Havana Classic Cars

Havana Streets and Classis Cars

For more information for planning your next Havana Holidays visit http://www.cubaweb.com or http://www.cuba.ca/

Havana !!! Fascinating evocative Capital of an extraordinary country of Cuba
Holidays in Havana feature a wonderfully colourful evocative city and offer an endlessly fascinating insight into the cultural life of its amazing people. Holidays in Havana are sure to leave a lasting impression, such is the strength of Cuban character and culture on display here an intoxicating cocktail of fascinating contradictions with its fading colonial grandeur, its street life, its museums, its Cuban rhythms, those famous 1950’s cars, thousands of bicycles, immaculately dressed school children, and the irrepressible good-natured Cubans themselves......
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HAVANA CUBA - After 80 years of world changing history it has finally happened. One of the most famous notorious hotels in the world is celebrating its birthday. The carpets are worn and the rooms have a musty feel. Yet Havana's iconic Hotel Nacional, which marked its 80th birthday last month, wears its slightly shabby elegance with pride, an aging beauty a bit past its prime.

This Cuban hotel has welcomed the worlds most famous movie stars and mobsters alike, but today's visitors are mostly flip-flop-wearing tourists from Britain and Spain hoping to get a taste of the past at the apricot-colored monolith on Havana's seaside Malecon boulevard.

Cuba Famous Hotel Turns 80! Guess who's at the Party?

Fidel Castro was here! Yes that true but this Havana Hotel history reads like a parable of recent Cuban history, chronicling the island's evolution from naughty tropical playground to communism's Caribbean enclave.

"The strength of the hotel lies in its history, in everything it's lived through and remained standing," said general manager Antonio Martinez Rodriguez. "Its fissures are like wrinkles on the face of an old and wise person who's seen it all."

Opened in 1930 as a rum-soaked getaway for Mafia dons and Hollywood starlets, the Nacional became a training center for illiterate peasant women after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. It was shuttered around the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, a major ally and protector, and was reborn, following an overhaul, as a source of much-needed foreign currency.

The past has left its scars on the stone-and-concrete building, in the bullet holes that once pockmarked the facade — leftovers from a 1933 rebellion — and in the network of Cuban Missile Crisis-era tunnels and anti-aircraft positions still carved into the garden.

Its register reads like a "Who's Who" of the 20th century. Luminaries such as Winston Churchill and Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez rubbed shoulders with mobsters including Lucky Luciano. Errol Flynn and Rita Hayworth slept under the same roof as Mickey Mantle and Fred Astaire.

Today, Steven Spielberg, Kate Moss, Javier Bardem and Sean Penn occasionally light up the place.

During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the five-star hotel served as a backdrop for some of the brinksmanship that brought the world close to nuclear war. As the standoff neared the boiling point, Cuban soldiers dug a web of invisible tunnels beneath the verdant lawns and installed three Soviet anti-aircraft guns.

HAVANA. A news conference with Russian Preside...Fidel Castro and Putin Image via WikipediaThe Nacional was also the scene of a bombing by an anti-Castro group. In July 1997, an explosive planted in the lobby went off, wounding a guest and several hotel employees. The blast, part of a campaign that also targeted other Havana hotels, was aimed at destabilizing Cuba's fragile economy as the country turned to tourism to substitute for Soviet largesse after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

Plans for the hotel were hatched in the late 1920s under President Gerardo Machado. Though the Cuban government ostensibly was responsible for the lion's share of the $7 million investment, general manager Martinez said much of the impetus for the project came from the mob, which was flush with Prohibition-era cash.

"That capital needed to be invested," Martinez is quoted as saying in "Revelations of a Legend," a book on the hotel's history released as part of its 80th anniversary celebration. "The Hotel Nacional was a well-thought-out choice."

The Nacional was designed and built by U.S. companies. A crew of 8,000 workers labored for 14 months, creating an architectural Frankenstein that combines elements of Art Deco, Baroque, Spanish colonial and Latin American criollo styles.

Marketed as a tropical paradise, the casino and cabaret delivered no-holds-barred fun to the Nacional's then-largely American clientele, and the mafia pocketed the profits, Martinez said.

In December 1946, about 500 Mafiosos descended on the hotel for a mob summit — an event immortalized in fictional form in "The Godfather Part II." During the six-day-long gathering, the dons divided up the spoils of Cuba's lucrative gambling, drug and prostitution rackets, said the hotel's resident historian, Estela Rivas.

Rivas sometimes serves as tour guide, making one of her stops the second-floor suite where Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky held their talks.

She also brings visitors to the hotel's cabaret — where showgirls in marabou feathers and strategically placed sequins continue to enthrall — and the Churchill Bar, where Britain's wartime prime minister liked to relax with a Romeo y Julieta cigar during his stay in 1946.

