Havana, the capital of Cuba, is the largest city in the Caribbean, and one of the most culturally rich urban centres in the world. The city’s appreciation of its glorious colonial past is on display at a dizzying array of castles, cathedrals, mansions and museums. The historic neighbourhood of Vieja Habana (Old Havana) is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site, with over 900 landmarks, including the Presidential Palace and Cathedral Square.
But while history is treasured in Havana, culture is celebrated, shared and exuberantly enjoyed here. Cuba’s love of music and dance spills out in clubs, cabarets and impromptu street-side salsas. The city boasts some of the world’s best ballet schools and dance companies, and its theatre community is unrivaled in the Caribbean. There are lively film and comedy clubs, art galleries that range from the eclectic (along the pedestrian-friendly Calle Obispo) to the expansive (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) and bookstores everywhere. Havana is a city that both inspires and reveres its writers, poets and philosophers. No wonder luminaries such as Ernest Hemingway and Federico Garcia Lorca put down roots here.
Havana’s long, shimmering coastline offers nearly 15km of excellent beaches and unspoiled coral reefs that can be admired both above and below the sea. For those seeking an urban oasis, Lenin Park’s 670 hectares of green space give you plenty of room to commune with nature.