Havana, the capital city of Cuba, (my hometown) is a photographer’s paradise. From colorful buildings, to vintage cars, to Cuban cigars, Havana takes you to a different world in a different era. As you plan for your trip, be sure to add these Instagrammable spots in Havana to your photography list.
1- El Malecón de la Habana
The Malecón is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. It is a place where couples come to make amends, especially at sunset, in the company of children and fishermen. It is Havana’s outdoor lounge.
Tip: Don’t miss the ballons
2- El Capitolio de La Habana
El Capitolio Nacional (National Capitol of Cuba) is one of the most emblematic buildings in Havana. This majestic construction, located in the Centro Habana is similar to that in Washington D.C, but a meter higher, a meter wider, and a meter longer, as well as much more rich in detail.
Tip: El Capitolio is open daily and there’s an admission fee. Pay the extra fee to join a guided tour. 3 CUC without guide, 4 CUC with guide. Opening hours: From 9:00am to 8:00pm.
3- Gran Teatro de La Habana
The Gran Teatro de la Habana, is without a doubt one of the most iconic buildings in the city a true jewel in Havana’s crown. The interior details of the building are amazing. It’s Cuba’s largest opera house and also the home to the country’s Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Cuban National Ballet), founded by Cuban prima ballerina Alicia Alonso.
Tip: Weekly performance schedules can be found at the ticket office on the first floor. (10-30 cuc ) Guided tour. 5 cuc
Tip +: Wonderful view to El Capitol de La Habana
4-Catedral de La Habana
This is Old Havana’s classic cathedral. The plaza fronting the cathedral and the church’s baroque facade, with its asymmetrical towers, are the most visited attractions in La Habana Vieja. If you’re lucky, you might be able to attend Mass here at 9am on Sunday or you can climb the smaller of the two towers for 1 cuc.
Tip: if you want to avoid being with a lot of people and to be able to take better pictures, its worth arriving early in the morning.
5- Parque Histórico Morro y Cabaña
Located across the harbor channel from La Habana Vieja, this historic park of forts, battlements, and barracks was responsible for the protection of Havana for centuries. The complex is actually made up of two separate forts, or attractions: the Castillo del Morro and La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña. El Morro affords excellent views of Havana and the Malecón.
Tip: The Cañonazo at 9 pm — The cañonazo is a picturesque ritual that takes place at La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña every night. About 1,000 people show up each night. Arrive early if you want a good vantage point. The blast itself is quite loud — you can hear it in most parts of Havana.
Tip+ A taxi to the complex from Havana costs between CUC$5 and CUC$7.
6- Classic Cars in Habana
Cuba is literally a rolling car museum. Everywhere you look is an old-school American brand vehicle. Here are a few places where you can hire a classic car to drive around Havana. The most popular places are the Central Park, the “Maestranza” Amusement Park, the Harbor’s Avenue, Fraternity Park and Nacional de Cuba Hotel. In Havana, rolling antiques awaits for you like in no other part of the world. Do not miss this opportunity of driving on one of them and riding a fantasy on wheels.
Tip: It’s best to rent a car for a few hours and get a driver. If you’re staying in Cuba for longer, I recommend getting around with taxis and buses. The average price for Classic Car Tour is 30 CUC per hour.
Tip+: American classic cars that function as taxis in Havana are called “almendrones”, as they are known in Cuba due to their resemblance with a rusty, metalic almond, are today, next to tobacco and rum, one of the main attractions for tourism in the island.
7- La Guarida
“Welcome to La Guarida, a place where not everybody is welcome” , the famous quote from the award-winning and Oscar-nominated film Fresa y Chocolate. La guarida is the most elegant and famous Paladar (Cuban Restaurants) in Havana. More recently it was made famous by the visit of Beyonce, and Jay-Z, who dined there as part of their tour of Havana. La Guarida is the place in Havana to dine while submerging in the Cuban culture.
Tip: Pricey in comparison to similar restaurants in Havana, The average meal in La Guarida costs between $30 to $35 CUC per person. Reservations online recommended.
8-Callejon de Hamel
Callejon de Hamel is a narrow alley in Havana filled with lively colorful murals and sculptures. It offers visitors to Cuba’s capital a taste of the city’s local art. Also, rumba groups play here every Sunday.
Tip: Map the alley before you go because internet access in Cuba is iffy. The alley is located about a 15-minute walk east of the Hotel Nacional.
Address: Hamel e/ Aramburu y Hospital, Centro Habana
9-Cuba Sign at Hotel Nacional
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was declared a National Monument and it was inscribed in the World Memory Register. With its privileged location in the middle of Vedado, the center of Havana, it stands on a hill just a few meters from the sea, and offers a great view of the Havana Harbor; the seawall and the city. But before you leave, be sure to check out the Cuba sign located on the Nacional Hotel grounds facing the roads and Malecon.
Tip: Cubans say (like me) the best mojitos in Havana are to be found at Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Selling for 4.5 CUC
10- Get lost!
Every street corner in Havana is a photographer’s dream. With bright colored homes and vintage vibes and beautiful skyline and ocean viewpoints, you won’t be able to put your camera down. Be sure to check out these Instagrammable spots in Havana, Cuba to help guide you once you arrive in my magical hometown.