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The Travel Well Guide
City: Havana State: N/A Country: Cuba
Havana is the capital city, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city is one of the 14 Cuban provinces.The city has an urban area over 3.5 million, making Havana the largest city in both Cuba and the Caribbean region. The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay.The importance of the old city (Habana Vieja) and the fortifications were recognized in 1982 when they were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Because of the country's political isolation, the historic areas have not been invaded by fast-food chains or identikit coffee shops, and they are all the better for this. In some places, the dilapidation veers from the picturesque to the pitiful, but even then it manages to be photogenic. Government-funded restoration programmes are managing successfully to bring buildings back into use without ruining their character. The city's links with and importance to the region's trade with Europe are evident in the many treasures in its wonderful museums. Havana is the last place one would expect to find a marble bust of Marie Antoinette, but she is in the Museum of Decorative Arts, along with Meissen, Sevres, Imari and Worcester porcelain, English landscape paintings and furniture, Chinese screens and more than 33,000 European paintings. Among the other 50 or so museums there are those dedicated to fine arts, Afro-Caribbean religious artefacts and Arabic and Asian arts. The must-see museums, however, are the Museum of the Revolution, the former Presidential Palace, and the Hemingway Museum.But Havana is not just about its beautiful buildings and its museums; this city and its people have a vibrant character, as you would expect from a nation whose national drinks are rum, daiquiris and the mojito and whose national dance is the samba. Even though poor in material terms, Havana's near-five centuries of existence have made it rich in history, music, culture and food.
Climate | When to Visit
Visit during: April to December
Directions | How to Reach
By Air: Havana is served by Jose Marti International Airport. It lies about 11 km south of the city center, and is the main hub of Cubana de Aviación. Jose Marti International Airport is Cuba's main international and domestic getawayBy Rail: Havana has a network of suburban, interurban and long-distance rail lines, the only one in the Caribbean region.By Road: The Havana public buses are carried out by two divisions, Omnibus Metropolitanos (OM) and MetroBus. The Omnibus Metropolitanos division has one of the most used and largest urban bus fleets in the country.