CubaTop 10 Must-Do Experiences in Havana – Ultimate Bucket List
10 things to do in Havana Cuba

Top 10 Must-Do Experiences in Havana – Ultimate Bucket List

Havana, the capital of Cuba, isn’t just a place you visit; it’s an affair you engage in. Havana isn’t just a city; it’s a vibe. 

When you visit Havana, you come face-to-face with life, raw and unfiltered, promising an experience that’s bound to leave an indelible mark on your soul. 

And then there’s Hemingway, whose storied affair with this island nation began with a single step onto Cuban soil. 

But to get the real magic of Havana, you’ve got to live it yourself. Ready for a wild ride? 

I’m here to nudge you into the deep end with “The 10 Best Things to Do in Havana”.

Here are 10 unmissable experiences that’ll make you head over heels for Havana. Consider this your ultimate Havana bucket list.

10 Unmissable Things to Do in Havana, Cuba

To help you craft an unforgettable travel tale, here are the top must-do things while you’re in Havana – the experiences that will make you fall in love with the beating heart of Cuba.

  1. Classic Car Ride: Experience Havana’s culture in a convertible classic car.
  2. Cuban Drinks: Sip on traditional cocktails like mojitos and Canchancharas.
  3. Rooftop Sunsets: Watch the sunset over Havana from a rooftop for breathtaking views.
  4. Architecture Walks: Explore Havana’s vibrant streets and diverse architectural styles.
  5. Connect with Locals: Engage with the genuine spirit of Cuba through its people.
  6. Savor Lobster: Enjoy fresh, affordable lobster caught from pristine waters.
  7. Cuban Cigars: Appreciate the art of Cuban cigar making, even for non-smokers.
  8. Local Markets: Immerse in the lively atmosphere of Havana’s local markets.
  9. Play Dominos: Participate in Cuba’s traditional and social game with locals.
  10. Art Scene Tour: Discover Havana’s vibrant arts outside museums, from graffito to galleries.

1. Ride in a Convertible Classic Car in Havana

Top Down, Spirits Up

No visit to Havana is complete without cruising through the streets in one of the city’s legendary vintage cars. The sight of a beautifully maintained 1950s automobile against the backdrop of Havana’s colored facades is as photogenic as it is quintessentially Cuban.
The economic embargo and the 1959 revolution effectively ‘froze’ the influx of modern vehicles, thus cementing the cultural dominance of the classic car.
Sure, it’s a tourist thing, but remember, for many Cubans, these antiques aren’t about novelty; they are daily drivers that have become woven into the fabric of their lives.

2. Sip the Spirit of Cuba – Traditional Cuban Drinks

The Cuban cocktail-culture is like a swirling dance, each drink a partner in its own right, leading you into the heart of Cuban social kicks. A national obsession, the mojito reigns as the country’s signature tipple. But don’t overlook the Canchanchara, an ancient mix that played the role of pioneer in the cocktail scene. It’s a concoction rich with history and guaranteed to give you a local high.

The Daiquiri, more than just a mere cocktail, is Cuban history in a chilled glass. Remember, this isn’t the slushie you might be imagining; it’s a refreshingly classic blend of rum, lime, and sweetness that’s a must for any visitor.

3.Watch the Sunset over Havana from a Rooftop

The magic of Havana isn’t confined to its colonial streets; it extends to its rooftops. The best-kept secret of Havana is that dusk is not just an hour; it’s a spectacle. Head up to any of the city’s panoramic perches, with a view that stretches from the Capitolio to the Morro Castle, and watch the sky blaze with a fire that mirrors the passion of its people.

4. Walk the Vibrant Streets of Havana

Havana is a haven for architecture lovers. Wander through the cobblestone streets, where colonial gems rub shoulders with Soviet-style buildings, their facades battered and peeling but still preserving the grandeur of the past. Marvel at the intricacies of wrought iron balconies, and trace the colonial influences that juxtapose the veins of modern-day Havana.

Explore Habana Vieja, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Old City isn’t just a segment of Havana. It’s a living museum of early Spanish colonial settlements. Its alleys, plazas, and buildings are a testament to life in the 18th and 19th centuries, juxtaposed against the daily clamor of the 21st-century streets outside its walls. Lose yourself in this maze of history, and with each step, discover the tales that echo through time.

5.Connect with the Locals – Real Cuba, Real People

6.Eat The Freshest of Lobsters

Cuba’s coastline provides some of the most pristine waters for lobsters to thrive, and for travelers, this means an opportunity to savor some of the freshest, most succulent lobsters at an incredibly affordable price. Try them prepared simply, with just a squeeze of local lime and a sprinkle of salt, to truly appreciate the unadulterated flavor.

 Eat at a paladar, a local home transformed into a restaurant, to get a taste that connects you to both food and the familial essence of Cuban hospitality.

