Havana Tourist Attractions
The name Havana often elicits memories of Spanish conquistadors, revolutionary heroes, along with Ernest Hemingway. Settled for over 400 years this seaside Caribbean city is rich in history, architecture, and culture.
Havana boasts wide avenues and ancient forts, along with spectacular churches devoted to religions unique to Cuba.There is much to entertain visitors in Havana with over 50 museums, beautifully restored 18th and 19th Century buildings, wonderful public squares and history at every turn.Spend a day, or two, or even a week to fully appreciate all that Havana has to offer. There is something to appeal to everyone's tastes, from a museum devoted to cars of the 1950's to hidden gems of streets where an impromptu rumba dance party may break out.The city is easy to get around on foot and wonderful surprises await you around each street corner.However, the best part of Havana is the people. Friendly and outgoing these people are proud of their great city and happy to tell you all about it. Havana is an experience you won't soon forget.
Old Havana offers a glimpse of the historical past unlike few other cities, while 1950s cars ply the streets. This area, much of which has been beautifully restored, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To the east west of Havana's historic city center is the area known as Miramar. This section of Havana has traditionally been one of the more upscale areas of Havana, even since the beginning of the 20th Century. Today it maintains this reputation with the addition of upper end hotels and restaurants. Miramar is known for its stately mansions and wide tree lined avenues and is also where many of the embassies are located.The main street in Miramar is Avenida 5. This wide avenue is graced with old homes, including Art Deco style mansions. Many of these have been turned into government offices, having been abandoned by their original owners during the Revolution. The Avenues are numbered, with Avenida Primera (First Avenue) being closest to the ocean.Some of the highlights of Miramar, other than its general atmosphere of grandeur, are the Maqueta de La Havana, which contains a scale model of the city showing the progression of the development, and the Acuario Nacional (Aquarium). Also of interest is the Museo del Ministerio del Interior, which details the history of the police force in Cuba, although most displays are only in Spanish.
The National Aquarium in Havana features local marine life of all kinds, including turtles and birds. This is a great family outing with something for all ages, including a dolphin show.
Santa Maria Beach
The East Havana beach of Santa Maria is a lovely stretch of sand with an occaissional palm tree, backed by dunes and development. Visitors will find hotel options and restaurants behind the beach.
Playas del Este
Just a short drive from Havana's city center visitors will find a long stretch of beach that runs for miles, called Playas del Este. This is a great alternative for visitors to Havana who are unable to make it out to the more remote beach resorts in other parts of Cuba. Along Playas del Este are hotels, restaurants, and all the regular tourist facilities. The beach is divided up into sections, with one of the best portions at Santa Maria del Mar. This is arguably the best stretch of beach and is popular with tourists. Crime has sometimes been a problem at Playas del Este but Santa Maria del Mar is patrolled and has brought the problem under control. Another beautiful section is at Guanabo, although this is more of a locals spot with less by way of accommodation and tourist services.For being so close to a major city, Playas del Este is a surprisingly nice beach area.