The Nacional's decades of high-wattage glamour and anything-goes decadence came to an abrupt end in 1959 with the triumph of Castro's revolution.

The hotel was nationalized, its walls hung with pro-communist banners. Hundreds of rural women learned to read and sew there, and the hotel later lodged Soviet engineers and honeymooners from across the island.

"This place was put to much use, and the years took their toll," Martinez said. In 1990, the hotel closed for a total renovation, he said, reopening two years later.

Nowadays, 86,000 tourists pass through the Nacional's 426 rooms each year, Martinez said. With standard rooms priced at the modest rate of 120 convertible pesos ($129) per night, the hotel attracts mostly middle-class Europeans and also some Americans, who defy the nearly half-century-long U.S. embargo against the island.

"It's as if we shared a bit of history with the people who were here before," gushed Pepa Gutierrez Ortega, a guest from Seville, Spain.

For more information for planning your next Havana Holidays visit http://www.cubaweb.com or http://www.cuba.ca
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Havana has many different options when it comes to shopping: arts and crafts markets, art workshops, boutiques, music stores and, of course, its world-famous rum and tobacco factories.
To start your shopping tour we recommend the Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral Square), right in the centre of Old Havana, with its arts and crafts market every weekend. Here you will find anything from typical Cuban articles, second-hand books, postcards and the odd ice cream, sweet or nut stall.
Another popular arts and crafts market is on the corner of Malecón and 21st street, where, from Tuesday to Sunday one can find a wide range of local arts and crafts, necklaces made with seeds, musical instruments, small ceramic figures representing Eleguá, the African deity and postcards of Cuba, among many other things.
For arts and crafts and art in general (engravings, paintings and sculptures), you can also go to the Fondo de Bienes Culturales, which is bound to have something that catches your eye among the wide range of things offered.
In Old Havana, you can also go to the Feria de la Habana Vieja, on Cuba Street, which offers a complete selection of arts and crafts as well as a section with Cuban musical instruments and traditional and contemporary music CDs and cassettes.
When it comes to tobacco, Cuba is the perfect place to visit. One of the best places is Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás, behind the Capitolio Nacional, on Industria Street, offering an excellent selection of tobacco as well as the chance to take a guided tour through the factory.
Remember that Cuban rum is world-famous, and a bottle of Havana Club (7 years old) should cost you around $9 in the shops. Other quality brands are Varadero and Guayabita del Pinar, among many others.
For clothes and shoes we recommend you pay a visit to the boutiques on Trocadero Street (Hotel Sevilla). And if you are really serious about shopping, Miramar is the place to go. Here you will find a great many exclusive shops with a wide range of clothes and footwear made by Cuban designers. The Centro Comercial (Shopping Centre) 5ta and 42 is the largest in Havana and is also to be found in Miramar, on Avenida 5ta, with several shops, as well as cafés where you can stop and have a light meal and a drink. Other popular shopping centres are La Epoca and Sorpresa in the centre of Havana.

When it comes to practical shopping, there is a variety of supermarkets in all the different areas in Havana, such as Vedado, Miramar, the city centre and Old Havana, all of which offer a wide range of tinned goods, fresh produce, bread, fruit and vegetables, as well as drinks and tobacco.
If you prefer traditional fruit and vegetable markets, your best choice is to visit some of the many markets scattered all over the city: Barrio Chino, Vedado and Plaza de la Revolución (near Avenida Boyeros).




Our tour begins in the old part of the city. Old Havana and its surrounding area was declared part of mankind's heritage by UNESCO. The area is a wonderful mix of colonial houses, late 19th century buildings and a large variety of restaurants, cafés and bars offering traditional Cuban and international food, as well as cocktails and other drinks. There are also many museums and places of historical interest. One of the places of most interest is the Plaza de la Catedral, where there is often an arts and crafts market. The Cathedral, an impressive example of baroque architecture built in 1777, is a good place to start a tour of the city. Opposite the Cathedral is the Museum of Colonial Art with an excellent exhibition of furniture and decorative objects dating back to the Colonial period. If you go along Calle San Ignacio, you will come to the Centro Wilfredo Lam, which houses an interesting collection of the work of contemporary Latin American artists, including Lam himself, the world-renowned Cuban painter and sculptor. Making your way down Calle Empedrado you will find the Alejo Carpentier Museum which is the former residence of the writer and the inspiration for his book El Siglo de las Luces. Today it is a library and research centre, as well as exhibiting a collection of this Cuban writer's manuscripts.

If you are interested in literature, you can buy second-hand and antique books in the Plaza de las Armas. Overlooking the bay is the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, built during the Colonial period in order to defend the city. On top of one of its towers is La Giraldilla, the symbol of Havana. The Castillo del Morro is the largest fort built by the Spaniards during the colonial period. Every night, at nine o'clock, you can hear a cannon shot from the castle. In times past it announced that the city wall had closed; today this custom continues in Havana.

