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Colonial Havana

Colonial Havana

fortress

When coming to Cuba, Havana is the first gem that you should explore. Almost five centuries since its settlement (November 16, 1519) and today you still breathing an antique air in some areas of the city. Like frozen in time, Havana is a beautiful place to go and feel the vibes, the music and the uniqueness of the island.

Mostly in Old Havana town, many fortress constructed by the Spaniards back in the 18th century still having an impeccable presence. You can say its wall can talk. Colonial fortress in Havana are a must: we are talking about very historic and well-preserved; one of the most attractive tourist destinations in town. These fortresses were built for defending the capital against pirate’s attacks.

The main fortress, the ones you shouldn’t miss are: El Templete, La Punta and Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes el Morro. The Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes el Morro was built on a high rocky formation at the entrance of the harbor, one of the most stunning and classic views of Havana. Construction works took forty years: from 1589 to 1630.

San Carlos de la Cabana castle, part of the El Morro fortress, was built in 1763 under the order of King Carlos III. It is a 700-meter-long place with an area of 450-meter walls of amazing lines. The most representative of those castles is Los Tres Santos Reyes del Morro castle on a top of a high stone at the entrance of the harbor.

El-templeteEl Templete 

 

At present, it is a worthy place to go. It can be reached by car crossing the bay tunnel of Havana. In this place, you can find restaurants like La Divina Pastora or Los Doce Apóstoles in tribute to the most important artillery battery the castle had.
El Morro, as it is known too, is an irregular polygon-shaped thick-wall castle that elevates forty meters above sea level and that has bastions and defense overhanging. Its most relevant event took place in 1762 when English invader troops took it and once there, they occupied Havana during an eleven-month interval -until July 6th, 1763.

At present, travelers easily see the light from under the castle of its ten meter-tall lighthouse that served as watchtower. The fuel used in the lighthouse has evolved as time passed by: wood at the beginning, oil from 1819 on, acetylene from 1928 on, and finally electricity since 1945. Right across from El Morro, in the other side of the harbor La Punta emerged, aimed at establishing a crossed fire to the attackers between the two fortresses. La Punta was finished in 1600 after ten years of hard work.

Past, present and future

Morro

These dream fortresses are a Cuban feast for the senses. Nevertheless, is more than that, is part of our history and our nation. If you want to feel and know about our deepest roots, were we came from and most important: were we want to be.

Havana itself for photo lovers

Havana itself for photo lovers

oldcar

Are you a fan of cameras and quick shots? Then Havana is a must for you. Imagine a city where colours are fused in incredible ways: old colonial facades with neo-classic architecture; kids on their uniforms wearing Cuban flag shades; the always-blue skyline matching the seafront in Malecon Avenue, Havana’s famous promenade. Do not wait any longer to experience it and go for it.

Cuba is a very particular piece of land. A spicy and nostalgic blend of culture, history, politics, dreams and visions. Few people can actually be aware of what is going on in the country. However, most people focus in more pleasant thoughts, let their live just passing by, and try to enjoy it.

old havana

You can feel that simplicity in the air, like people disconnected from real life. The faces on the street speak for their selves sometimes. For me that is the key when looking for great pictures here in Havana: people. While the rest of the country is priceless in views, landscapes, natural resorts, the main capital is an endless source of feeling, passion and art.

Best shots in Havana

Without hesitation, you have to go to Old Havana and walk in. Do not feel afraid of get lost, is not that big, and people will always be there to help. Walking from the Capitol you can go many ways around: through Paseo del Prado Avenue (last year it was Channel’s favorite catwalk), ending in the seafront. You can go straight away to Obispo Street, a main one in the old town that connects most of the squares, the Cathedral and museums. A personal favorite is Teniente Rey Street, the one starting just in front the Capitol. All these paths are filled with live; a good picture is almost guaranteed. Nevertheless, the real deal is getting a bit far from these main streets and walk into the real Cubans life. Kids playing around, old men selling newspaper and talking about the latest baseball game, housewives hanging out the washing in their balconies, the guy who sells tropical fruit and vegs in a bike or the one fixing the 1950’s car on the street.

oldmanonthestreet

You should go of course to places like El Morro Fortress on the bay, to the Cathedral, to the Old Square, to the recently restored Alameda de Paula walk and the magnificent Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso (where you can try to buy some tickets to enjoy a ballet session).

