It’s known for its stunning white beaches and azure blue waters, but a trip to Cuba is not complete without visiting the island's capital, Havana.
If you love salsa, then you’ll love this city. Home of the Buena Vista Social Club, the most famous Cuban salsa of all, Havana has a thriving live music scene.
And it's the place to practice your dance moves whether in one of the city’s bars or the more well-known venues such as Casa de la Musica situated in the new area of the city ($10 cover).
Cubans are friendly, so don’t be surprised if you get asked to dance. As well as traditional music, you’ll find flamenco shows at El Meson la Flota to entertain you as you dine.
Things to See
Havana is more of a city to relax, eat tasty Cuban cuisine, and drink Cuba Libres while enjoying the music.
The plazas are the places just to while away the hours, people watch and have your picture taken with locals dressed in traditional costumes.
Meandering around Old Havana with its faded pastel-colored houses and Art Deco style is an adventure in itself, losing yourself amongst the back streets and reappearing within one of the plazas.
A visit to the small Chocolate Museum is a must, even if it's just to treat yourself to a chocolate shaped cigar.
For those wanting to learn more about the controversial history of this island, the Revolution Museum gives a good insight into many images, but you will need to know Spanish to understand it.
There’s also an Afro-Cuban tour to learn more about Cuba’s customs and folklore, or you can take an Ernest Hemingway tour and follow the footsteps of this famous writer who once made Cuba his home.
From Havana, you can take a trip to the tobacco fields to the west of the capital to watch how Cuban cigars are made.
There is a bus service, or you can take a day tour if you don’t want to stay overnight.
See also: 4 Exceptional Places to Visit in Cuba
The Best Views of Havana
Although the city has several distinct areas, Old Havana has the most character.
One of the best ways to see this part of the city is from a hotel terrace.
Hotel Ambas Mundos has excellent views of the Christ of Havana across the water from the sixth floor. Opt for Hotel Raquel for a more classical Italian style roof (but there is no bar or restaurant on this one).
The best way to get to the newer part of the city is by taking a big red tour bus.
A day ticket is cheap at just $5 and will take you along the promenade past Revolution Square to the newer part of the city and the beach.
Cuba is also known for its 50s classic American cars, which you can find in Havana operating as taxis.
But if you’re feeling flashy, then hop into a convertible (with a choice of colors) and take a tour around the city in typical Havana style.
If you’ve got longer than a week in Cuba, consider a multi-city holiday by combining Havana with Trinidad before relaxing on a white Caribbean beach in the Holguin area.
This post was brought to you in partnership with Air Transat. Visit their website for flights to Cuba from all major Canadian cities.
Lisa Eldridge is a travel journalist specialising in solo travel. Her background in the travel industry fuelled her passion to see the world and for the last seventeen years, she has travelled extensively as a solo traveller, living and working in numerous countries. She has now been to 100 countries and 60 of these solo.