A Photojourney through Havana’s streets

We were dreaming about going to Cuba for a long time now and this year it finally happened. We found acceptable flights via Paris and we didn’t think twice before booking the tickets. I mean, how could you say no to a Cuban adventure?

Our flight was delayed and we arrived quite late in Havana but the security check was faster than we expected and our pre-booked taxi waited for us and showed us where to exchange money so we don’t spend time looking around for it. We had both pounds and euros with us but we found the rate to be better for pounds. If you have US dollars, bare in mind there will be a 10% exchange fee.

Although our trip was months away, we just booked our accommodation for two nights in Havana via Airbnb and the airport pick up. For the rest, we decided to wing it. If you wonder if it’s possible to do so in Cuba then the answer is yes but if you prefer to sleep better at night, we suggest you pre-book your vacation, especially during the peak season.

Things to visit:

When visiting a new place we like to allocate some time to wonder around without a certain destination. This was the case in Havana as well, we started from our accommodation towards El Malecón, Havana Vieja and then continue our way on the streets turning right or left depending on what was there to see. At the end of the day we walked more than 25 kilometers on Havana’s streets.

Vintage cars

Vintage cars in Havana

Morro Castle

At that time, we didn’t knew this is a castle but we decided to walk towards it and see it close by. The castle was designed by an Italian engineer to act as a fortress and defend the entrance to Havana bay. El Morro sits prominently on a hill and can be seen from almost everywhere in Havana Vieja. For photographers, this is a perfect spot for photos, especially when the sun shines on to the building.

Morro Castle

El Malecón

On our way to the castle we were surprised by the high number of colourful vintage cars passing by us on the street, mostly full of tourists who decided to take a ride along El Malecón. 

El Malecon

Building and car in Havana

El Capitolio

El Capitolio is now home to the Academy of Science but formerly, until the Revolution it was the seat of Cuban Congress. The building itself is impressive with the stone cupola measuring 62 meters but unfortunately the site was under construction at that point and you could see the scaffolding from every angle.

Red stop traffic light

El Capitolio

Havana Vieja

Wandering around the streets in Havana Vieja is the best thing you could do if you have some time to spare, admiring the colours, architecture and the occasional Che drawing.

Red Car

Havana's street

Havana's streets

La Floridita

Although in most of the places, the price for a cocktail or a beer is the same as the one for a bottle of water, at la Floridita you will pay around 6-7 CUC for one cocktail. It might seem a bit expensive but it’s worth drinking at least one cocktail, snap a picture of Ernest Hemingway’s statue and enjoy the live Cuban music. 

La Floridita

Tobacco Shop

Next to la Floridita is a tobacco and rum store which we recommend if you want to buy some cigars or bottles of rum. The cigar prices differ from size and brand. We are not smokers but because we were in Cuba we had to try it so we got one cigar each for the night.

Regarding the cigars, bare in mind that people might stop you on the street and take you to a shady room for buying cigars at a special price “only” on that special day – they will refer to it as Co-Operativa. A real cigar box should be sealed with a government stamp and the label is translated to 3 languages.

La Floritita corner

Train Station

Havana Central is the main train station in Havana and it is considered a National Monument for its architecture, although there aren’t that many trains running out of Havana.

Ration Stores

Romania was a communism country as well but we were both born after the revolution so the only communism we know is from the stories told by our families. It was interesting to see how people are still queuing for their rations to different stores. Most of the stores don’t even have a sign outside, so as a traveler you won’t see them unless people are queuing.

Ration store

People

The Cuban people are really friendly, they will stop you on the street asking from where you are, when you arrived and they will give some recommendations for places to eat or visit. One of them even mentioned to us that “the only dangerous thing in Cuba is not knowing how to dance salsa but there’s nothing that rum cannot fix”.

Cuban people

cuban lady

Coco water

If you liked this article, there is a chance you will like our Viñales post as well. Read more about things to visit, places to eat and drink in our Viñales travel guide.

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Take a photo journey through Havana and discover more about the vibrant capital of Cuba. Havana is the most colourful city we have seen so far.