But Havana is not only old stuff, the modern part, where trendy nightclubs are and young people love to hang out is called Vedado; just 15 minutes by car from Old Havana. Here you’ll find a different atmosphere, a more eclectic and juvenile one. Also lots of art galleries, pubs, restaurants and places to relax and enjoy live music. Iconic places as National Hotel, 23rd Street or Fabrica de Arte Cubano (this last one highly recommended) are nearby, so give them a bit of your time.

flowers

Do not come expecting luxuries or quick response to your needs. Sometimes it can be a bit slower than it should be, yet at the end is part of Cubans nature: be relaxed, have fun and take home unforgettable shots.

Havana´s best places for a night-out in 2017

Havana´s best places for a night-out in 2017

dancing-havana

New year arrived and Havana is getting ready to welcome twelve new exciting months, all over again! After quite a quiet Christmas season, January brings the opportunity to relieve those repressed feelings of party. Believe us when we say Havana has it all (or almost all) for an unforgettable night out.

If there's something you won’t regret during your stay in Havana, or if you are a local one, is music. Music is in their blood: I've heard people saying Cuba is probably the only spot worldwide where you could have to pay musicians not to play. The rhythm is just contagious.
Havana is full of fun; sometimes the key is where to find it properly. Unlike other major cities hotel's animation or discos are not the top ones. Small private business, mostly European stylish bars, quite recently opened (weren't allowed by the government until last few years), are the best options. Is were locals go, is where the real fun waits for you: great music, incredible live performances, cool people, trendy places and really good drinks. Ideal for a group of friends, but if alone, you'll probably find nice people to dance and hang around. All places listed below are the best of their kind, totally safe and secured. We know being far from home or your comfort zone can be a bit challenging; yet you must try it, is the only way you can see the whole picture: we are a lot more than old streets, sunny beaches or revolutionary posters.

Hottest bars for dancing

If you are staying in Old Havana, you have plenty of history and originality around; ideal for great Instagram photos and to actually know Cuban people; but you are also a bit out of the zone in terms of night clubs and bars. But don't worry, barely 15 minutes in a cab and you are in the hot area. Uber neither Lyft are available in Cuba, but just walk in main areas and many cabs will show. The real fun during night are located in Vedado and Miramar town. Those are the favorite haunts of Havana's cool people.

Sarao-bar-havanaSarao's Bar

In Vedado you have the chic Sarao's Bar; recently opened and always offering good vibes and music. Can be full on weekends, but there is always chance to get in; they have live music, also one of the best DJ in town. Other one to go in King Bar, this one is a must for those dancing lovers; the music is always appealing, people sometimes goes when want to just dance and dance, popular known as a gay-friendly bar, but not exclusive, lot say the welcome a very friendly clientele. Then you have Up and Down Bar, for some people a bit cheesy, always ready for party though.

If you go to Miramar in the western side of the city, just few minutes by car from Vedado, you have lot more: Bolabana Bar, another must; is one of the classic in today’s Havana night even when opened since few years ago. Drinks are superb, but the atmosphere is beyond; dancing music is really good, and if you go there get ready to rock.
But if we are talking about classics then we must say that Espacios Bar is always been there; famous for a cool and relaxed environment. Is very popular within millennials and people from university; ideal for a good talk in the terrace, and some dancing inside.
There is one government owned place called Don Cangrejo where cool young people are always prowling around, and they have always live music with top Cuban groups and artists.

Today some good places as Sangri-La Bar or Kpricho bar still closed (these are top and trendy ones), but hopefully is matter of weeks. If you want to go to any of this just ask directions in your hotel front desk or any taxi driver.

Let us help you planning your next trip to Cuba, we know the place and we have the best prices in zone. Contact us at www.scuktravel.com, we can make your next journey an unforgettable one!