Neighborhoods Of HavanaApril 21, 2020
The capital of Cuba and the largest city in the Caribbean, Havana is the number one destination on the island. The incredible city is broken into neighborhoods proudly boasting their own personalities. Travelers often fall further in love as they explore the diverse corners of this enchanting city.
La Habana Vieja
La Habana Vieja (Old Havana) is the heart of the capital city, bustling with locals and travelers alike. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this neighborhood is home to some of the greatest collections of museums and landmarks such as Gran Teatro De La Habana (Havana’s Grand Theater) and El Morro Castle.
The colonial-styled neighborhood is best explored by Cuba Candela’s unique walking tour. Travelers can observe the ancient ceiba tree in La Plaza de Armas that dates back to the 1520s when Havana was founded. Strolling through La Plaza Vieja (Old Square), you can imagine the former city center where locals would shop, gossip or even witness a bullfight.
As you take in the historic streets and architectural wonders that surround you, stop at the local shops and restaurants that appear on every corner offering souvenirs and some of the best food in Cuba. Buy a gift to take home at a local perfume shop or indulge yourself with an ice-cold mojito or fresh gelato.
Crossing El Prado from Habana Vieja, travelers will quickly find themselves entering Centro Habana (Central Havana). This area of the city is mostly residential with some casa particulares, private rooms for rent. Street art is proudly displayed along the narrow roads to inspire, share a unique point of view and add vibrancy to the area. Kids in uniforms play in the streets and local businesses open doors and windows to welcome guests and let in the tropical breeze.
Centro Habana provides an authentic view of Cuban life. On Cuba Candela’s immersive Centro Habana experience, travelers view the neighborhood from a local’s perspective with a Centro Habana resident and community leader as their guide. Travelers meet small business owners and artists in the area learning about their experiences and inspirations.
The neighborhood of Vedado rests to the west of Old Havana. A culmination of old and new, this neighborhood contains restored mansions from the early twentieth century as well as modern buildings that make up the business sector. This neighborhood encompasses La Plaza de La Revolución (Revolution Square) and is home to iconic landmarks such as Hotel National, the National Theater and the University of Havana.
Cruising the area on a classic convertible car tour, travelers may visit a park with a statue of John Lennon. The singer’s glasses no longer rest on the statue’s bronze nose. The glasses have been stolen so many times that the government stopped replacing them, however, if you ask one of the security guards, it’s rumored that they always carry a pair with them.
Traveling further west along El Malecón, the sea wall that separates the city from the Caribbean Sea, travelers will reach the quiet residential neighborhood of Miramar. This area is known for its neoclassical mansions many of which have been repurposed into hotels and foreign embassies. With the growing private sector in Cuba, Miramar has seen an increase in private businesses and entrepreneurship. At night, the quiet neighborhood comes alive with the rest of the city and boasts some of the best salsa clubs in all of Havana.
The diverse neighborhoods come together to form the mosaic that is the 500-year-old city of Havana. Whether you are visiting the city for the first time or are a frequent traveler, there are always new treasures to uncover.