Havana, the capital of Cuba. A city where time never seems to pass, where the beaches merge with the charisma of the people. We invite you to discover its secret and less secret places, so that your trip to Havana will be revolutionary in 3 days.
Travel to Havana in 3 days Can you get to know the city in 3 days?
It is possible to be in any place for 3 days. Cuba is a wonderful island where you want to spend a month. So if you are planning your trip, visiting Havana in 3 days is a mission that must be accomplished. A visa is required to enter the country:
Tips for tours in Havana in 3 days
Here are some useful tips to make your trip as pleasant as possible.
How would you like to start your route through Havana with a free 2.5-hour tour that shows you the historic centre and serves as orientation?
What to see in 3 days in Havana?
Havana is divided into 4 areas: Old Havana, Havana Center, Vedado Neighborhood and Miramar Beach.
Here is the interactive map of our itinerary through Havana, the capital of Cuba.
Havana Guide: Day 1
On the first day we will visit old Havana, located within the borders of Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Francisco and Plaza Vieja.
This is the square in front of the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception of Havana (UNESCO World Heritage). An imposing baroque building that you can easily see as it has two bell towers on the sides. You can climb the towers with a donation of 1 CUC. The building has 3 naves, 8 side chapels and infinite sculptures and goldsmiths.
The Plaza de la Catedral is not the largest of all, but one of the most beautiful. Around it you can see various colonial buildings that are accessible free of charge.
Plaza de Armas
This is the second important place you will see in Havana. Very beautiful, also surrounded by fresh trees. This is where the action took place, from the bullfights to the executions. The name was collected and the room was used by the militia to carry out the exercises. There are many cafes, bars and buildings from the time when Cuba was a Spanish colony.
Nearby is the Castillo de la Real Fuerza. Military fortress in the bay, its architecture dates back to 1558, when America was still under European rule. In its tower there is a wind vane called Giraldilla (and various Spanish buildings such as Seville).
San Francisco Square
The square is located in front of the Avenida del Puerto, between the streets of Oficios and Amargura. Like the other squares, it was used as a meeting place, bullfighting, executions, etc.
Around the square a market was built and then the monastery of San Francisco, and like the religion before the trade, the market moved near the Plaza Vieja in order not to disturb the rest of the poor monks.
Later, the Basilica of San Francisco de Asís was built. In front of the Basilica, there is the old Marketplace, an impressive building that was created for this purpose thanks to its proximity to the bay. It is currently used for other purposes as an investment centre for foreign companies.
Inside the square is the Giuseppe Gianni sculpture called Fuente de los Leones. A sculpture with four marble cats pointing their heads upwards.
Located between Muralla, Teniente Rey and Mercaderes streets. Surrounded by colonial houses that served as home to Creole families during the Spanish domination, it has an eclecticism in its architecture that is unique. There you will recognize moments of the colonial Baroque and moments where the architecture is recharged like that of Antoni Gaudí.
La Bodeguita del Medio
Time to enjoy like a real Cuban? You have to go to the famous and original Bodeguita del Medio. Have a good rum and make some friends.
And if it’s not too late, get lost in the energetic Old Havana, fall in love with its streets, its people and its culture.
Havana Guide: Day 2
Today we’re taking you on a tour of downtown Havana. We will begin in the square of the revolution to understand a little more the essence of the Cuban people.
A place that without being there everyone gives in to the idea that it is about, but once you are there you feel a particular vibration. This square is the essence of the Cuban revolution, is home to many symbols such as the wall with the image of Che Guevara, with the phrase that accompanies “Hasta la Victoria siempre”.
You will also see the image of the face of Camilo Cienfuegos with the phrase “Vas bien Fidel”. In the center of the square is the statue of José Martí that can be climbed.
Although there are only a few streets with oriental locals and colorful decorations, this small Chinese neighborhood is located on the way to the Capitol, and is one of the oldest since the first Chinese arrived in Cuba in 1840. It’s a real shock to see it there, almost surreal. Already in the 90’s and seeing the tourist potential of this neighborhood, the government invested money in restoring it.
That’s why today, although all of Cuba has that time doesn’t pass, Chinatown is very well preserved.
Walking along the Paseo de Martí, you will undoubtedly see a building that takes off but at the same time you feel you know it. It is the Capitol, which was built almost imitating the Capitol of Washington, commissioned by a Cuban dictator backed by the United States: Gerardo Machado. The cost of this ambitious building is enormous and could be realized during the Sugar Boom of the 1920s.
From 1959 (when power was taken by the Revolution) until 2013, this building was the site of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the National Library of Science and Technology.
It can be visited, although they are undergoing conservation and renovation work.
Partagás Tobacco Factory
Hidden behind the Capitol is Havana’s oldest factory, and as could not be otherwise is the cigar factory. It was founded in 1845 by the Catalan Jaime Partagás with the help of the merchant Juan Conill.
And as is well known, the factory is one of the best in Cuba. Guided tours are possible, but we recommend booking your place in advance. As it is such a well known and touristic place, they may not be able to find a place.
Paseo De Martí or Paseo del Prado
It is inevitable to walk along the Paseo de Martí, a beautiful boulevard that runs from the Fuente de Indias to the Malecón. It passes through many crowded areas and it is essential that you walk there if you really want to be in Cuba.
