A Great Plan for One Day in Havana
Havana has lots of great places to visit! But, sometimes tourists have a short stay in the city and wish to use their time wisely. This can be overwhelming, considering that there is so much to see and do in Havana.
A magnificent way to start the day in Havana would be to take a fascinating tour that begins at Parque de La Fraternidad, on the boundaries of La Habana Vieja and Centro Habana. From there you can take a nice stroll through the beautiful Paseo del Prado Avenue. The first majestic place on your route will be the Capitolio Nacional, an incredible building that is similar to the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. Just beside this building is the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, a beautiful structure from the 19th century. There you can enjoy the National Cuban Ballet, considered one of the best ballet companies in the world. The Parque Central is in front of the theater, and there you can take a ride in the popular retro convertible cars on a tour around Havana. After the Parque Central, in the same direction, is the Gran Hotel Manzana, that has lots of shops. There is also the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Looking for more? Venture to the popular Boulevard Obispo, one of the streets with highest movement in Havana. The bar El Floridita is at the beginning of this street, this is an old cocktail bar that was frequented by the Nobel Prize winner of literature, Ernest Hemingway. Along the Boulevard Obispo there are many restaurants, shops, craft fairs and museums. You can turn left on the San Ignacio Street, just 2 blocks away, to find the Plaza de La Catedral de La Habana and the famous bar-restaurant, La Bodeguita del Medio. Following on Boulevard Obispo, there are several interesting places like the Parque Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, where many old items related to Cuban history are sold, the Palacio del Segundo Cabo (headquarter of the Spanish vice-governor of that time) and the Castillo de la Real Fuerza (the oldest existing fort in the Americas, with a tower that is crowned by La Giraldilla, the symbol of the city). Both buildings are from the colonial years. A few meters away from this place, you will arrive at the Malecón, a seaside avenue with a beautiful view of the Habana Bay and the fort Morro-Cabaña.
Taking the Mercaderes Street, you will arrive at the Plaza Vieja that is a square with the Casa de la Cerveza, the cafe Escorial, the Cámara Oscura (a place with a clever optical device where you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city), a planetarium and some cafeterias. Taking the Muralla Street from the Plaza Vieja, you will arrive at Avenida del Puerto Street, where there is a boat dock to take you to Casablanca and Regla. The Christ of Havana is in Casablanca. This place is a natural viewpoint which has a beautiful panoramic view of the whole city. Also, on the Avenida del Puerto Street there are a beer pub and the San José craft market, the biggest one in Cuba. There is a hug variety of crafts and paints at this market, and it is an ideal place to get Cuban souvenirs for family and friends.
There are plenty of places to have fun and spend a relaxed time at night. The Casa de la Música in Miramar and the Casa de la Música in Centro Habana are perfect places for Salsa lovers. The Fábrica de Arte Cubano, in the Vedado neighborhood, is a unique place where there are many craft and paint galleries, and also, concert halls and live music. There are some recognized discos in Vedado like El Pico Turquino at Habana Libre Hotel and the Pico Blanco at St. John Hotel.
A plan including some of the places previously mentioned will ensure a visit to some of the best places in Havana, and in only a day.