Old Havana was declared Heritage of the Humanity in 1981.
Now I am going to show you a sample of a route in order that you visit the monuments and the most representative streets, but do not forget to visit other streets out of this route to be able to know how the Cuban lives, real Cuba, which the majority of the tourists do not know.
This walk has a tour of approximately 2,5 kilometres. It is possible to do calmly walking, doing photos and taking something occasionally while there is enjoyed his impressive architectural set simultaneously that is enjoyed his music while you take a little in someone of his many bars that you will find in the route.
1. Central Park
The Central Park is placed in one of the zones most travelled of the Havana. It is a very tourist zone because here tourists find the hotels with more captivation of the Havana and is a zone of step to accede to the Old Havana. In him there meet every morning a group of fans of the baseball to discuss the tactics of his players.
This square surrounded with palms, is the point of union between the Old Havana and Havana Center.
In the center we can observe the statue of Jose Martí, hero Nacional of the Cuban independence and the first one that was raised in Cuba. This monument inaugurated in 1905 in commemoration of 10 º anniversary of his death.
We will begin the route for the Old Havana in the Central Park. Around it we can see some of the buildings and more emblematic sites of the city.
The central park is very close to the streets Obispo and O’Reilly, these will lead you to the historical to the old town of the Old Havana.
Between the Great Theatre of the Havana and the Hotel England, we have the Boulevar San Rafael, it might say that it is a street Obispo relates of the famous Street. It occupies more than 20 streets and comes up to the University of the Havana in Vedado.
In the left side of the Great Theatre of Havana we see the Capitolio of the Havana, which is a copy of the congress of Washington, and the Park of the Fraternidad, which was built in 1892 to commemorate the fourth centenary of the discovery of America.
In this zone we will be able to see great quantity of ancient American cars, known like almendrones, that are used as collective taxis on the part of the Cuban. They work as buses and have his own routes.
For the tourist it is more comfortable to take the taxi, but it does not stop being an experience to prove a day this way of transport. Recommend you to ask for the price before taking the taxi.
2. The Floridita
Since the first obligatory stop we have the Floridita.
It is famous for two things, for being one of Hemingway’s favorite sites and for being the cradle of the Daiquirí. In you will be able to enjoy Cuban live music.
The place is small and is very crowded. The drinks are not barters compared with other sites. Obliged moment is a photo to be done by Hemingway’s statue that is supported in the bar.
The Street Obispo
In 1519, four years after the Havana was founded, Obispo designed the street. It is a long and narrow street in which his buildings do not have any more than three or four floors of height.
It is one of the most commercial and crowded zones of the city, an incomparable place to experience the atmosphere of the Old Havana.
To half of the street Obispo, to the right, opposite to the number 408, you have a market outdoors in that you will be able to buy recollections.
A street down below, it forms a corner with Compostela, you will find la Dichosa (3), one of my favorite places to stop and have a drink while enjoying good live music..
When the musicians do a stop to rest they spend the basket and offer his music for the one that wants to buy it. The place is small and the good environment.
A street down below, it forms a corner with Havana, in the sidewalk of face you have the Lluvia de Oro (4), bigger and spacious, I surround other one where to do stop and to taste a good mojito, strained pineapple…
On the corner of Obispo with Mercaderes we can see the Hotel Ambos Mundos (5).
In the fifth floor, in the room 511, Ernest Hemingway resided the prize Nobel prize of literature between the year 1932 and 1939. Here he wrote works as ” For whom they double the bells “, ” The old man and the sea ” or “farewell to arm”
Do not stop visiting the bar that exists in the terrace and taking anything while you enjoy the sights that these hotel offers us, the street Obispo.
This street possesses also the title of being the one that more books, for square meter, it shelters in the whole Cuba. In her there can be seen teachers’ works of the Cuban literature as Jose Martí, Alejo Carpentier or Leonardo Padura. Also it possesses the complete works of Hemingway, Fidel Castro or the Che Guevara, without forgetting the works of contemporary Cuban authors.
