Travel in Latin America
Tourist attractions in Havana memorialize Cuba's history, culture and the nation's present politics, and they include the stately colonial architecture in Old Havana where ruins of city walls and defensive positions remain as part of the city's long history. Havana's massive public squares and parks are often the site of political rallies, popular movements and open-air addresses by Cuba's leaders.
Museum of the City
The Museo de la Ciudad, or Museum of the City, in the Plaza de Armas showcases Cuba's history from the country's founding to the present. Constructed in 1791, the building is an imposing Baroque-style home that once served as the Presidential Palace and home to colonial governors. The museum's exhibits include culturally significant collections of weaponry, archeology and art as well as rooms documenting wars for Cuban independence.
Museo de la Ciudad
Calle Tacón, Plaza de Armas, Habana Vieja
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: CUC 3 (excludes historical rooms), CUC 4 (includes a guide and access to all museum exhibits ), cameras: CUC 2
Plaza de la Revolucion, or Revolution Square, is one of the largest open public spaces in Cuba and one of the largest public squares in the world. The site is home to the 138-foot Jose Marti Memorial, the tallest structure in Havana, which commemorates the national hero. Cuba's important leaders, including Fidel Castro, use the podium in front of the memorial to address the large crowds that gather on the square. The Jose Marti Memorial also includes a museum and an elevator that takes tourists to the top of the monument.
Open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Memorial admission: CUC 5
Cuba's famous cigar-making factories are open to the public. Three cigar factories in Havana offer public tours that show how Cuba's cigars are hand-rolled in the traditional way. The Partagas cigar factory, founded in 1827, is the oldest in Havana. One of the factory's enduring traditions is to employ a reader who entertains the cigar-rollers working in the factory. The other two factories open for tours are La Corona and Romeo y Julieta, and they include gift shops.
Partagas Factory: Calle Industria 520, Centro Habana
Tour hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday
Admission: CUC 10
Havana Vieja, or Old Havana, is the capital's historic district, which dates to 1519 when Spain used the city as a colonial port. Old Havana was an important Spanish naval base for hundreds of years because of its strategic position. Presently, Old Havana's cobble stone streets are home to museums, hotels and restaurants nestled among the grand colonial buildings that once housed Spanish power.