The Walk begins as soon as we leave the Capitol, in the Fountain of the Indies sculpted by Giuseppe Gaginni in 1837 in white marble. It represents an indigenous woman seated on a throne, in one of her hands she holds the coat of arms of the city and in the other, she carries a basket of Creole fruits. It was inspired by the legend of a beautiful aborigine who received Spanish sailors in 1509.
On our way we have come across the Gran Teatro de la Habana, built in 1834 in response to the strong demand for cultural activities. In terms of architecture we can tell you that the façade is decorated with reliefs, bas-reliefs, balconies and four magnificent sculptures made by the Italian Giuseppe Moretti, representing Charity, Education, Music and Theatre.
Museum of the Revolution
This is the old presidential palace until 1976, it has a breathtaking architecture. Even the Tiffany’s house was in charge of the decoration of its interior and the hall of mirrors.
At the entrance you can see that the SAU-100 tank used by Castro in 1961 is parked there, as well as a fragment of the wall that surrounded Havana. When you enter the museum you can read the following legend.
Here we find hundreds of exponents preserved in 38 rooms that speak of more than a century of struggles and heroic epics, whose peak was reached on January 1, 1959, with the triumph of the Revolution headed by Fidel Castro, who banished metropolis and tyrannies forever.
Each room has something more than architecture and luxury, there are notches in the walls of the shots that were fired there during the shooting.
There is no doubt that you have to be there to understand more about the Cuban people and their history.
If you doubt that magic exists, the Malecon confirms that it does exist. It’s an 8-kilometer-long promenade, where locals stand there to play music, fish and make new friends. Nothing bad matters there, the happiness that they carry in their blood springs up and you will notice it the moment you sit down to watch the sunset.
On the shores of this promenade is the fortification called Castillos de San Salvador de la Punta, which was built by order of the Spanish crown to guard the bay. After, of course, a French corsair had plundered the island.
Havana Guide: Day 3
We have a couple of options, if the first two days have been very crowded and we want to see something different or, if the first two days have known us little by little and we want to continue to know Havana and what we lack of it. We will start with the second option.
Leaving a little of the tourist circuit of Havana you will find the Barrio El Vedado. And as we have already talked about how eclectic Havana is, this neighborhood is no exception. The houses here are enormous and there are many green spaces, but what caught our attention the most is that the numbering of the streets is American style, with numbers and letters. This has made us think a lot about the influence and domination that other powers have had in this country.
Something that really likes about Vedado is that it is a very pleasant neighborhood to walk around without finding tourists in every corner.
There you will see the great and imposing building of the University of Havana, the Colón Cemetery and the Hamel Alley, a space where the Afro-Cuban culture is represented.
To continue we invite you to take a ferry and go like us to the other side of the bay. The ferry is very cheap and is a nice program to see the other side and other views of the island.
Once you have crossed there are many tempting options to see. The first is the Cristo de la Habana, located on the hill near the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, another incredible place where you can go and learn more about the European invasions in Havana.
Walking for a while you will find the Castillo De Los Tres Reyes Del Morro and the Faro del Castillo del Morro both served as a defense against those who wanted to loot and invade Cuba. The construction of the castle and the lighthouse is the same time as the Castle of San Salvador de la Punta and for the same reason, to protect Cuba from invasions.
If you have some time to spare, don’t miss Ernest Hemingway’s home at Finca Vigía.
EXCURSION TO THE VINEYARD PARK
Now, if we want to see something close to Havana that is something different from what we have seen in the first few days: We invite you to leave the city and connect with nature. Valle de Viñales National Park will be waiting for you with open arms. A great ecosystem located in the Sierra de los Órganos, within the Cordillera de Guaniguanico.
This national park, patrimony of the humanity of the UNESCO, concentrates its attraction in its beauty, its eclectic vegetation among them the Cork Palm, declared National Monument for having survived from the Jurassic. And the cavernous constructions called mogotes. Among the caverns that you are going to see in the park is the Great Cavern of Santo Tomás, with more than 40 kilometers in length, making it one of the largest in the entire park. You will also see the Cueva del Indio, the ride at this stage is done in canoes, as inside the cavern there are two underground rivers, this makes it a real adventure. Last but not least we have the Cave of San Miguel, where its walls are full of cave drawings made by the first native inhabitants of these lands.
This area of Cuba is the largest tobacco plantation, which makes it a good plan to make after the National Park if you have energy left.
This was Havana for us in 3 days. A place where the perspective of many things has changed.
Information of Tourist Interest to Travel to Havana
In order to enter Cuba, you must meet some mandatory requirements, e.g.: Apply for a tourist visa for Cuba. The visa must be applied for in advance. To make it easier, we offer you a simplified online application form.
Another essential requirement is travel health insurance. The insurance has to be medically attended and retrieved around the clock. And if it is within your possibilities, an insurance against all risks, as the loss or theft of luggage can happen in Cuba.
Although this is not mandatory, it is recommended that you take the following vaccines: Hepatitis A, B, typhoid fever, tetanus diphtheria and rabies.
The currency used by tourists is the CUC. In the various banks of Havana, the currency can be changed to CUC. If you intend to take dollars, do not do so as they charge additional fees for exchanging dollars. The best thing is to take Euros and exchange them for CUC.