Things to do in Havana, Cuba

After spending 4 amazing days in the capital of Cuba, we could have given you a list of 100 different things that you can try here. However, we have compiled a little list for you of things to do that you simply cannot miss!

Get lost in Old Havana

Every corner has a different story. From a random store, kids playing football against the wall, a hidden cocktail bar or a children’s playground, the streets of Old Havana have so much character. It must be noted that there is plenty of poverty and perceived oppression here (as it is a communist nation) but all the locals we spoke to are happy and friendly and very accommodating.

AdventureFaktory Havana Guide
No matter what photo you will take, they will always want payment. Another person that wanted compensation! Be prepared for it in Cuba and to be numb about it. It’s okay to save up coins to give people that will pose for you for a nice portrait, that’s understandable, but don’t bother for these shots and just ignore them!  📸 Shot on @CanonME 5D Mark IV

Taking in the colours of the city

Pictures. Take plenty of them. Even if you are not a huge picture person, it is a great way to capture the city. As you have seen with countless images, there is so much colour in this city, in weird and wacky colour combinations. Finding a pink wall next to a green and blue house is not uncommon and unique to Havana.

AdventureFaktory Havana Guide

Taste the amazing Mojitos

Havana is home to the daiquiri. So when you are here you simply need to have one. Most streets have bars with their very own Cuban blended version of a mojito, but if you want the most famous, there is only one place to go. El Floridita, the cocktail bar was made famous by writer Earnest Hemingway, known for “the best daiquiris in the world”! This is a tourist hub, so it will be busy. Try and get there as soon as they open to avoid a crowd.

La Floridita – Obispo #557 esq. Monserrate Old Havana

Find other good Mojito Places here.

AdventureFaktory Havana Guide
No line up this time… this place has its days where you can easily get a line up to get in.  📸 Shot on @GoProME @GoPro HERO5.

Visit the Revolution Museum

The museum has a rather intimidating exterior full of protected fighter planes and army tanks with guards surrounding the building in a somewhat menacing manner. However, one you get inside, you will be surprised at how much information there is. You will also develop an appreciation for the culture and understand their way of life a whole lot better.

 Calle Refugio 1, Havana 10600, Cuba

Take a sunset on Malecon

Plenty of locals and tourists spend their time in the late afternoon looking out towards the ocean watching the sun disappear. There are people fishing with wooden poles, musicians playing their songs and ladies selling fruit and sugary goodies. The El Morro castle is opposite where everyone sits, and provides an awesome backdrop for the sunset. Bring some spare change for some snacks.

Enjoy a classic car ride

Every single street you visit, there are literally thousands of 1950’s classic cars which are immaculately maintained. The city is stuck in a time warp from before the trade embargos set by the US Government. Most of the cars are available for hire, so get your negotiation skills ready as you can see who gives you the lowest price for a drive.

AdventureFaktory Havana Guide
If only we could bring a few back… this one and one pink convertible please!   📸 Shot on @CanonME 5D Mark IV

Chase decent food

One thing Cuba is known for is: not having great food. Most of your friends that have been would probably say that they hated the food. So did we. Although, if you take some time to chase around some decent places, try to look carefully to locals houses if they have a sign on their window. They might have delicious seafood for you to feast on starting from 10 CUC.

Then you must go to El Cocinero, in Vedado in an abandoned factory where is also La Fabrica, a known fun bar/art gallery. La Barraca in Hotel Nacional is quite popular among the visitors of Cuba. San Cristóbal in Central Havana looks like someone’s house… because it is! The the Obamas, Mick Jagger, Beyonce, Jay Z and probably others have eaten here. Don’t miss out!

Find other good food joints here.

Walk into Havana Vieja

As you walk into this square, you can feel how grand it is. The size is immense and makes you feel tiny standing in it. This is a great photo spot with plenty of symmetry and unique architecture.  There are some really cool little bars (charging tourist prices of course) where you can sit back with a Cuban coffee and people watch all day.

AdventureFaktory Havana Guide

Get cultured in Callejon de Hamel

One of our favorite spots in Havana and also the most colourful. A little side street full of unique Cuban artwork is full of random cool wall paintings and metal statues that ooze creativity. There are wall murals of every colour and they use every bit of recycled metal to create. We loved the bathtubs on the wall (yes, you read that correctly). There is a very cool lemonade stand there which is the most refreshing thing you can have on a steamy hot summer day.

Have a drink and watch the sunset at the Kempinski

The newly opened first Luxury hotel of Cuba, the Kempinski, has a beautiful view down the Central Plaza, overlooking the capitol and the art museums’ beautiful rooftop. If you are not a guest of the hotel, you HAVE to come have a viewing of this great sight from the 6th floor, where is the rooftop bar you can see behind us. Note that you won’t be able to pay to use the pool as it is exclusively for guests only.

Our awesome hotel Kempinski overlooking the Capitol   📸 Shot on @GoProME @GoPro HERO5.

