Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Jun 2012
18-24 year old female
I am from London and currently living in Mexico. I have definitely caught the Latin American bug, after having lived and worked in El Salvador, Cuba and Paraguay! Wherever I go, I think it is important to embrace the local culture and language.
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Monuments & Statues
Cemeteries, Historic Sites, Neighborhoods
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Havana's most famous museum is located in the former presidential palace of the 1950's dictator Fulgencio Batista. Following the 1959 Revolution, it was converted into a museum to hold artifacts and tell the story of the Revolution which removed Batista from power.
Located on the west side of the Plaza de Armas, Havana's oldest square, the Museum of the City is housed in the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, which dates from the 1770s. It was originally the residence of Spanish captain generals, in colonial times, and later the base of US military governors. Here, the artifacts on display range from period furniture to military uniforms, telling the story of Havana's colorful history.
Located in Plaza Vieja and said to be the only camera obscura in Latin America, from the roof of the Gomez Villa building, you can see the whole of Habana Vieja through the 360-degree-rotating telescopic lens located in the building's tower. The presentation is quite short, but is worth the visit to get a great view of Habana Vieja and the Bay of Havana.
Easily one of Havana's best museums, the Museo Napoleonico contains about 7000 objects associated with the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. The collection was amassed by Julio Lobo and Orestes Ferrera, and is housed in Ferrara's former residence, the Villa Fiorentina, a beautiful and vast Renaissance-style mansion built in the 1920s.
It's worth the trip to Miramar to see this 1:1000 scale model of the city of Havana. Originally created for urban planning, it's now a tourist attraction. Notice the model is also helpfully color coded, according to which historical period a building is from.
El Cristo de La Habana, was commissioned in 1953 and is the work of Cuban sculptor Jilma Madera. From this viewpoint, you can get panoramic views of the city.
The Parque Histórico Militar Morro-Cabaña site can be visited during the day, or at night, depending on what you want to see. Irrespective of when you visit however, there are spectacular views of the city and the sea to enjoy. The site is divided into two parts, the Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes Magnos del Morro and the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña. The Castillo is the part with the lighthouse, which can be climbed, and also houses a maritime museum. The Fortaleza has two museums, one which contains arms related to the fort's history, and another with Che Guevara artifacts.
Set across two sites, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes has one location dedicated to Cuban Art (Trocadero between Agramonte & Av de las Misiones), and another to International Art (Centro Asturiano by Parque Central, on the way to Obispo). The International site has art from 500 BC to present day, while the Cuban site features a mixture of traditional portraits to modern pieces, displayed in chronological order across three floors. Look out for the works of artists like Wilfredo Lam and Raúl Martínez.
Rum is obviously one of the products that Cuba is most famous for. At the Museo del Ron, you can learn about the rum-making process from its beginnings as freshly-cut sugar cane to its distillery, and then the different aging processes.
It's hard to escape the figure of José Martí whilst in Cuba: There are statues of him everywhere, with most towns featuring a Plaza Martí of some size. Cubans refer to him as their national martyr for the role he played in the Cuban War of Independence (1895-1898). This small museum is the house that Martí was born in and contains artifacts which tell the story of his early years, his political activism, and the years he spent traveling in Latin America to raise awareness and support for Cuban Independence.
The Colon Cemetery was founded in 1876, in Vedado, and covers 140 acres (57 ha). The cemetery is said to have more than 500 major mausoleums, chapels, and family vaults, many of which feature elaborate sculpted decorations or statues. There are also several monuments to political leaders and memorials to different moments of Cuban history here. The most visited tomb, often seen as a place of pilgrimage for Cubans, is that of Amelia Goyri, otherwise know as La Milagrosa.
More of a chocolate café than a museum, the Museo del Chocolate features several cabinets that hold artifacts commonly used in cocoa production in Cuba and Latin America. Either visit the main part, which is a café, or the shop on the side which sells various chocolate novelties such as chocolate cigars.
The Fabrica de Arte Cubano (F.A.C.) opened in 2014, and has since become a vibrant arts space enjoyed by young Cubans and tourists alike. Housed in a former power station and run by Cuban musician X-Alfonso, F.A.C. is a relaxed, innovative space that features live concerts, plays, dance performances, lectures, workshops and audio-visual presentations. F.A.C. also showcases Cuban photography, visual arts, architecture and design, across various exhibition spaces. Even if the varied program features nothing that catches your eye, enjoy a drink from one of the bars, and relax and meet new people in one of the seating areas or outdoor spaces.
US writer Ernest Hemingway lived at this property from 1939 to 1960 (when he returned to the US). He left it and its contents to the 'Cuban people,' and it has not been altered since Hemingway left. While visitors are not allowed inside the property, there are enough open windows and doors to be able to see everything from the outside.
One of Havana's smallest museums, it is from this apartment that Fidel Castro and others planned the 26 July 1953 attack on the Moncada barracks. The apartment once belonged to brother and sister, Abel and Haydee Santamaría. After the unsuccessful attack on the barracks, Abel was captured, tortured and killed by the Batista regime. The simply-decorated apartment has been preserved, with the calendar frozen on 25 July 1953, in tribute to him. This spot is particularly recommended if you want to find out more about the Cuban Revolution and the people who played a part in it: Museo Abel Santamaría offers a more human perspective to that of the Museo de la Revolución.