HavanaInsider.com was launched in July 2015 by JamesSuckling.com, as the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations. It quickly became the go-to reference for visitors to Havana who want to experience the best of an amazing 500-year-old city.
September is usually quieter in Havana. Now things are changing and you notice it clearly from month to month. New restaurants and bars are popping up everywhere. Numerous direct flights from the U.S. are arriving full every day, and the number of American visitors is clearly up a lot.
La Domínica, a lovely Italian restaurant facing Hemingway’s Ambos Mundos hotel in Old Havana, is one of the best Italian restaurants in Havana. The food is reasonably priced, and the live music performance really upped the experience.
One of the quirky bars in Havana, Bar Bohemio has more of a touch of elegance than what the name suggests.
La Carboncita brings Italian flare with all the trimmings to an opulent area in Miramar. It's the most modernly styled Italian restaurant in Havana.
U.S.-Cuban relations are improving, but our societies are already close and increasingly linked. Respect can grow on both sides as our people have more direct contact with each other.
La Guarida, one of the first private restaurants in Havana, has become synonymous with fine dining in Cuba.
Clenching the second spot on our Havana's top ten restaurant list, El Cocinero in the residential Vedado is the coolest restaurant in Havana.
O'Reilly 304 in Old Havana probably is the trendiest and hippest restaurant in Cuba at the moment. Its tacos, ceviche and daiquiri are must orders.
The Barrio Chino or Chinatown in Central Havana has become a unique sight in Havana, an essential fabric of the Chinese immigrants' history in Cuba.
This 22-floor, 462-room Hotel Melia Cohiba in Havana’s Vedado area is Havana’s most luxurious and modern business hotel.
Located on Plaza de San Francisco in Old Havana, San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal Hotel skilfully combines tradition and modernity.
Like many things in Havana, getting a shave is like stepping into a time-machine. While I was in Havana attending the Habano Cigar Festival in February, I couldn't resist stopping by a local barbershop. Where else in the world can you get a shave and smoke a cigar at the same time? Now that's what I call “the good old days.”
Microbreweries are catching on in Havana, and Cervecería Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y el Tabaco is at the forefront. It serves the best beer in Havana.
The University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba and one of the oldest educational institutions in Latin America....
El Templete, a nautical themed restaurant close to Plaza de Armas in Old Havana serves the best fish and seafood dishes in Havana.
Some people have been berating state-owned Cuban restaurants for shoddy service and bland food. They clearly haven’t been to El Aljibe yet.
Conveniently located on the eastern end of Plaza de Armas in Old Havana, Hotel Santa Isabel is one of the boutique hotels owned by the city's Habaguanex.
When owner Hubert Corrales told us La Esperanza is the “last vanguard of home-styled cooking in Havana,” we were very skeptical at...
Habana Café, located inside Hotel Melia Cohiba in the heart of Vedado, is Cuba's answer to the ubiquitous Hard Rock Café.
The Colón Cemetery has become known nowadays more than a burial ground, but a place that showcases Cuban history and architecture.
La Rampa, which means “the slope” in Spanish, is the last stretch of the famous Calle 23, leading up to the center of Vedado, Havana.
Once the cabaret salon of the luxurious Capri casino, Salon Rojo del Capri remains one of the classic spots in Havana’s nightlife.
La Casa de la Música de Miramar has been continuously delivering some of the hottest salsa performances in Havana since...
La Zorra y el Cuervo, a subterranean, cramped, smoky jazz club is the epitome of the genuine jazz joint –think of the Village Vanguard.
Many people are surprised to find there is a museum in Cuba dedicated to the French emperor Napoleon, and that wouldn’t...
The Museo de Artes Decorativas (Museum of Decorative Arts) is a work of art in its own right. The site is the original residence of María Luisa Gómez Mena, a wealthy patron of Cuban artists. Built in 1927, the sumptuous, French Renaissance-inspired mansion was designed by French architects P. Virad and M. Destugué. The residence was claimed by the Cuban government in 1964 and became what is known as today - the Museum of Decorative Arts.
This is a stop that visitors to Cuba have to make. Otherwise, what’s the point of visiting a country that is famous for its national drink - rum? Opened in 2000 by the country’s most famous rum brand Havana Club, the museum uses visuals and models to guide visitors through the whole rum-making process, from harvesting at sugarcane plantations to the final bottling process.
Cuban’s devotion to ice cream is almost religious, and there’s good reason why Coppelia is popularly known as the “ice-cream Cathedral”.
Hotel Nacional’s striking architecture, commanding seaside location on the Malecón in Vedado, Havana and retro feel make it a natural draw. The hotel has soul.
Tropicana, a legendary cabaret that first opened its doors in 1939, remains to this day one of the classic spots in Havana’s night life.
El Floridita is an institution in Havana for its daiquiri and its association with the towering literary figure Ernest Hemingway.
Bella Ciao, a lush Italian restaurant deep in the Miramar area delivers stellar classics that stay faithful to their Italian roots. With outdoor seating under a roof of green ivies and trees, there’s a casual atmosphere that plays nicely off the classic austerity of many of the dishes on the impressively packed menu.
Located in Central Havana, it is often referred to as “La Casa de la Música de Galiano” to differentiate it from its Miramar analogue.
The magnificent Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) is a showcase of world and Cuban art, setting Havana's tone as a major art city.
At a quaint paladar like Doña Eutimia, offering hearty Cuban food at extremely reasonable prices, foodies beat a path to this top Cuban eatery.
La Bodeguita del Medio in Old Havana, popularized by Hemingway has never seen a shortage of patrons. If you want mojitos, this is the place.
Located in the upscale Embassy neighborhood of Miramar, the Meliá Habana Hotel is unquestionably one of Havana’s better hotels.
An urban jungle just under the bridge of Calle 23, the Parque Almendares is located in the heart of the lively Vedado area.
Café Miramar, a sleek jazz Club, located right next to the old Miramar cinema, has recently become one of the hot spots of Havana's jazz scene.
José Martí Memorial located on Plaza de la Revolución is dedicated to Cuba’s national hero José Martí.
Though Plaza de la Revolución is not particularly distinguished for its architecture or design, the square carries important historical weight for the Cuban Revolution.
Museo de la Revolución has a large exhibition of photographs, documents and memorabilia detailing Cubans’ struggle for independence and Fidel’s guerrilla revolution.
The resplendent El Capitolio standing solemnly in Centro Habana is one of most iconic buildings in the country. Inspired by...
Located in Havana’s Vedado, El Gato Tuerto is a dimly lit bar with gleaming furniture, crowned with a small stage and a few tables distributed around it.
Until the Saratoga was operational this was the best hotel in Havana. This attractive, large (427-room) hotel in Parque Central, opened in the '90s, is one of the newer additions to the city’s roster of top hotels.
The Parque Central is huddled by some of Havana’s most famous landmarks such as El Capitolio, Gran Teatro de La Habana, Manzana de Gomez and Payret Cinema.
There’s no better place to enjoy the pinnacle of Cuban performance arts than in the Gran Teatro de La Habana (The Great Theatre of Cuba).
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús is one of a few Gothic buildings in Havana. It remains the country’s tallest and most beautiful Catholic church.
The former residence of Count Villanueva was turned into a courtyard-style boutique hotel in Old Havana in 1998. One of the 20-odd hotels run by the city’s hotel brand Habaguanex, the nine-room hotel has a red façade that opens up to a lush courtyard. A café is hidden in the back of the courtyard, where free-roaming birds and peacocks amble lazily. The lobby and reception are well furbished and the front desk staff are more than willing to provide suggestions for visiting Old Havana.
Established in 1995, around the same time as La Guarida, La Fontana in Miramar endured through the years and worked...
This is one of the most upscale restaurants in Havana, located in Plaza de San Francisco in Habana Vieja (the very professional and jacketed waiters traded off-street salsa with classic live piano performance). The decor is striking and grandiose; you'll regret it if you dress down.
In a short span of two years since its opening in 2013, Mediterráneo has already amassed a loyal following among Havana foodies and visitors. The restaurant’s overall environment is agreeable: Mediterranean blue and white decor, spacious, airy, attractive and modern.
If you are pressed for time and have to pick one place to go for great food and drinks, make it O’Reilly 304, a hip and trendy bar in Old Havana.
This is the oldest square among Old Havana’s five squares built in the early 16th century. Plaza de Armas, was originally known as Plaza de la Iglesia.
El Cocinero, an airy bar in Vedado, has one of the most extensive drink menus in Havana. There are over 30 different cocktails.
Plaza de la Catedral, the best preserved of the old squares in Habana Vieja, owes its name to Catedral de San Cristobal...
Originally known as Plaza Nueva, meaning “new square” in English, Plaza Vieja was constructed in 1559, and was considered Havana’s...
French-style bakery is still a new concept in Havana, and you’d be surprised by how some local bakeries can turn out jaw-dropping, hard-as-a-rock chocolate muffins. Bianchini is in a class of its own, a bakery-cum-café that first opened near Plaza de Sanfrancisco over ten years ago.
Café El Escorial is the closest thing Havana has to Starbucks, minus the takeout services. If you insist, bring along your own mug or even a Ziploc bag (like Cubans do) for a café con leche, the holy grail at this quaint café shop on Plaza Vieja, for only $1.2 CUC!
Castillo del Morro (Morro Castle), short for Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro, standing at the mouth of Havana Bay, is an iconic landmark in Havana.
Very different from La Zorra y el Cuervo, Jazz Café is located on the second floor of a glass covered...
In recent years, Don Cangrejo has become one of the most sought-after venues on a Friday night in Havana. Also...