Category Archives: Havana

Top 3 Historical Attractions in Havana

Havana, the capital of Cuba, has its present rooted in the history of various events like colonisation by Spanish conquests, revolutions and independence.

 Havana  by Bud Ellison/ CC BY

Havana by Bud Ellison/ CC BY

Today, various historical monuments stand here as a proof of the incidents and events that occurred in the past. The city has a colourful historical and cultural ambiance. The citizens of this Caribbean city are a helpful lot and have lots of exciting old tales to share. Have a look at the top three historical monuments in Cuba.

Old Havana (Habana Vieja)

Old Havana has been recognised as a World heritage Site by UNESCO and exudes old-world charm. Various buildings constructed in Baroque and Neoclassical styles ornate the area. Some of the highlights here are Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja and the magnificent Catedral de San Cristobal. After visiting these monuments, head to the famous La Bodeguita del Medio, which had been of service to various renowned people such as Pablo Neruda, Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Josignacio. It is still known as a meeting place of poets, writers, musicians and artists.

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana, situated atop the La Cabana Hill is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Havana. Constructed in the 1770s, it was one of the largest and the costliest ports made by the Spanish during that time. Following the lead of the British Colonials, the Spanish built this fort which dominates the entrance to Havana.  Le Cabana was used as a military prison during the regime of Batista and the headquarters for Che Guevera during the time of the revolution. The fort, has a number of museums today, amongst which, the most impressive one is the Museo de Comandancia del Che. At night, you will be able to witness the Ceremonia del Cañonazo, during which, several actors perform a cannon-firing ceremony wearing 19th century costumes.

Finca La Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

Finca la Vigia, located in San Francisco de Paula, about 15 kilometres from Havana, is famous for being a part-time home to Ernest Hemingway for about 20 years from 1939 to 1959. After Hemingway died, his temporary residence at Finca La Vigia was turned into the Museo Hemingway or the Hemingway Museum. The house is just as Hemingway had left it and contains around 8,000 books along with his typewriter, hunting trophies, paintings and other memorabilia. You can also take a stroll in the garden, where “Pilar” Hemingway’s fishing boat can be seen. The garden also has a pet cemetery where some of the beloved cats of Hemingway lie buried.

A Quick Guide to the most Popular Annual Events in Cuba

While ‘cigarro habano’ certainly has a significant contribution in bringing Cuba to the limelight, there are a number of other charms too that draw people from all around the world to this fascinating country. There is something about Cuba that distinguishes it from the rest of the Americas. Due to its singular taste, culture and preference, Cuba has a special place in the hearts of many.

One of the best ways to explore the country’s spirit is to attend its distinctive events. Here are just three that would make a good start.

Havana’s International Ballet Festival

The Great Theatre of Havana gets action-packed with visitors from all across the globe when the posters say it is Havana’s International Ballet Festival. Held every two years since 1960, this world famous event is awaited impatiently. After all, when it is held, the best ballet performers of the world perform magic on stage! The event, considered to be the oldest and most authentic of its kind is every bit worthy of being mentioned in an ‘at least once in a lifetime’ list of ballet aficionados.

Carnival, Santiago de Cuba

Carnival by Team at Studios/ CC BY

Carnival by Team at Studios/ CC BY

While almost every Africa-influenced city in Cuba hosts remarkable carnivals, the one in Santiago de Cuba is sensational and doubtlessly the best of them all. The carnival features crazy street parties, concerts and a lot more. With hordes of masked revellers in long conga lines, the festival simply overwhelms one and all. Now, would you not love an event that starts exhilarating from the moment it starts? The decorated streets are marked with festivities and some of the most attractive and spirited people, dressed like exotic dolls, perform hilarious antics. Party animals should definitely not miss a chance to attend this colourful carnival.

Havana’s International Jazz Festival

If you like jazz, you will fall in love with it after you attend Havana’s International Jazz Festival. And if you already ‘love’ jazz, you should be making plans to book tickets for the next event. Is your visit for Havana scheduled for December? Well, if the dates between 15 and 23rd are the part of your itinerary, you will catch it easily. Havana’s International Jazz Festival is all about, well “it’s all about jazz”.

Top Two Havana Events to Mark on Your Calendar For February!

The cultural warmth of Havana is sure to captivate your senses and you might find reasons to spend few more days amidst the enchantment of this charming Cuban capital. February is the month when Havana hosts few notable events. To be part of these festivities, several culture vultures have already booked air tickets. If you have missed out on grabbing a deal, check last minute flights to Havana to experience the magnificence of these popular annual events in Cuba.