Going down Calle Oficios you will come across many interesting museums, such as the Museo de Autos Antiguos, La Casa del Arabe and the Numismatics Museum. Pass along Calle Obrapía, and you will arrive at La Casa de Benito Juárez, with exhibitions of Mexican arts and crafts. La Casa Guayasamín exhibits contemporary artworks as well as works by the Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamín's and some of his per sonal belongings. Another interesting place is La Casa de Africa, with a fascinating collection of Afro-Cuban art, including paintings, sculptures and a large variety of objects. The
Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís houses an interesting exhibition of archaeological findings. When you leave, have a look at the square, with the Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of the Lions) in the centre, a beautiful early 20th century Italian sculpture.

Keep going along Calle Opispo toward the Parque Central, where you will come to the
Gran Teatro Nacional, with several statues representing Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca. Nearby is the Capitolio Nacional, which you can also visit. Inside, you will find the largest indoor bronze statue in the world and you will have the chance to visit the parliament, and walk through the Salón de los Pasos Perdidos (The Room of the Lost Footsteps), so called due to the echo caused by the sound of visitors' footsteps. If you are lucky, you might also get the chance to see one of the many exhibitions which are regularly organized here, mainly the work of young Cuban artists.

Culture and Entertainment in Havana. A Tour
Havana offers culture and entertainment for everyone, whatever your tastes or preferences. In Old Havana you will find a great number of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy live bands playing traditional Cuban songs and melodies. Practically every corner of Old Havana is an explosion of music and colour, with tourists and locals alike gathering to enjoy what the city has to offer; La Bodeguita del Medio, La Peña del Tango, Café Paris and Monserrate are some of the names of the many places you will find on your visit to the area.

In the Vedado area, one of the most charming sectors of the city, with its beautiful colonial houses (now home to several embassies, cultural centres and ministries) you will find a wide range of restaurants and bars: Club Imágenes offers live music in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere; in the Hotel Habana Libre you will find the Salón de los Embajadores, where jazz festivals and salsa concerts are organized regularly; El Palacio de la Salsa, near the Malecón, has live salsa orchestras which play there regularly (if you enjoy Latin and Caribbean rhythms, this is the place for you). Another good choice is the Café Cantante, near the bus station, in the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, where every day, you can listen to live Cuban Orchestras playing the hottest tunes. On the top floor, every night the Delirio Habanero takes place, where all sorts of artists (singers, music bands, comedians and poets) get together and spend the night dancing, singing and laughing. From midnight onwards it's open to everyone, so why not join in?


Every Saturday night El Hurón Azul is celebrated at the UNEAC (Cuban writers and artists Unión). This is a night for bolero lovers and romantics in general. If you are more into jazz, go to La Zorra y el Cuervo, where traditional musicians and young Latin jazz talents get together to offer you a truly unforgettable night out.

In the Miramar area there is also an excellent choice when it comes to places to have fun. Dos Gardenias, with its Salón del Bolero is especially suited to those who like boleros, so popular in the '40s and '50s and undergoing something of a revival now. The Ipanema discotheque at the Hotel Copacabana is a definite must if you are into salsa.

When it comes to museums and art galleries, there are many options, in the old part of the city as well as in the Vedado area and the area surrounding the Plaza de la Revolución. Among some that are really worth the visit are: the Museum of Colonial Art and the Cathedral (on Calle Empedrado); the Alejo Carpentier Museum which is located nearby; the Guayasamín Museum (Calle Obrapía); La Casa del Arabe; the Museo de la Perfumería, the Museum of Numismatics and the Museo de Autos Antiguos (all of which are on Calle Oficios); the Templete on Plaza de Armas and the National Museum Castillo de la Real Fuerza; the City Museum, located in the Palacios de los Capitanes Generales on Calle Tacón; the birthplace and Museum of José Martí on Calle Ejido, and towards the Parque Central, past the Lorca Theatre, the Capitolio Nacional, location of the National Natural History Museum. The Mella Theatre shows important plays by Cuban and international playwrights, as well as dance shows and cabarets.

On Calle Trocadero, you will find the Museo Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), which exhibits the largest collection of art in Cuba. The Museo de la Revolución on Calle Refugio, exhibits an important collection of documents and objects related to the Cuban Revolution. The National Music Museum, Museo de la Música, houses an interesting collection of traditional and modern musical instruments. Overlooking Havana Bay is the Castillo del Morro, the largest military construction of colonial Spain in the Americas. Also overlooking the bay is the 8San Carlos Fort, where you will have the chance to visit the Museo de la Comandancia del Ché, a monument of great historical interest dating back to the colonial period.