6. The square of weapon
The Plaza of Weapon happens for being one of the most ancient and beautiful of the Havana. This one was constructed shortly after the city was founded, in 1519. It was the center of administrative officer in colonial times.
Former it was known as the Plaza of the Church, since in her the first church of the Havana was staying. The name Plaza of Weapon took place at the end of the 16th century, when the governor of the colony, who was living to the side, in the Castle of the Royal Force, started using this square to realize military exercises.
The lot of the former church occupies it now, the Palace of the General Captains. This one was his residence from 1791. When it finished the colonial domination of the Spanish, it happened to be the headquarters of the Interfering Government of the USA between the year 1898 and 1902.
Presidential palace of the Cuban Republic until 1913, and Town hall of the Havana until the year 1967, year in which the National Museum was destined to shelter.
From the square we can observe the Castle of the Royal Force. This one was the first strength that was constructed in Cuba. In the high of his tower we can see his famous vane with a recreation of the Giraldilla, copy of that of Seville and that appears in the label of his famous ron Havana Club.
This square possesses a park formed by palms and ceibas. In his center one finds a statue of other one of the Cuban heroes, Manuel de Céspedes, who stood out in the war of Ten Years. Aside there is another sculpture, that of the King Español Fernando VII, who was presiding at this square between the year 1834 and 1955.
This square receives a small fair formed by booksellers and collectors. In her you can find books and tickets and ancient coins, images and objects of interest of Jose Martí, Fidel Castro or the Che Guevara.
7. The Plaza of San Francisco
From here, for the Street of the Oficios, we come to the Plaza of San Francisco. In her they find the Convent of San Francisco de Asís and his church of baroque style.
Opposite, the Lonja del Comercio, where stands out a dome crowned with the statue of Mercury and for a source of white marble, the source of the Lions.
8. The Old Square
If we take the streets Muralla or Teniente Rey we come to the Old Square. This one was constructed in 1559.
We can also go by Mercaderes from Obispo Streets, turning right on the corner of the hotel Ambos Mundos.
This one was in use in his origins for practising military exercises and public executions. Later it turned in bullring and on market.
Nowadays, this square possesses numerous restaurants and terraces, between them, a brewery that serves beer and malt of own production, and in that you can see which is his process of production.
In the zone west you can see a set of colonial houses that possess some of the best windows.
10. Plaza of The Cathedral
It takes Mercaderes, direction Obispo and you will come to the Plaza of the Cathedral.
In the way you will meet the Museum of the Chocolate (9). In you will be able to think a warm, cold chocolate, or to buy chocolates and to rest and to refresh yourself with his air conditioning after a long trek.
It is one of the nicest squares of the Old Havana. In the same one you will be able to see several palaces with his porticoes in which you will be able to protect yourself from the Sun or from the tropical storms.
In 1560 it was a swampy place known as the Plazuela de la Ciénaga. Drained and in her the Hermitage of San Ignacio was constructed.
The Cathedral had just be constructed in 1777 in this lot, was paved and turned into the favorite place of the wealthiest families, where they ended up by constructing his palaces.
In 1796 Christopher Colón’s remains were moved to the Cathedral of the Havana, and in 1898, by the Cuban independence, his ashes travelled to Spain, where they rest since then in the Cathedral of Seville.
In this square we can observe a statue of bronze to natural size of the dancer Antonio Gades, supported on a column of Lombillo’s Palace, which is what it was in the habit of doing before entering the bar The Court. He was a defender of the Cuban revolution.
His remains rest in Sierra Maestra, in the mausoleum dedicated to the soldiers.
11. The Bodeguita del medio
Together with the Floridita, one of the most famous bars of the Havana. On the counter there is a legend that he says ” Hemingway was taking here his Mojito “
Sit in the Bodeguita del Medio and enjoy that unique atmosphere. Their shelves are filled with memories of visitors like Hemingway, Fidel Castro, Pablo Neruda or Salvador Allende among others, who took a Mojito in their tin bar.
His walls are covered of thousands of signatures that the tourists are leaving to his step along this so emblematic place. His food, though slightly expensive, it is good.