International Festival of Havana Cigar

Cigar is one thing everyone buys before boarding return flights!! Cuban cigars make for an interesting and impressive souvenir. And arguably, the Habano is the best cigar in the world. This festival allows you to find various known-unknown aspects related to Habano. Havana is hosting this annual event from 23rd to 27th February, 2015. This event also marks the 17th edition of Habanos Festival. Its menu comprises visits to symbolic Habanos factories and Vuelta Abajo’s tobacco plantations. The best part of this event is considered to be the master class where one can learn the art of rolling cigars. In 2015, Montecristo Habanos brands will also complete their 80th year.

Havana Book Fair

This event is another chance to explore a differentiating vibe of Havana. This annual event is again enticing book lovers to browse through thousands of books in addition to participating in poetry readings, art exhibitions and children activities. Each February, this cultural extravaganza creates a buzz in Havana before bringing the city of Santiago de Cuba to limelight. This year, the fair is set to commence on 13th February and you can participate in various events of this 23rd edition of the book fair till 20th February. Intellectuals and academics from Cuba attend the book presentations and lectures in large numbers. Besides books, you can also enjoy the power packed performances of live bands and gorge on delicious authentic delicacies at dedicated counters.

Best Attractions of Havana That Are Too Good To Miss for First Time Travellers

havanaVisiting Havana? The capital city of Cuba has a lot to offer to its visitors. For holidaymakers who are blocking their flights’ tickets to this city and are wondering what to visit, here are four most popular attractions to start with.

Old Havana

The sands of time have indeed turned Havana into a thriving metropolis but there are some secrets and tales of the past that the city still hides, and preserves in its old centre. Anyone who is booking tickets on flights to Havana for the first time should definitely pay a visit to Old Havana. The place preserves a fascinating blend of Baroque and neoclassical monuments. The more you explore the place, the more you are going to like it!

El Capitolio

Once a seat of government in Cuba, El Capitolio now tells the tale of Cuban past. This marvellous piece of architecture is inspired from the US Capitol building in Washington DC and the Pantheon in Paris. El Capitolio features a planetarium and three museums. One of the prime highlights of this place is the ‘Estatua de la República’, the third largest indoor statue in the world. The place also boasts a 25-carat diamond in the centre of the main lobby.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana

Considered to be the most prominent museum of fine arts, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana (or National Museum of Beautiful Arts of Cuba) is a place you must visit if you are into arts and culture. The magnificent museum settles itself in two separate buildings. Each building has a massive collection of arts that are certainly worth exploring. The very design of the building (Designed by Alfonso Rodríguez Pichardo) is impressive enough.

Bacardi Building

Are you a Bacardi fan? Well, if you are, and you happen to be in Havana, head to Avenida de Bélgica No. 261 and explore the famous landmark of Havana, Bacardi Building! The architecture has received applause from all around the world. Bacardi Building is twelve stories high and features a number of things to see. Tourists, who visit this place, explore not only the building’s beautiful architecture and heritage, but also enjoy some really fascinating stories about the brand.

Two Major Events You Can Catch in Havana in December 2014

Have you already gone through the best attractions of Havana? There’s more! Here are two of the major events in Havana you should check out if you are in the area or have booked tickets aboard flight to capital of Cuba in the month of December.

Havana Jazz Festival “Jazz Plaza 2014″

Havana-in-December-2014Considered to be the best Latin Music Event in the world, Havana Jazz Festival has quite a reputation. The Cuban Jazz festival draws a large number of fans and artists from all across the globe who eagerly wait for this event. The festival features amazing concerts, jam sessions and various workshops. Highlight of the first day will be the renowned Cuban jazz artist Chucho Valdés, rocking the opening gala. Over the years, the event has dramatically grown in popularity and due to its esteemed reputation, a number of artists come to join this event and perform to entertain the visitors. People keen on joining the event should get the festival passes as the pass offers you the access to all music concerts and other attractions. Jazz lovers with tickets on flights to Havana in the month of December should certainly check this event out.

Where: Mella Theatre, Sevilla Hotel, Karl Marx Theatre and many other locations

Speculated Date:  December 14 to 22, 2014

Havana Film Festival

If you have a profound taste in Latin American and Caribbean culture influenced movies, Havana Film Festival is an event you should not miss. This international film festival features local as well as international talents from around the world. It offers its visitors a great opportunity to explore new documentaries, independent feature films, and even animations. The core purpose of the event is to encourage and appreciate the films that brought Latin American and Caribbean Culture to the limelight. There are a number of categories that will be included in the competition; some of the major ones will be documentary, fiction, Opera Prima and animation. Don’t forget to watch at least one film that is pulled from the ‘Made in Cuba’ category.

Where: A number of Cinemas in Havana

Speculated Date: December 04 to 14