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Cuba’s capital is one of the world’s most vibrant and colourful cities. Through hundreds of years of trade and political upheaval, the city has become one of the great melting pots of world culture.

When you first step foot in Havana, you’d be forgiven for thinking you have travelled back in time. Hundreds of American cars from the 1940’s and 50’s chug their way past a backdrop of fading colonial splendour. The retro vibe of Havana has come about as a result of the trade embargo enforced by the USA in 1961, leaving the country with an elegant charm unlike anywhere else in the world.

Yet don’t be led to believe that Havana is living off its former glories. Venturing across the city you’re likely to find some of the most passionate, positive and fashionable people you could ever hope to meet. Unsurprisingly, the city has a strong revolutionary quality which keeps the atmosphere fresh and open to the latest trends. What’s more, even in one of the world’s last outposts of communism, the residents aren’t afraid of indulging themselves in the odd all night party. Viva Cuba!

Havana’s cuisine, like the rest of the city, is a fusion of influences from all around the world. Recipes come from Spain, Africa and the Caribbean to create an intense spicy flavour that is used throughout Cuba’s favourite chicken and ham dishes.

Cuba's capital is world famous for its rum. The city became a haven for Americans avoiding the prohibition laws in the 1920s, giving it a cheeky underground cocktail culture that has lasted to this day.

As Cuba is still a communist state, you won’t find any major chain restaurants or bars and you may have to look a little harder to find places to eat and drink due to the lack of on-street advertising. However, the absence of commercial culture does have some great benefits for foodies.

Through the Government’s recent policy of allowing ‘limited private enterprise’, Cubans have started opening their own homes to paying guests who want some truly authentic Cuban cooking. Don’t be afraid to ask local taxi drivers and tour guides for their best recommendations.

One of Havana’s major draws is the remarkable colonial architecture that gives the city a grand cinematic quality. From baroque churches to art deco theatres the legacy of Havana’s past is everywhere you look.

A great way to take in the magnificent buildings is to take a tour in one of the beautifully preserved American classic cars. London may have its open top busses but once you’ve tried sightseeing from a mint green, open top, ’54 Cadillac, you’ll never look back.

Budding Che Guevarras will love visiting the Museum of the Revolution, where you can see artefacts from the uprising that changed the face of 20th Century history and made Cuba the country it is today.

If that all sounds a little intense, then why not find yourself a little secluded beachside bar and while away the evening drinking rum and talking about baseball. (No, we don’t know anything about baseball either but if you want the authentic Cuban experience you’re going to have to blag it).

Location of Havana

Key Facts

  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Cuban Peso
  • Time Difference from UK: -5
  • Flight time: London: 9-10 hours
  • When to go: November to April