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Havana

 

 

Havana (Spanish: San Cristóbal de La Habana) is the capital of Cuba and the largest city in the West Indies (2.2 million inhabitants). The city is located in the north-west of Cuba at the famous Strait of Florida, which forms the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, and approx. fifteen miles from Key West in Florida. Havana is the economic, political and cultural center of Cuba. Visiting Havana and Cuba in its entirety is like traveling back in time.

 

The city of Havana was founded as early as 1515 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar and it has been the country's capital since 1554. Right up until the great revolution in 1959, many Americans had financial interests in both the gambling casinos and the country's tourism industry. Havana is the city you fall in love with after discovering its charms. Here you can feel the sea and the waves crashing over the Malecón, Havana's famous street along the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can hear the music that sets the body's rhythms in motion. Here you can really feel alive.

 

In Havana, you can visit the book market on the Plaza de Armas, or one of the many small museums housed in the newly restored colonial buildings.

After the bar round, you can try your hand at Café de Paris, where you will be offered more than drinks. In many of the bars in Habana Vieja (Old Havana) you meet Havana's "riders" - jineteros and jineteras, to the embarrassment of some and the joy of others. If you want to drink in quieter and more secluded surroundings, you can head up to the bar on the roof of the building that houses the natural history museum. Here it is peaceful and you can enjoy your drink in peace and quiet together with a fantastic view of the harbour.

 

Every day at nine in the evening you can hear the cannon fire from La Cabaña. This used to be a signal that the city gates were closing and that it was time to go home. Do not follow this "prompt". Now is the time to untie your hips and embark on the crazy "salsa night".

 

The cityscape itself is clearly characterized by a mixture of old and new and has many memories of the city's colonial past together with the modern architecture. Havan's old town by  the harbor entrance is characterized by small residential buildings in the Spanish colonial style with major buildings from the 16th century such as the Morro and Cabañas fortresses, the governor's palace Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, the Santa Clara monastery, the Jesuit cathedral and several other churches.

 

It is safe to say that a trip to Havana is one of the closest things you can get to being able to travel in time. It is striking to see all the American cars that suddenly bring you back about 50 years in time. However, it is not only the cars from the 50s that appear aged. Here you will experience seeing most houses as old and worn.

The city's development after 1959 and up to today can roughly be divided into two. In the period up to the mid-1990s, the development was characterized by the fact that the state's resources were used to build up, among other things, the school and health system throughout Cuba.

At the same time, thousands of engineers (also others) left the country in the early 1960s and mainly settled in Miami - Florida. These development features led to the city being left in significant disrepair, and this still characterizes many of the city's buildings. However, from the mid-1990s, most major challenges within the health and school system were overcome, and resources have since been deployed to carry out much-needed maintenance of both buildings and the infrastructure. This is carried out i.a. in order to create an attractive urban environment that could "satisfy" the new and increasingly important growth industry - tourism.

 

If you are in Havana, a visit to the local market is a matter of course, and it is a rare experience. Here, the pace is high and it bustles with life. The salespeople shout and scream at potential customers to get their attention. Use your time well, don't let yourself be pressured by all the pushy salespeople. Be polite and say no if you are not going to buy. If you want to experience moe more modern in Havana, you can now find exciting attractions such as the zoological garden with wild animals from Africa or the botanical garden which can display more than 140' species including hundreds of orchids and cacti.

Like other cities, the city has a nightlife with cinemas, theatres, cabarets and nightclubs. Even though the tourist traffic is constantly increasing, the city has less hustle and bustle than what applies to other large cities in Central America.

Be aware that accommodation in hotels in Havana can quickly become expensive. The prices are very high compared to what you get.

 

 

 

CUBA

 

(Information)

 

Tropical luxuriance, chalk-white beaches, beautiful architecture, fierce rhythms and an unparalleled warmth. Cuba has it all, and much more. This small but beautiful country at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, which has a strong past marked by oppression, slavery, poverty, rebellion and revolution, is an incredible experience.

 

The "strange" country in the Caribbean has been ruled by the dictator Fidel Castro for over 40 years. Cuba's system of governance has left its mark on the country, both for better and for worse. In the period after the fall of the Soviet Union, conditions are about to improve. Tourism is now one of Cuba's most important sources of income and new luxury hotels are being built at the most famous seaside resorts. 

 

These hotels have everything you as a tourist could wish for. You can vacation in Cuba like any other island in the Caribbean. It is the same climate, the same beautiful beaches, and an ocean so blue that you have rarely seen its like.

But Cuba is much more than just blue water. If you leave your holiday outside the "tourist tracks", you can experience children playing Cuba's national sport baseball in the streets, men who faithfully "meck" their 50s Americans and you can see Cubans playing all varieties of dominoes. The old beautiful buildings are dilapidated but all are full of a special charm. The king palms, which rise up to 30 meters in height, dominate the Cuban landscape.

The Cuban food is not particularly spicy, and it can seem a bit boring to many. The main ingredients are beans and rice and this is usually served with chicken, pork or fish. In return, the cakes in Cuba are both good and available in many varieties. Most of what you drink is good. Apart from rum and beer, the Cuban coffee is perfectly fine. You must not forget to try a "batido" fruit shake.

 

It is the Cubans who make Cuba, but the mixture of Spaniards, Africans and Asians has created a colorful community. (See fact guide). As most people know, Cuba was for a long time completely inaccessible to tourists, but this has now opened up to the full. Even the US dollar is now common currency and is even partially accepted by the country's authorities. As a tourist, you can experience a lot in Cuba and we feel quite sure that with a trip to Cuba you will have a memorable experience.