Cuba is a gorgeous island in the northern Caribbean Sea where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic Ocean. If you’ve
booked holidays to Cuba and are flying into José Martí International Airport outside Havana, one of the most important things to pack is your camera, and one of the best ways to get to know the city is by renting a car and heading into the city for a drive.
Cuba has a fascinating history, both as a territory of Spain and of the USA, and remnants of colonisation remain in its beautiful (and crumbling) buildings. A particular attraction is the Gran Teatro de La Habana or Great Theatre of Havana in Paseo del Prado, which is a street on the border of Old Havana. Once the home of Cuban National Ballet, the building is also an opera house and performing arts centre and its angel-topped apex is a favourite among photographers.
Lovers of neoclassical, baroque and art deco architecture will not be disappointed as Havana’s squares, ocean boulevards and balconied houses provide a host of photo opportunities. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Habana Vieja (Old Havana), is packed with winding avenues, castles and parks, while to the east of the city is an impressive fortress – Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabaña – with walls dating back to the 18th century.
The vibrant Barrio Chino (Chinatown) is home to the Zanja Canal, which is a pedestrian strip bursting with red lanterns and paper dragons signalling restaurants that serve Chinese cuisine, while the city is famous for its dance halls where live music is played to visitors eager to watch and learn traditional dances such as the tango.
Take care to look closely when you’re in Havana as Cuban people bring unique colour and spirit to the city. From washing lines strung among handsome four-storey buildings to sunsets glimpsed through peeling plaster, there’s more to see in Havana than rum and classic cars.