El Vedado is currently the center of Havana. The avenue known as La Rampa, is its main artery. In it we can find hotels such as Habana Libre or the Hotel Nacional, restaurants, shops and even airlines.
This route has a length of approximately 4 kilometers.
1. Hotel Nacional
To the right of the Rampa we can find the Hotel Nacional. This was built in 1930 on the Battery of Santa Clara. In the garden we can still see their cannons. This hotel has been declared a National Monument.
It has hosted major celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jhonny Weismuller, Ava Gardner, Robert Redford and Robert de Niro among others.
Also great directors like Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola or Oliver Stone. Alexander Flemming, discoverer of penicillin, also stayed in his rooms.
2. The Coppelia Ice Cream Shop
If we continue climbing the Ramp, we will arrive at a garden located on the right. On the corner with L is the Coppelia Ice Cream Shop. Recognizable by the huge queues at any time of the day.
In it, you can savor up to 27 different ice cream flavors.
The film Strawberry and Chocolate was filmed here. The experience is worth it, but if you want to live it more intensely and not as a tourist, I advise you to change some CUC in national currency in any of your cadecas and live this experience in the area destined for Cubans.
3. Habana Libre
It was inaugurated in March 1958, it was called Habana Hilton.
In its beginnings it happened to be the tallest and largest hotel in all of Latin America, and it counted on its payroll with numerous North American mobsters who dealt with casinos, cabarets, as well as issues related to drugs, beverages and sex. This was normal in the big hotels of Havana, which as you know, were controlled by Al Capone, Meyer Lansky or Santos Traficante among others.
When Fidel made his entrance in Havana in January of ’59, with the triumph of the Revolution, he stayed here, along with part of his army.
He stayed in the Continental suite, room 2324, which became his command post for 3 months.
4. The University of Havana
We continue along Calle L until we meet the University of Havana. In it took place demonstrations of students during the Batista dictatorship, which ended in the Revolution. Night concerts are usually held on its stairs.
5. The Plaza of the Revolution
En route through Vedado we can not miss one of the most emblematic squares of Havana, the Plaza of the Revolution.
In one of the facades you can see a portrait of Che Guevara and in another that of Camilo Cienfuegos, heroes of the Revolution.
It is located between one of the largest squares in the world, it can gather about one million people on such important dates as July 26. This is where Fidel Castro gave his interminable speeches that lasted for hours.
In the center we can see the Monument to José Martí, hero of the Cuban Independence. Inside we can know his life and exploits and take the elevator to the top floor to see a panoramic view of the square.
6. The Cemetery of Colon
The cemetery of Columbus is one of the largest and most beautiful in Latin America. Many of its tombs are authentic sculptural works.
Among them we can highlight the Tomb of the Lion, the Mausoleum of the Firemen or La Milagrosa.
In theory you have to pay to enter, but if you enter without paying, nobody can tell you anything. You also have guided tours that teach you the most interesting tombs and tell you their story. Maybe the best option if you do not want to get lost in that labyrinth of streets.