Mangoes anyone?   📸 Shot on @CanonME 5D Mark IV
Our awesome hotel Kempinski overlooking the Capitol   📸 Shot on @GoProME @GoPro HERO5.
Local vendor   📸 Shot on @CanonME 5D Mark IV
More street vendors with their fruits   📸 Shot on @CanonME 5D Mark IV

Cute dog – the people in the house literally screamed “1 Cu! 1Cu!” as they wanted payment for the photo…   📸 Shot on @CanonME 5D Mark IV

Voilà. That was our guide to Havana. Hope it will help you prioritize the things you must do while visiting the city and get the most out of it. As for us, we personally loved it. As it was the summer, it was quite hot and difficult to visit at midday, so we stayed long at the hotel in the AC and in the beautiful pool at the Kempinski. We wish that at that temperature, we could’ve had more time to be able to stroll the streets and get lost. We thought Havana seemed sketchy at first, as we felt uncomfortable holding expensive camera equipment. Now that the trip is over, we have to admit that in the end, it was quite safe as the locals really get in trouble if they mess with the tourists. Make sure that if you visit Havana, save yourself 3-4 days. Safe travel!

Adiós!
  • So here is our list! Do you like it? Have we missed out on anything that you believe needs to be included? Let us know!
  • Have you ever visited Cuba? If you have been, what is your favorite thing about Havana?
  • If you haven’t what are your impressions of the place? Would you go?

If you like this article, follow our Adventures on Facebook, YouTubeTwitter, Instagram @adventurefaktory, Snapchat AFtravels, to keep up with new posts and updates!

Best Things To Do in Havana
Pin This Post!
More from Mitch

InstaMeet #LifeOnEarthWWIM13

Friday 22nd of April 2016 was the Worldwide InstaMeet 13! We joined thousands...
Read More
  • The Partying Traveler

    These pictures are amazing! I fell in love with Havana so hard. I can’t wait to go back.

  • I love the colonial architecture of Cuba, it’s one of those countries that seems to have stopped in time! Amazing pictures.
    I’d love to visit before it changes too much, I’ll be pinning this for future reference! 🙂

  • A lot of cultural vibes here. And those colorful buildings do seem interesting. Adding the vintage touch are those cars. I like the sound of Cuba

  • Sandy & Vyjay

    The names Havana and Cuba never fail to evoke a sense of intrigue and mystery in me. Your pictures capture the charm and colour of Havana so well. It is so colourful and there is so much to see and experience. The classic cars are my favourite apart from walking around the streets.

  • Neha Verma

    That seems like a beautiful city with lots of colorful buildings. And some vintage cars to try. I have never been to this part of the world. The culture, environment and everything looks very different. I would love to travel here sometimes

    • If you come to that part, please don’t miss Cuba!

  • Abhinav Singh

    Haha. I read that before as well that food in Cuba is bad. Though I agree with you, if one digs deeper good food is never away in any destination. Hope they have vegan options though. Cuba as a travel destination is making all the right buzz off late. I first got interested in traveling to this region after reading the famous Motor Cycle Diaries by Che Guevara. Hope to follow his trail someday.

    • Vegan for sure, you will get tons of basic – but again we are sure if someone dig deep, it will be found! We hope you get to follow his trail as well!

  • Adventurous Travels

    I love the vibrancy of Latin/Central American cities – the colors, the chaos and the street food. It all seems so much more straightforward and real than in the Western, obsessed with political correctness, and over sensitive countries. Cuba is my dream, hope I’ll visit soon 🙂
    Flavio

    • Hope you realize your dream soon! The chaos is indeed quite fun and makes you want to dig more and blend in!

  • Sridhar Salian

    I will be traveling to Cuba soon and stumbled on to your site. I love it! I love your long bucket list and all the things you have experienced. Thanks for sharing everything here!

  • Gokul

    I need that classic car ride. That is so unique to the place.

  • Jennifer @ MatDifference

    I really want to go to Havana, Cuba before the hordes of American Tourists arrive. I love how the buildings still have their old world charm. I loved this guide and will use it when I start planning Cuba

  • Would love, love, love to go to Cuba on day, and get lost in the old Havana! That city is so colourful and filled with beautiful antique cars! I know I won’t be able to stop clicking on the camera. The view from the Kempinski looks great, btw! I’d be torn whether to just stay by the pool all day long or go out and explore! 😀

    • We had to try to not snap at every corner! We sure were torn about just lounging instead of walking haha!

  • Havana is high on my bucket list. I would love to take a ride in one of the classic cars or watch the sunset from El Morro castle. Thanks for the tips.

  • Son Nguyen

    These pictures are extraordinary! I planned to go to Havana, Cuba this summer but sadly I cannot make it.. Gonna bookmark this post for my next year trip!

  • Tasha Haley

    Wow! I really want to go to South America but had never thought of Cuba. Haha i find it funny how the locals want paid for you to take their photo, as if they are models or something! I love the architecture here, the buildings really are amazing!

