7 free things you can do when visiting Havana

2024-01-10 2024-01-10T16:12:41Z
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Arabia Weather - From stunning views to small parks hidden to the naked eye and Cold War-era basement bunkers, these seven free things to do in Havana will make it easy.

Enjoy the best views in Havana at Estátua de Cristo

The Statue de Cristo Park is the best place to enjoy stunning views of Cuba's capital. Cuban artist Gilma Madeira created the 20-meter (66-foot) statue of Jesus Christ using 67 pieces of white marble from Carrara, Italy.

The statue sits on a 3-meter (10-foot) pedestal and overlooks Havana Bay as well as much of the city, thanks to its great location in Casablanca.

  • Local Tip : The Estátua de Cristo is located 51 meters (167 feet) above sea level and is adjacent to La Habana Cathedral across the bay.

Relax along the seaside promenade

An essential Havana experience, strolling along the seaside promenade at sunset is a unique opportunity to witness the liveliest parts of the city.

Stay here for a few hours and get a glimpse of Cuba in one place: young couples holding hands, street musicians playing traditional Cuban songs, young people blasting reggaeton on portable speakers – you get a little bit of everything just by walking (or sitting) and people-watching.

  • Planning Tip : When the waves are high, the road is often closed to traffic – a perfect opportunity to wander into the middle of the street if you don't mind getting wet along the way

Go Baroque in five colonial squares in Old Havana

Take a walking tour to explore five important colonial plazas around Old Havana. Each square has its own spirit. Plaza de Armas is a green oasis on a sunny day, while Plaza Via is known for its excellent selection of restaurants and coffee shops. Plaza de la Cathedral is home to Havana's most impressive church (which is also free to visit).

Don't miss the nearby artistic Callejón del Chorro. Plaza de San Francisco de Asis is closer to the bay and is a favorite spot for pigeons. Plaza del Cristo – overlooked for decades until Havana's up-and-coming food scene took over – is now the most sought-after and liveliest spot for locals at night.

Visit the extraordinary museums on Calle Mercaderes

Calle Mercaderes (Merchant Street) feels like you're stepping back in time in Havana, with workshops, street vendors and shops scattered among small museums housed in colonial mansions.

For free you can visit Casa de Asia, a small museum celebrating Cuba's relationship with Asian culture; Casa Mocio de Simón Bolívar, which highlights the life of a Latin American liberator; Museo Casa de Oswaldo Guayasamin, hosted in the former studio of the famous Ecuadorian painter; Museo Armeria April 9, small exhibition of historical weapons; and the Tobacco Museum, which displays an often neglected collection of Havana-related artifacts.

Enjoy surreal street art in Fosterlandia

Havana's art scene is nothing short of fantastic, and much of it is free to view. Beyond free galleries and co-ops in central Havana, Fosterlandia, an entire neighborhood dedicated to wondrous art.

Located in the fishing community of Gaimanitas, 16 kilometers (10 miles) west of the city centre, this creative community project was the crazy idea of José Foster, a champion of a popular art style known as “naïve art” and an ardent follower of the Catalan architect António Gaudí.

Fosterlandia developed over 10 years, starting in the 1990s, but did not begin to receive wider attention until the 2010s.

To date, Foster has decorated more than 80 homes in his old, run-down neighborhood with a stunning array of mosaics, wall art, sculpture, and icons.

Aside from the obvious references to Gaudí and Picasso, the artist draws heavily on Cuban themes, from the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria to flags and palm tree symbols. The overall impression is surreal and transcendent.

Consider the life of the "Commander" at the Fidel Castro Ruz Center

Opened in November 2021 on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of Fidel Castro's death, this small complex is located in an elegant villa in Vedado and surrounded by a beautifully landscaped garden. The complex serves as a study center, library, and museum documenting the life and times of the former Cuban leader. Multimedia exhibits are taken up with statues, personal items, photographs and film clips.

Despite its unflinchingly uncritical nature, the Center tells Castro's story in painstaking detail, from his pastoral childhood in Holguin to his embodiment as one of the twentieth century's most prominent figures.

Outside, the grounds and gardens are beautifully designed with 190 species of plants, an artificial waterfall, and an amphitheater for shows and performances. Admission is free, and guided tours are available.

  • Planning Tip : Note that most of the explanatory signs are in Spanish.

Tour of the lower bunkers under the Hotel Nacional

Cuba's Hotel Nacional is the grand dame of hotels, an Art Deco gem and a living catalog of famous guests and historical events. It was a favorite among American celebrities like Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, but it was also one of the headquarters of the 1962 missile crisis.

A free tour offers views of the bunkers under the hotel gardens and links to some landmarks towards the bay and the armory. Visit the lobby and ask about the free comprehensive tour that takes you to some of the hotel's famous halls.


Source: lonelyplanet

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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