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22 Comments

  1. Brooke
    July 3, 2017 / 6:29 am

    Looks like such a cool city- I’d be interested to travel to off the beaten path spots in Cuba as well. What foods/plates did you like the best?

    • Oana N
      July 8, 2017 / 3:52 pm

      Hi Brooke, Havana is a vibrant city that is definitely worth visiting along with off the beaten paths. The Caribbean food is not extraordinary but they serve European dishes as well.

  2. July 3, 2017 / 8:39 am

    I love your post! the pictures are just exactly how I picture Cuba! I would love to go 🙂

    • Oana N
      July 8, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      Thank you Julz, glad we showed you the real Cuba through our pictures. Hope you will get there soon, you will love it.

  3. July 3, 2017 / 11:42 am

    Seems like you had an awesome trip in Havana! If I think about Cuba, then the first thing that comes up in my mind is cars and indeed in every second photo there is a car 😉

    • Oana N
      July 8, 2017 / 4:06 pm

      Hi Lien, our trip was amazing and you are right, the cars are everywhere. People are using them like we use normal cars in Europe.

  4. July 3, 2017 / 3:39 pm

    ahhh am so jealous! Cuba is my dream destination! I hope I can go there next year! I just cant stop looking for those amazing cars, architecture and lovely looking people! Seems like you had a fabulous time! Love your photos!

    • Oana N
      July 8, 2017 / 6:33 pm

      Hi Ada, Cuba was my dream destination as well and we did had a fab time in there. I hope you will manage to go next year and see for yourself the colourful and vibrant country.

  5. July 3, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    those pictures are priceless!!! Really good job! 🙂 I have been to Cuba but I was a child and it was purely a beach vacation; really, what a waste! I would love to visit Havannah.. I remember those old cars so well from Cuba, it was beautiful and amazing that tehy were so well preserved.

    • Oana N
      July 8, 2017 / 6:34 pm

      Thank you, Lena. We haven’t been to the beach while in Cuba because we wanted to enjoy the culture by visiting a few different places. I agree with you, they take care of their cars and most of them are looking as new.

  6. July 4, 2017 / 9:15 am

    Havana looks totally amazing and cant wait to get there someday and check out those cars. 😀 Would totally love to scooter around the place and find some hidden secrets. Love the write up here.

    • Oana N
      July 8, 2017 / 6:36 pm

      Hi Danik, I hope you will get there soon and check the cars by yourself. To scooter around seems a good idea – we rented bikes in Vinales and moved around by ourselves and it was a nice experience.

  7. Raiden99
    July 7, 2017 / 8:38 am

    Awesome photography and written content. Great Work!

    • Oana N
      July 8, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      Thank you, Raiden.

  8. July 8, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    You’ve really captured the streets and colours of Havana in this photo journey. El Capitolio looks like an absolutely stunning piece of architecture. I love how you’ve captured the colourful classic cars, I’d definitely want to take one for a ride along El Malecon.

    • Oana N
      July 8, 2017 / 6:40 pm

      Thank you, James. El Capitolio’s architecture is indeed impressive compared with the other buildings in Cuba, too bad the site was under construction at that time. You will definitely enjoy a ride along El Malecon in a vintage car.

  9. July 9, 2017 / 11:17 am

    Beautiful captures of Havana. Particularly the view across the waters is so amazing. And you have captured the real essence of the city in the street life.

    • Oana N
      July 10, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      Thank you, Neha. Glad you enjoyed our photos.

  10. July 10, 2017 / 2:49 am

    Havanah is totally amazing based on your photos. But what stroke us the most are the old cars. It’s just fascinating that they had these old cars still running on the streets. We’ve seen these cars only in museums; and the last time we’ve seen some others are when we were still children! The convertibles are totally cool.

    • Oana N
      July 10, 2017 / 8:00 pm

      Glad you discovered Havana through our lens. The colourful cars are part of the culture and people take good care of them.

  11. July 10, 2017 / 3:46 am

    A wonderful and new perspective on Cuba while showing the real side and not only the touristy things. We are hoping to go there on holiday one day!

    • Oana N
      July 10, 2017 / 8:01 pm

      Hi Sheri, I hope you will get there one day. You will love for sure the vibrant culture of this country.

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