  • We were close to visiting Cuba in May but opted for Canada instead. I’m sure we would’ve enjoyed it though and now we have a list when we decide to go there. Love the photos you captured here

  • Melody Pittman

    First of all, I LOVE your pictures! You showcased Havanna extremely well. I recently visited and think this is a great list of things to do! My favorite thing was seeing all of the classic cars, so I love that you have pictures with the cars, too!

  • Archana Singh

    Beautiful pictures. You have captured the true beauty of Havana, Cuba. The buildings are so gorgeous. Revolution Museum seems to be my kind of place. A very informative post. Love your video too.

  • Punita Malhotra

    Will I be able to put away my camera in Cuba and stop taking photographs? A remote possibility of doing that. Such incredibly interesting street scenes and look at all those colors!

    • Haha it was tough fo rus to not take photos while walking!

  • I am in love with your sunglasses in the video! I also love how colourful Havana is! My partner and I have wanted to head to Cuba for a while now and will definitely put a pin in Havana as a possibility. He loves classic cars so it might just work out 🙂

    • Glad you love the sunnies! Come on guys, you both have to go asap! Classic car paradise and all!

  • Sherianne Higgins (SherianneKa

    Great images, major destination envy right now. Such great information, pinning for (near) future travel!

    • It’s also the trend now somehow…everyone is like posting about it on their social! It’s time to go!

  • Danik Bates

    Havana has always been on the list for me and would love to check out all those cars and facades of buildings. Loving your photos 🙂

  • Sonia Sahni

    I would love to take a 100000 pics with the colourful cars…how cool. The Kempinski seems like an awesome place with great views. I would love to lounge by the pool and sip on some great mojitos, as you have receommended!

    • Was too tempting to just sip on mojitos by the pool for the whole 4 days !!

  • Victoria J. Yore

    Getting lost in a new place is one of our favorite things to do! Old Havana looks so historic and beautiful I’m sure we wouldn’t mind wandering there for hours!

  • Snow to Seas

    Really useful and informative post! It’s fascinating to see Havana already changing with new hotels and all (I visited the city over 7 years ago). I would definitely love to go back for a second visit and spend more time in the city. Tasting those mojitos will be a must.

  • Bernie

    It’s a whole colour scheme of its own. Beautiful pics, interesting destination, I love the rooftop views; most people’s trips are very much focused on the detailed pictures, but to get the overarching view is a whole new perspective on the city.

  • Lovely pics! You’ve covered all the parts about Cuba which might interest us and quite frankly we love it! Thanks for the tips about paying people for the photos. We can see how we could have been fleeced several times over while shooting on the streets.

    • OR you can carry around a bunch full of dollars and take as many photos as you like as well -) You might get more accessibility to things if you do…

  • Havana looks like a rustic city with colorful doors and houses. Classic cars of bright colors on the cobbled-stoned streets looks beautiful in your photos. I would love to go to Revolution Museum to know about more of this place.

    • The museum certainly increased our knowledge of what was happening in the culture and how it impacts todays’ Cuba.

  • Two Nerds Travel

    First off, what beautiful photos! They all made me miss Cuba something awful (I visited in May). Second, I agree with your list of things to do. The mojitos are to die for—I wish I had one right now—and there’s nothing more magical than watching the sun set from the Malecon. The colors in Havana are also so beautiful; you really captured those nicely here. 🙂 Makes me want to go back!

    • I’m glad to hear more good stories about Cuba. A few people have contacted us and told us they didn’t enjoy Cuba that much which was surprising, but I can see where are are coming from as well…

  • Maegan White

    I really want to visit Havana! I love all the colors!

  • sophie

    This looks so much fun! I feel like I should be going to Havana like now now! I would love to try out the Vintage car first! It is the things which I have been wanting to do from long! Thanks for sharing guys! great inspiration! Cheers!

    • Book your tickets soon before tourism really kicks in!! We hope you enjoyed our article

  • Steph Huff

    Hi, fellow Canadian here 🙂 your photos are just too dreamy, I can’t handle. I need to visit Cuba now <3

    • Another Canadian! Yay! Make sure you check out more of our articles for info about Cuba!

  • Yolanda @ Inspire & Wander

    I really want to go to Cuba, on my bucket list for sure. Love your photography and that pink convertible…😍

    • There are literally dozens of those cars, we were spoilt for choice!

  • Ketki Gadre

    I love the street photography you have done here. Looks like a really nice, colourful and eventful place.

  • I want to go sooo bad! I love all the photos here (it looks like such a photogenic place), and I’m definitely saving this for when I go!

    • We literally took thousands of photos while we were there!

  • LYNE。

    Wow I love all your shots and that mini video was great too !

    • As much as we love Cuba, it is still a poor place and many will still take advantage of tourists, so you need to be aware of that!

  • Michelle Chumbley

    Oh my goodness your pictures are fabulous! I can definitely see what you mean when you say there are lots of colors in the city. Thanks for the handy tips of what to do.