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“The cannon ceremony is a must see event!”

Ranked #27 of 280 things to do in Havana
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: An enormous fortress that fires its cannon every night.
Reviewed July 13, 2015

The cannon ceremony takes place every evening at Castillo de San Carlos de la Cabana and is performed by young military men; the men who performed the evening we attended were Venezuelan soldiers. The canonazo ceremony is a tradition started in the 17th century. A cannon would be fired to alert the community that the gates would be closed to the city.

Cubans come out in force to experience this ceremony; as visitors, my wife and I really enjoyed the ceremony. A group of men in period costumes march to the cannon in the fort; a flame handler is at the cannon preparing to handle lighting and shooting. Starting at approximately 8:40 pm, the march to the cannon begins. Then the fire handler begins a recitation. This leads up to the canon being fired once at 9:00pm to end the ceremony.

Even though this ceremony happens each evening, there is a real event feel when you arrive. There are lots of things for sale without a real hard sell. Arrive early and enjoy the Castillo before the crowds grow. You will also be able to get a great spot on the grounds to the rear of the cannon.

This is quite an experience and should be seen at least once during any stay in Havana.

1  Thank jonahNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 7, 2015

Take the hop on off bus route 2 to the castle (5 Euro return). We went in the afternoon but most of the smaller rooms within the complex were closed, except for the church! Beware! Keep your entrance ticket. we experience some hassle from attendants, being asked for our ticket, which had been taken from us at the entrance. We felt uncomfortable so we left.

Thank MaryMcI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2015

We went to the 9:00 PM cannon firing. We were running a little late and we planned on coming back so we did not see as much as we should have. However the period actors were great and very friendly. I feel the cannon firing was not historically accurate. The period actors walked around swinging a flame round and round. A bad practice if black powder is around. They also only used two of the four tools used in the day to fire the cannon. (http://www.nps.gov/foma/learn/education/upload/Cannon-Equipment.pdf) Another downside is modern day Cuban soldiers in uniform handled the powder. I feel the modern day look did not belong in the ceremony. That said it was a positive experience.

There were a lot of vendors after you came in the fort. There were also some modern day signs hanging inside the entrance of the fort.

I am not being a pro American, everything is better here type of guy when I say Saint Augustine is better as far as being historically accurate. They have a much more historically accurate cannon firing. The one in Havana is more for show. That said, I recommend everyone go. In fact we were going to return but my mother became very ill and was confined to the bed for our last day in Havana. On the other side the Cuban fort is much bigger and has a much better view.

Just for info sake we had a taxi pick us up downtown, drop us at the fort, come back at 9:30 P.M. to pick us up for 20 CUC. We did not pay until he got us home to the Casa. Beware of scammers as one taxi driver lied and said he was sent to pick us up because the original taxi driver was broken down.

Thank CharlieGates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2015

I visited the fortress during the 2015 Habana Bienal. There were excelent expositions of contemporary cubn art. Besides this it has the best vista on Habana.

Thank John C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 25, 2015

Forteleza de San Carlos de la Cabana rests along the river across from Old Havana, offering a wonderful wide perspective of the city. The panoramic views, along with its history, are the best part of this attraction and warrant a visit. These points earned my 4 star review.

The Fort is laden with Spanish-Cuban history, however I wasn't as impressed as I expected to be since this is the largest fort in the Americas. St. Augustine in Florida provides a far superior experience.

There is nightly canon fire at 9pm. I was very excited to see this show, and so were the hundreds of other tourists. Unfortunately when they explained there would be a canon fired, that's exactly what it is... one canon fired once. It seemed to be a lot of build up for a lackluster finish.

After the show vendors were displaying their goods along one of the cobbled streets. It was a lively display. And doors leading to various exhibits of the fort also opened. I wondered why they weren't open earlier.

Do not eat at El Bodegon. This was our worst dining experience in Cuba. I'm sure it was pre-prepared frozen food only heated in a microwave when we ordered. The staff was also disappointing, and seemed to be more interested in watching the TV hanging on the wall. And it was overpriced, and mold was growing on the ceiling!

3  Thank XplorMor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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