7. Unwind with a Cuban Cigar

Even non-smokers can appreciate the craftsmanship and heritage wrapped up in a Cuban cigar. Take a guided tour of a cigar factory and witness the meticulous process that turns tobacco into art. Or simply find a cozy corner in a local bar, as Hemingway did, and watch the world go by with a cigar in hand.

8. The Liveliness of Local Markets

There’s no better place to capture the essence of everyday life in Havana than at the local markets. The sights, sounds, and the aromas of these bustling hubs are a sensorial overload that translates beautifully into photos. From the vivid colors of the fruits and vegetables to the genuine warmth of the Cuban people, each moment here is a snapshot of the island’s soul. Engage with the vendors, try a freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, and take your time before pressing the shutter. Let the spontaneity of the scene guide you, and you’ll walk away with photos that encapsulate the heart of Havana.

9. A Piece of Havana’s Soul: Play Dominos with the Locals

First on your list — and this one’s non-negotiable — a round of dominos, not just any game. For Cubans, it’s a tradition, a social right, and a slice of life. Ever been to Miami’s Calle Ocho? It’s like a warm-up for Havana. The heart of this vibrant neighborhood beats strongest in Domino Park, where you’ll find folks of all ages locked in intense battles of wits. And the giant domino tiles concreted right befor the park’s entrance? There’s something magical about it, right? Well, Havana takes this love to a whole new level.

10. Explore Havana’s Art Scene – Beyond the Museums

Cuba boasts a flourishing arts scene, and Havana is its radiant center. From the iconic National Art Schools to the modern creativity of Fábrica de Arte Cubano.

Havana’s art isn’t just on the walls of its state-sanctioned museums; it liberally splashes across its streets and alleys. Every graffito is a silent revolution, and every sculpture a monument to immeasurable human spirit.

Explore the Callejón de Hamel, a vibrant alleyway that’s more a collage than a canvas. It’s an open-air expo where art mingles with Afro-Cuban folklore, and you find yourself at the crossroads of faith and fantasy. Take a gallery tour of Havana that doesn’t end with a bill but a bow, and marvel at how Havana’s artists are the conscience of the city.

So, what are the east things to do in Havana, Cuba?

Exploring the Heart of Havana – Top 10 Experiences

Havana, the vibrant capital of Cuba, is not just a city but an experience that leaves a lasting impact on your soul. With a rich tapestry of cultural influences, architectural marvels, and the undeniable spirit of its people, Havana invites you to live its magic firsthand through

“The 10 Best Things to Do in Havana.”
  1. Cruise in a Classic Car: Experience the iconic Havana in a vintage convertible. These well-preserved 1950s cars are more than a tourist attraction; they’re a living piece of Cuban history.
  2. Savor Traditional Cuban Drinks: Immerse in the rich cocktail culture of Cuba. From the world-renowned Mojito to the historic Canchanchara, discover the flavors that define the Cuban social scene.
  3. Watch the Sunset from a Rooftop: Havana’s dusk is a breathtaking spectacle, best viewed from the city’s rooftops. Witness the sky and cityscape ablaze with colors, reflecting the fiery passion of the Cuban people.
  4. Walk the Vibrant Streets: Explore Havana’s architectural marvels, where colonial structures and Soviet-style buildings coexist, telling stories of the past and present through their facades.
  5. Connect with the Locals: Engage with the heart and soul of Cuba – its people. Experience authentic Cuban life by interacting with locals in their everyday settings.
  6. Feast on Fresh Lobster: Cuba’s pristine waters offer some of the freshest lobsters. Enjoy this delicacy, simply prepared, to appreciate its pure flavor.
  7. Unwind with a Cuban Cigar: Even if you’re not a smoker, the art of Cuban cigars is worth experiencing. Visit a cigar factory or relax in a local bar with a hand-crafted cigar.
  8. Experience the Lively Local Markets: The local markets of Havana are a feast for the senses, offering a glimpse into the daily life and vibrant culture of its people.
  9. Play Dominos with the Locals: A round of dominos is essential in Havana. This pastime is a deep-rooted social tradition that offers insight into Cuban life.
  10. Immerse in Havana’s Art Scene: Explore beyond museums. Havana’s streets are alive with art, from graffitis and sculptures to the colorful Callejón de Hamel, showcasing the city’s creative spirit and Afro-Cuban heritage

There you have it, the ultimate Havana bucket list that promises an affair to remember. 🌟

Ready for that wild ride? Havana’s calling, and I think it’s time you answered. Don’t just visit; immerse, engage, and fall madly in love with every corner of this pulsating city.

Ready to experience the best things to do in Havana?

I believe that you can travel the world without quitting your job. I believe that you can experience all the magic, the foodies and the cultures of the world while having a normal life. And, perhaps, two dogs. This is exactly what I’ve been doing for 15 years. This is exactly what my blog is about. Love, Lilia

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