Havana Cuba

Havana, Cuba has an international reputation for being a city full of music, history, a sparkling night life and friendly people. Founded by the Spanish during the Age of Discovery, it was made a City by King Phillip II of Spain in 1592. It was a safe harbor for Spanish Galleons laden with gold and other treasure before departing for the Old World.

Because of attacks by pirates, corsairs and buccaneers, the Spanish Crown built fortresses for protection. All Spanish ships had to assemble in the Havana harbor and travel together to Spain so the Spanish Armada could protect them better. Several fortresses were built during this period and can still be seen today. This area is called Old Havana and contains many fascinating styles of architecture. Baroque and neoclassic are the main styles in Old Havana, and the government is in the process of restoring the area. Old Havana and its fortresses are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Havana is a city of contradictions with ration shops next to colonial palaces, classic American cars using Russian motors, and the music and energy of all night parties overpowering political sloganeering. The city has seen it all from a commercial port for goods from Latin America as well as slaves from Africa to the center of gambling for North American mafia. Havana has always been at the forefront of Latino culture with innovation including salsa, mambo, Cohiba cigars, Havana Club rum, mural painting and much more.

When the Chinese immigrants brought by the Spanish settlers gained their freedom, many of them settled in Havana. The Chinatown in Havana was the largest in Latin America. Today, the neighborhood is smaller but still vibrant with Chinese culture and a pedestrian-only street in its core with lots of restaurants and cultural decorations.

The greatest thing about Holidays to Cuba and Havana is its power to lure in the visitor to its vibrant, enchanting way of life. A guided tour will show the colonial monuments in Havana Vieja, and visitors can see a late-night cabaret show or walk along the Av de Maceo while the waves crash and spray over the sidewalk. There are also many museums including art and design museums as well as a cold war museum.

The Tropicana is the original club for cabaret shows and the show is well worth seeing. The music, costumes, dancers, hosts and setting are all authentic, professional and beautiful. It is an open air theater with drinks and snacks included in the price.

For visitors with a different kind of evening in mind, there is the Great Theater of Havana, built in 1837 and the home of the National Ballet of Cuba. There is also the Karl Marx Theater which is the venue for international and local artists and seats 5500.

All the contradictions of class and culture have been absorbed by the Cuban people to create a city like no other in the world. It doesn’t have spectacular natural scenery or monuments, but it has genuine atmosphere for a holiday truly out of the ordinary.