Hemingway in Havana
Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba from the early 1930s onwards, and consequently set foot in many of Havana's restaurants, hotels and bars. Your first stop ought to be La Bodeguita del Medio, where Hemingway used to go to drink a mojito or two quite often. Thousands of tourists come to visit this place every year and see its walls covered from top to bottom in signatures of the rich and famous who have been in the Bodeguita. At the back there is also a restaurant where you can savour the best of traditional Cuban cuisine.

Following Hemingway's footsteps, you should now make your way to El Floridita, where the daiquiri is supposed to have been invented, and where Hemingway used to go very often too. Here there is also a restaurant offering delicious traditional Cuban dishes.

Hostal Valencia, in Old Havana, is a small and charming hotel, with only 12 bedrooms and beautiful architecture, where Hemingway usually used to stay. If you decide to stay here, who knows? You may be lucky and get room number 21, Hemingway's favourite!

Twenty minutes from Havana is the Finca La Vigía, a building dating back to 1887, and Hemingway's permanent residence on the island. The house has been made into the Museo Ernest Hemingway and still has his furniture, library and personal belongings. Although it is not actually possible to go inside the house, one can see the rooms, books and belongings, given that the windows and doors are kept wide open to give the visitors the chance to admire the residence.

Outside, near the pool, is Hemingway's fishing boat, El Pilar, which he took on his many fishing trips, and which is famous for having inspired the novel for which he won the Nobel prize.

The small village of Cojímar is a definite must if you are interested in following Hemingway's footsteps, and walk through the same charming little streets as he did many a time, with typical fishermen's houses all along. It is well worth stopping for lunch at Las Terrazas, Hemingway's favourite restaurant, which is now part of a great tourist resort.

To end this tour, we recommend you visit the Hemingway Marina in Miramar, another important tourist and hotel resort where you will find all the facilities which will guarantee a truly unforgettable holiday. It is surrounded by a canal 15 km long where you can rent a boat and sail across the bay or simply relax, enjoying the food and drink at one of the many restaurants and bars in the area.



Havana was a prosperous and decadent city under President Batista, but that was to last to 1959 when Castro led a successful armed uprising to depose him and declared himself prime minister in the spring of that year, with Che Guevara as his right hand man. Strong Marxist ideals have been in place since then (only just). The dusty streets of Havana reflect little modernization since then, but thats its charm and attraction .



Museo de la Revolucion Ironically in the palace of the former dictator Batista. This imposing monument to privilege while most of the country went starving is an architectural marvel (you will crane your neck looking up). Many exhibits from the CIA backed Bay of Pigs attack of 1961 including the tank Castro used in the prime parking area outside.
Cathedral de San Cristobal � In the Plaza de la Cathedral in old Havana stands this beautiful imposing building dating back to 1777. In the same square is an art gallery and seminary built by Jesuits.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza Located in the Plaza de Armas area this 16th century castle is surrounded by a wide moat and is the oldest military construction in Havana. A long and interesting history with a ceramics museum on site.
Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas On Calle Industria 524, in the central square of Parque Central opposite Capitolio is the largest cigar factory in Cuba and a tourist must do in these parts, to see how they make the worlds cigars and then maybe try one.
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The old town and popular with locals and visitors alike, where locals can buy their rum in pesos, but tourists have to up the price in Dollars. Be careful as you could get pestered by ladies and men of the night.
Palacio de la Salsa You will find this �shrine to salsa �in the Hotel Riviera, with Cuba�s top salsa bands regularly performing to the delight of the locals who really enjoy dancing salsa. Be prepared for an unforgettable night.
Tropicana � A Havana institution is this Cabaret Club, although the cabaret is dated nevertheless is colourful and lively, afterwards go to the attached disco for a wild night of dancing to a mix of live and taped music.




Havana , the capital of Cuba, is a compelling city. Enjoy your stay in Havana, also called LA HABANA, the city with the many faces. I advise you to make contact with the locals on the streets. Cubans are open and friendly and Havana is a safe place – one of the safest in Latin America. The Cubans will welcome you as a friend … and yes, of course they will try to sell you ‘street cigars’ (counterfeit brand cigars) with the classic question “Hey, my friend, where are you from? Hola, from Canada? I have a friend in Canada. Do you smoke? I have some very good and cheap cigars from my brother who works in a cigar factory …!!!” Don’t limit your Havana trip to the well known tourist attractions: the Capitolio, the Cathedral, The Hemingway Trail, etc. Discover the real Havana....read the tips below. If you want to Call your new Cuban friends from abroad then go to the best site for information & links about Calling to Cuba http://www.calls2cuba.com
We provide lots of valuable information about the best vacation in the world. Viva Cuba!