Havana is the capital, and commercial center of Cuba. The city is located in the North of the Cuban island and has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants. Even the city of Havana is loaded with history, affected by wars, revolutions, and embargos, nowadays the city is noted for it’s friendly culture, the neoclassical architecture, and monuments. It is an interesting fact that the historic center of Havana was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. We collected Top 7 Facts about Havana you need to check out before traveling to the biggest Cuban Island.
1. El Capitolio, or National Capitol Building
First of all: The National Capitol Building in Havana, Cuba is NOT the seat of government in Cuba. Indeed this neoclassical building was the seat of the Cuban government until the Cuban Revolution by Fidel Castro and his troops in 1959. Nowadays you can find the Cuban Academy of Sciences inside the Capitol Building in Havana. Even the “Capitolio” looks similar to the capitol building in Washington D.C., one of the architects, Rayneri Piedra, claims his inspirations came from the Panthéon in Paris.
2. Old City of Havana
Since 1982 the Old City of Havana is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk around the historic center of Havana and discover the Cuban atmosphere. You will find a lot of revolutionary symbols, and graffiti arts, as well as street musicians.
3. Havana Club Rum Factory
For more than four centuries, Cuban people produce the most famous beverage from Cuba: Rum. No wonder they say the best Rum in the world comes from Cuba. Get a guided tour through the Havana Club Rum Factory, and get your own opinion. Salut!
4. John Lennon Park
In Havana you have the unique chance to chill-out with John Lennon. The famous founder member of The Beatles relaxes in form of a life-size bronze statue on a park bench in the Park John Lennon (Parque John Lennon). The revolutionary politician Fidel Castro himself unveiled the statue of John Lennon in 2000. But, not too long after the inauguration, the characteristic glasses of John Lennon’s statue were stolen over and over again. So the Cuban government decided to create a new job: The Spectacular man! When you will visit the statue of John Lennon in Havana, a man will pop out from behind the trees in the park to put the glasses on the nose of John Lennon.
5. Partagas cigar factory
Beside Salsa Music and Rum, there are also the famous Cuban cigars. Right behind the Capitol Building, there is the Partagas Cigar Factory. The entrance is around 10CUC, which is an absolutely fair price to get an idea about the production of Cuban Cigars.
6. Join a local event
Is there any explanation necessary? The Cuban nightlife is famous all over the world. Take a Cuban Cigar, mix it up with a Original Mojito, and listen to the Cuban salsa music. And if you want, you can also jump in and dance to the Salsa Beats. And maybe someone will show you how locals dance? With Godashboard, the social travel tool you can connect to locals!
7. Stay at a Casa Particular
To experience the Cuban lifestyle, we highly recommend you staying at a Cuban Style Hostel. Those hostels are called “Casas Particulares” and they are usually managed by a family. You can book a private room, and get in contact with local people from Cuba. Let us give you some examples, why this budget accommodation in Havana is amazing:
Casa Margot in Havana: On your first day Jorge Luis, one of the owners will give you a quick tour of Old Havana to give you the bearings. Both owners speak English; French & Italian and are extremely kind.
Habana Elvira: Guests can access the balcony directly and can enjoy a nice breeze during the day, take the sun early in the morning or smoke cigars or cigarettes in the evening before going to bed. Elvira, the hostess, can help travelers organizing their vacation agenda, booking accommodation in other places over the island, booking taxis and buses, even helping to rent cars. She will help you out with everything you need.