall in the 17th century.

Its urban development got a boost during the second half of the 17th century and it reached its peak within 200 years, when the city began to expand beyond the walls encircling it. Havana remains the political, cultural and economic heart of Cuba to this date.


Join Cuban fans to watch a baseball game, the national sport, and cheer on your favourite team at the Havana Stadium.

Cigar aficionados will be thrilled to get some world renowned Cuban cigars. In 1717, King Philip V established a royal monopoly on tobacco-growing in Cuba and the country became known as the Estanco del Tabaco (the tobacco shop).One of the most famous brands is the San Cristobal de la Habana, named after the four fortresses of Havana. The company boasts four sizes, all rich in flavours and fragrance.


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