Life in La Havana passes surrounded by music, tradition, culture, national monuments and natural attractions of immeasurable value. Dances and Cuban “sones” spread to each one to this land’s children and to those who visit it as well; customs and traditions remain untouched and join new national and international celebrations to amaze visitors that plan a visit to La Havana, making it their Caribbean destination.
Catedral de San Cristobal:
Attracting the gaze of every tourist in the Plaza de la Catedral is its elegant namesake, Catedral de San Cristobal. Two large bell towers flank the façade, which is adorned with inlaid columns. During your visit, wander inside to admire the vaulted ceilings and statue of St. Christopher. After a visit to the cathedral, relax at one of the cafés along the square and gaze at its magnificent façade.
Plaza de Armas:
Plaza de Armas has been a social hub in the city for more than five centuries. Cafés and restaurants beckon from its perimeter, and the shady gardens lure locals and tourists alike, who come here to escape the tropical heat. Presiding over the plaza are a bevy of Baroque beauties, including the magnificent Palacio de Los Capitanes, which has hosted more than 60 Spanish generals over the years. In the center of the square, look for the statue of the Cuban patriot, Cespedes near the fountain.
Plaza Vieja has experienced many incarnations but is now one of Havana’s most vibrant gathering spots. The Plaza Vieja has been restored and is now one of the most popular squares in Old Havana. An eclectic mix of restored buildings – from Art Nouveau to Cuban Baroque – preside at its edges and a small 18th-century fountain bubbles at its center.
An architectural highlight here is the 18th-century Casa del Conde Jaruco, which displays some of the city’s most beautiful stained glass windows. After admiring the scene, you can climb the 35-meter tower of the camera obscura for fantastic city views, explore the small museum dedicated to the history of card playing, or relax at one of the many cafés.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza:
A few steps from the Museo de la Ciudad, the 16th-century fortress, Castillo de la Real Fuerza, was built to fend off attacks from pirates. Unfortunately, it was never used for this purpose, since it was positioned too far inside the bay. Instead, the fort functioned as a storehouse for valuables and a residence for members of the military and gentry.
Designed and built by Francisco de Calona, Castillo de la Real Fuerza is an engineering marvel, with a deep moat, a drawbridge, and walls that are six meters thick and 10 meters high. Today, visitors can explore Havana’s seafaring history at the maritime museum here, with displays such as model sailing boats, weapons, and treasure retrieved from sunken ships.
One of the most popular entrees in Cuban cuisine is Ropa Vieja. This stewed shredded beef dish is slow cooked in fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and wine to create a mouthwatering meal. And following its origins, the dish is accompanied by white rice, black beans, and sweet plantains.