Secret Havana – discover places only locals know about
Havana is a city with a rich history and a vibrant culture. From the colonial architecture of Old Havana to the rhythm of salsa music that fills the streets, there is plenty to explore in this Cuban capital. But if you really want to discover the hidden gems that only locals know about, you need to venture off the beaten path.
Street Art in Callejón de Hamel
Callejón de Hamel is a narrow alley located in the neighborhood of Cayo Hueso, just a few blocks away from the famous Malecón. This street is home to some of the most colorful and vibrant street art in all of Havana. The walls are covered in murals and sculptures depicting Afro-Cuban religion and culture, and on Sundays, there is a lively street market where you can buy handmade crafts and souvenirs.
El Cañonazo Ceremony at La Cabaña
In the evenings, head to the fortress of La Cabaña for the El Cañonazo ceremony. This tradition dates back to the 18th century, when a cannon was fired every evening to signal the closing of the city gates. Today, the ceremony is a popular tourist attraction, but locals also flock to the fortress to watch the cannon fire and enjoy the views of Havana Bay.
Los Jardines de la Tropical
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Los Jardines de la Tropical. This sprawling garden oasis is located just outside of Havana and is filled with exotic plants and trees. There are also a number of charming cafés and restaurants where you can enjoy a leisurely meal or a refreshing mojito.
La Casa del Chocolate
If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss La Casa del Chocolate. This cozy café in Old Havana serves up some of the best hot chocolate and chocolate desserts in the city. Pick up a box of handmade chocolates to take back home as a souvenir.
Finally, for a truly special dining experience, book a table at La Guarida. This restaurant is located in a beautifully restored colonial mansion in the Vedado neighborhood, and the food is some of the best in Havana. Be sure to try the ropa vieja, a traditional Cuban dish made with shredded beef, and finish off with a slice of the decadent chocolate cake.
There are so many hidden treasures to discover in Havana, and these are just a few of the places that only locals know about. So grab your camera, dust off your Spanish skills, and get ready for an adventure!