Famous for its unique architecture, history and culture, Havana is an increasingly popular destination for visitors around the world. Situated in Cuba’s northwest, Havana is the country’s capital city and a major commercial hub.
Filled with both restored and dilapidated buildings, colourful architecture and cobblestoned streets, the city’s historic Old Havana area is a huge drawcard for tourists and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors expecting to see vintage cars, vibrant paintwork and friendly locals will not be disappointed.
Cruise ships dock at Terminal Sierra Maestra, which is located opposite the Plaza de San Francisco and is approximately 10 minutes away (on foot) from the centre of the intriguing Old Havana.
With easy access to the streets of the Old Town, there is no need to rely on the Terminal for facilities such as food and drink venues. However, at the Terminal you will find car and scooter rental services, travel agents, a bar and a souvenir shop.
How to Get Around
Visitors have several options when it comes to travelling around Havana. Official taxis are a convenient mode of transport (these are metered and are distinguished by their official logos) or you could opt for a brightly coloured coco taxi (small, three-wheeled rickshaw type vehicles). If you choose the latter, you will likely enjoy a cheaper fare but remember to negotiate and agree upon a price before departing.
Many parts of Havana, such as the Old Town, are best explored on foot, although it’s important to note some streets are cobblestoned. The city’s bus system can also be relied on and will be particularly useful if journeying to the suburbs, while cycles and scooters can be rented for your convenience.
Travel times from the port:
- It is a 40-minute journey to Jose Marti International Airport.
- It is a 30-minute journey to Museo Hemingway Finca Vigia.
- It is a 30-minute journey to Fusterlandia.
- It is a 10-minute journey to Old Havana.
- Currency - Havana and Cuba have two currencies in circulation: convertible pesos (CUC) and Cuban pesos, both of which are divided into 100 centavos. For tourists, payments for accommodation, most food, taxis, bus tickets and tips will likely be payable in CUCs. It’s important to be aware of the dual-currency system in order to avoid confusion. CUCs are available in banknotes of 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1, while there are also 50c, 25c, 10c and 5c coins.
- Time Zone - Havana operates in either Cuba Daylight Time (4 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time) or Cuba Standard Time (5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time) throughout the year.
- Weather – Havana enjoys a tropical climate with sunny weather and warm temperatures all year round. Sea temperatures generally remain above 22 degrees Celsius at all times. The hottest month is usually August, while temperatures drop the most in January. Rainfall is most common between the months of May and October.
- Old Havana – Wander around, step back in time and get lost in vibrant and unique architecture, cobblestoned streets, vintage cars and crumbling buildings from bygone eras. Old Havana is pedestrian-friendly and can easily be explored on foot. Cathedrals, friendly locals, beautiful plazas and bars – new experiences and sights await you around every corner.
- Fusterlandia – Be prepared to be wowed by more colourful creations when you enter the neighbourhood of Jaimanitas or Fusterlandia as it is commonly known. Transformed by painter and sculptor Jose Fuster, you’ll discover pieces of eclectic mosaic artwork on doors, fences, roofing and street poles before reaching Fuster’s own complex, which is fully adorned in quirky treasures.
- Museo Hemingway Finca Vigia – Filled with Ernest Hemingway’s original possessions and carefully restored and preserved, fans of the famous author will consider his Cuban residence a must-see destination. In this house, Hemingway penned novels such as ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ and ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. Visitors are not allowed in the house but are instead guided to open doorways and windows through which they can see inside. The house is complemented by beautifully maintained gardens and Hemingway’s boat.