Spanish Travel Confab Celebrates Cuba’s Relationship with Spain

Spanish Travel Confab Celebrates Cuba’s Relationship with Spain

Cuba’s participation in the 36th International Tourism Fair (FITUR) 2016, in Madrid, Spain, showcased the vital link between Spain’s private sector and Cuba’s rapidly expanding travel and tourism sector. The Cuba delegation was led by Cuba’s Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz. The mission was to promote the island nation’s newest top tourist destinations: Varadero, Trinidad, … Read more

What To Do When Your Buddhism App Fails To Work In Havana

What To Do When Your Buddhism App Fails To Work In Havana

You have a deep curiosity about what it means to exist. You long for the mystery and vitality of spiritual life. You are an intrepid traveler always on the frontier – and today that means Cuba. Yet Havana’s emergence as a spiritual hot spot can become a major inconvenience for travelers, or should I say “pilgrims”, who arrive in Cuba and can’t use their Buddhism apps because of poor Internet connectivity.

Luckily, Havana offers many ways to channel spiritual pathways. You’ll have to take the matter into your own non-digital hands. Cubans sometimes call this “a lo Cubano”, referring to the crafty methods they have developed to cope with the lack of essential parts and supplies common to people in other countries. After all, scarcity is one of the most powerful fulcrums for releasing dormant creative energies.

Modernity collides with a basic truth about simplicity by convincing us that things of value, whether they are ideas or objects, are made more valuable because they are complex. Relax and reflect on the primacy of simple things.

Central Havana is an ideal place to trigger imaginative transformations. Enchantment is at your fingertips. Here’s what to do when you’re in Havana and your Buddhism app fails to fire up.

Cuba Tops “Luxury Travel” Up-and-Coming Destinations in New Survey

Cuba Tops “Luxury Travel” Up-and-Coming Destinations in New Survey

Today, Travel Leaders Group released its top luxury travel trends for 2016 including the top up-and-coming destinations led by Cuba. “Today’s luxury traveler is someone who seeks incredible, authentic and memorable experiences – not merely 5-star hotels and Michelin star restaurants. So it makes perfect sense that Cuba, Antarctica, and African safaris are among the top … Read more

A Walking Tour of Old Havana

A Walking Tour of Old Havana

There is no better way to experience the grandeur and history of Old Havana than walking through the many plazas and exploring the interiors of the many cathedrals and museums.

Havana, or what is considered Old Havana today, was founded in 1519 by the Spanish. By the 17th century, it had become one of the Caribbean’s main centers for ship-building.

Click here to see a legal Havana tour that you will love.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Old Havana a World Heritage Site in 1982.

Within the boundaries of Old Havana and its fortifications are located all the elements necessary to express what UNESCO considers Outstanding Universal Value, including Old Havana’s urban layout with its five large plazas and its harmonious ensemble of architectural monuments and traditional-style popular buildings from different periods in its history – and its extensive network of fortifications.

Old Havana and its fortifications do not suffer from adverse effects of development, though much of Old Havana’s structures are in disrepair due to decay, chronic neglect and the effects from natural elements.

Although it is today a sprawling metropolis of more than 2 million people, its old center retains an interesting mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments, and a homogeneous collection of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards.

The historic fortunes of Havana were a product of the exceptional function of its bay as an obligatory stop on the maritime route to the New World, which made military protection a priority. The extensive network of defensive installations created between the 16th and 19th centuries includes some of the oldest and largest extant stone fortifications in the Americas, among them La Cabaña fortress on the east side of the narrow entrance canal to Havana Bay, Real Fuerza Castle on the west side, and Morro castle and La Punta castle guarding the entrance to the canal.

Old Havana, which is defined by the extent of the former city walls, has maintained the pattern of the early urban setting with its five large plazas, each with its own architectural character: Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza del Cristo and Plaza de la Catedral. Around these plazas are many outstanding buildings, including the Iglesia Catedral de La Habana, Antiguo Convento de San Francisco de Asís, Palacio del Segundo Cabo and Palacio de los Capitanes Generales.

Interspersed with this mix of baroque and neoclassical style monuments is a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards –many of them evocatively time-worn. The complex system of fortifications that protected Havana, its port and its dockyard is comprised of the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña – one of the largest colonial fortresses in the Americas – on the east side of the narrow entrance canal to Havana Bay; Castillo de la Real Fuerza –one of the oldest colonial fortresses in the Americas (begun in 1558)– on the west side of the canal; and Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta and Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro guarding the entrance to the canal; as well as the Castillo de Santa Dorotea de Luna de la Chorrera, Torreón de San Lázaro, Reducto de Cojímar, Baluarte del Ángel, Lienzo de la Muralla y Puerta de la Tenaza, Restos de Lienzo de la Muralla, Garita de la Maestranza, Cuerpo de Guardia de la Puerta Nueva, Restos del Baluarte de Paula, Polvorín de San Antonio, Hornabeque de San Diego, Fuerte No. 4, Castillo de Santo Domingo de Atarés, Castillo del Príncipe andFuerte No. 1.

Source:  World Heritage Center, UNESCO

Old Havana is easy to navigate during the day, but it is not well-lit at night.  During the summer, walkers may want to avoid the heat of the day by exploring in the morning and late afternoon. Check out the Doors of Old Havana to see another interesting aspect of the island nation’s capital city.

Here is a selection of what you will find on a walking tour of Old Havana: