Cheap ways to enjoy Havana – Part 1

Havana can sometimes be a pricey place to visit for tourists.  While the average income for a worker in the City is $20 a month in U.S. dollars, tourists attractions can become expensive.  Many visitors are often fooled into buying expensive local cigars, often knock-offs, or even buying $6 daiquiris at El Floridita – Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar.

Fortunately, some of the best experiences in Havana can be had for free.  Here are five great ways to explore this great city without paying hefty fees charged by tour companies.

 

THE MALECON

This seawall stretches 6 kilometers from old town to the Almendares River in Havana.  The project first began during the U.S. occupation in the early 1900’s and was completed in 1958.

The Malecon is considered to be the city’s center of social activity and is called “the great sofa” affectionately by locals.

Passerby can watch hundreds of fisherman dip their lines into the serene gentle waves in the early morning.

In the afternoon children can be seen splashing and keeping cool while their parents catch a tan.

But the evening is when the Malecon truly comes alive.  Thousands gather to laugh, dance and sip rum underneath crimson sunset.

OLD HAVANA

No tourist should miss taking a slow walk through this beautiful Spanish colonial quarter.  Every year this area only gets nicer thanks to restoration efforts by the Havana City Historian’s office.

Take a tour of the four public squares to hit the highlights of the area.  Important locations to see include Cathedral Square, the largest Roman Catholic temple in Havana; the leafy Plaza de Armas, where locals sell merchandise including Che memorabilia; the Plaza Viega and Plaza San Francisco also offer some beautiful buildings and attractions.

Be on the lookout for colorfully dressed women, known as “greeters,” who attach themselves to the arms of male travelers and leave kiss marks on their cheeks.

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