Old Havana – A whole new exploration

Cuba exploration

Caribbean countries are warmest and fun places. There is coffee, rum, cigars, and so much history to see that your stay will always seem small. There will be an itch to see more. However, I am chronicling my visit to Cuba last year on Thanksgiving. Although, it seems less likely for anyone to travel this year. But for good time’s sake, I am sharing my experience.

Cuban weather

Like other islands, Cuba has great summer throughout the year. The tropical climate of Cuba is the main attraction for people who love the sun. However, the two distinct seasons are rainy and dry. The former is in the period from May till October. While the latter is from November till April.

This points out to an important fact, that tourist peak season month is in the dry season. I was also traveling in the early peak season. As most travelers fly down on Christmas and New Year I was lucky to have seen the country with fewer tourists around. In simpler words, I will say it is a country of contradictions. On one hand, there is poverty but on the other hand, there are signs of extreme growth. There is a variety of beaches but plenty of forests to be explored. There are people busy selling and buying folklores while the younger generation is busy thinking of start-ups and new ventures.

My best memories are with the young adults of Cuba who were full of ideas for the technology world and most of them even ended up selling those ideas to bigger companies.

So this winter, escape the dread and head to Cuba. Also, it is excellent, that Havana airport has opened up for international flights. So my places of recommendation for a great Cuban holiday are shared with you.

However, one thing of utmost importance is if you have American currency or card, then make sure you carry Cuban currency. Euros and Mexican Peso can be exchanged with much ease. Make sure that you are sorted with a currency other than American dollars.

In this series I will share my Old Havana experience

Old Havana exploration

The most loved tourist spot is Old Havana. Everyone wants to experience the cobblestone streets and see the beautiful architecture that has made this part of  Havana a UNESCO Heritage site.

Catedral de San Cristobal

Catedral de San Cristobal

This is a marvelous piece of architecture. This cathedral is in the cobbled square of Habana Vieja. The entry is free and photography is allowed. The bell tower is beautiful and the work of buildings is magnificent. However, there is a minimal entry fee to the bell tower. The large ceiling, jaded white walls, and the view of the plaza are all reflective of the Cuban Baroque aesthetics. Although, my picture with the bell is not there. However, my prayer for my partner’s mother was answered. If you are a church person then I am sure you’d love to visit this place.

Plaza Vieja

Plaza Vieja

This is the most popular part of Old Havana. The intermittent presence of cafes and restaurants makes it easy for tourists. I had my most breakfasts sitting here. The fresh coffee and the most succulent sandwiches of this country are my first love. Enjoy the great buildings of this square.  Each building has a story, be it the military training period of the 16th century. Or the history of underground car park conversions in the ’50s.

Do add the visit to the camera obscura. It is a 35-meter tower, which when climbed gives a beautiful view of the area. Let me share my experience with the great liquor there. The microbrewery of Old Havana was mind-blowing. This brewery is opened near the harbor at a former wood & tobacco warehouse. Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco

The big wide area is given for live music and the large ceilings make the place quite spacious and airy with the sea breeze cooling off the hot people. Also, this is a frequented spot of locals so you get the real feel of Havana.

Castillo de la Real Fuerza

Castillo de la Real Fuerza

This 16th-century fortress is one of the oldest existing forts in the Americas. This was a military building made under the Spanish rule. Just like the castles of storybooks, this one has a deep moat. The engineering genius has ensured safety with the drawbridge, and ten meters high wall.

The moat now has the present maritime museum that houses Spanish empire relics, sailing boats, weapons, and retrieved treasures from the sea.

I have more to share about Havana from its food to museums and that comes in the second part. However, make sure that you do visit Cuba because you leave a piece of your heart there forever.  

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