San Francisco de la Habana Basilica, Habana Vieja, the setting for the church and convent of San Francisco de Asis, built in 1608, and reconstructed in 1737. The church was used by the English during the year in which they ruled Havana. Upon return to Spanish rule, they decided not to use it as a church anymore. Today it is used for numerous concerts held in the city. Attached to the Basilica is a bell tower 42 meters high (138-ft). Originally a statue of St. Francis of Assisi stood on the top of the bell tower but it was destroyed by a cyclone in 1846. Today a statue of Fray Junipero Serra with Juaneño, an Indian boy stands next to the basilica and is popular tourist attraction in Old Havana
Next to the convent is the Plaza de San Francisco or San Francisco Square which took its name from the convent next to it, this square was built in 1628, with the objective of supplying water to the ships and facilitating trade within Havana City. For several decades it also served to stockpile the goods and merchandize arriving from the Havana harbor. Archives of the time say that the square had a prosperous commercial life and was a big asset to the then fledgling Havana City. The people, in humble carts or afoot, sold and bought a variety of goods from sea merchants displaying their imported goods. It’s also an important historical fact to that similar to Ellis Island in the United States, Spanish immigrants were logged and registered after their arrival in Cuba at this square. The Plaza de San Francisco square is now popular with tourists, featuring numerous Havana restaurants and café bars. It stands in front of the Lonja de Comercio and the Havana Cruise port.
These days the Plaza de Armas is the main touristic square of Havana. The origin of its name is derived from its previous military use, since from the end of the 16th century most military ceremonies and the events took place at the square.
National Capitol Building in Havana, designed to emulate the structure of the Panthéon in Paris France, and an almost copy of the U.S. Capitol (the one in Cuba is 2 inches taller). Its interior was the headquarters of Cuba’s government until the overthrow of Batista. The Capitolio Havana has just received extensive refurbishment with a plan to reuse the buildings as the Cuban governments’ senate building.
Catedral de San Cristóbal is by far the most prominent building on the Plaza de la Catedral. The Cathedral was built over the chapel after 1748 under instructions from the bishop of Salamanca Spain, Jose Felipe de Trespalacios. Considered by many as one of the most beautiful and sober churches of the American baroque period.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza, The fortress or also know as a “lit” Castle of the Royal Army is favorite tourist attraction and big monument that closes the Plaza de las Armas. It was the first large fortification of the city, initiated in 1558 on the ruins of an ancient fortress. In the same year, the Crown sent to Cuba an engineer called Bartolomé Sanchez, supervised by 14 crown officials and main stonemasons in order to reconstruct the castle, which had been ruined by a blaze and completely destroyed by the French corsair Jacques de Sores.
San Salvador de la Punta Fortress was constructed in 1590 and in 1629 on the shore opposite to the Castle of El Morro and at the beginning of the curve of El Malecon right at the harbor entrance. At night a thick chain was held between San Salvador de la Punta Fortress and the El Morro fortress to prevent the incursion of enemy ships into the Havana harbor.
La Cabaña fortress is located on the east side of the Havana Bay near the harbor mouth. Center point of the Spanish colonies dominance was La Cabaña a mighty structure built to dissuade pirates. Imposing with its 18th century walls, it was built at the same time as El Morro. Even today, nightly at 9 p.m., soldiers dressed in suits of the epoch shoot from her the “el cañonazo de las nueve”, (gunshot at nine). This is popular tourist attraction for visitors to Havana who can watch the precession and act of firing the cannons. Historically this signaled to residents of the citadel the closing of the gates of the wall that surrounded the city, leaving residents to fend for themselves if not back in time.
Viazul Cuba Bus Service is the perfect option to visit Havana. For those of you who don’t wish to Rent a Car in Havana the Viazul bus service will take you across Cuba and to Havana in comfort. Buses are new air-conditioned models with onboard WC, central TV and lower suitcase compartment. Unless you intend to take the bus the moment you arrive, in most cases there is no need to book in advance as extra buses are added to routes when a particular route becomes overbooked. Simply visit the offices listed below, buy your ticket and travel either that day or any day in the future. The Viazul ticketing service is quick and efficient so usually you can collect a ticket in minutes. Departure times are clearly shown outside each booth.
There is another bus service called Astro bus which visits Havana, however although cheaper because it’s charged in Cuban pesos (approx 24 pesos to 1$), the buses are less comfortable and are used by Cubans so they tend to be full on most journeys.
Tip: If you are flying into Havana and intend to take a Viazul Bus the next day then the Hotel Bella Habana is right next to the terminal.
It’s worth noting that if the Viazul bus service does not take you to your exact location, there are a plethora of Cuban peso and normal CUC taxis waiting at the bus stations to take you to your final destination in Havana. For example
Havana Bus Ticket office Viazul
Ave. 26 y Zoológico, Nuevo Vedado. Ciudad de la Habana – Viazul Phone 53 (7)8811413, ext. 101, 113, 8811108, 8815652
Main Viazul Routes
Varadero – Trinidad
Baracoa – Habana
Habana – Baracoa
Trinidad – Varadero
Varadero – Trinidad
Viñales – Trinidad
Santiago de Cuba – Varadero
Santiago de Cuba – Trinidad
Santiago de Cuba – Habana
Varadero – Santiago de Cuba
Trinidad – Santiago de Cuba
Stopover cities at which Viazul passengers can disembark or embark
Varadero, Cárdenas, Santa Clara, Placetas, Cabaiguan, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Avila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Holguín, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, Colón
Address: Laguna Boca Ciega, Playas del Este, Havana, Cuba
Why was Hotel Blau Club Arenal voted #5 by Travelucion clients? Some people visit Havana Cuba as a Caribbean destination, expecting white sands and palm trees. Havana simply does not have any natural beaches which are close to the center of the city. This creates a conundrum for visitors. Do we stay in the city and trudge around seeing the sights all day or do we choose a beach resort 15 minutes from Havana?
The Spanish Hotel chain Blau has provided the perfect solution with the Hotel Blau Club Arenal. A first class beach resort, all-inclusive but just 15 minutes drive from Old Havana and the rest of the city. If your love of old colonial buildings extends to a whirlwind day trip visiting them all (which is quite easy to do) in one day, then Hotel Blau Club Arenal will turn your stay in Havana into a true Caribbean vacation experience.
The Blau Club Arenal Hotels comprehensive All Inclusive Package Includes; Welcome cocktail, Breakfast, lunch and dinner, authentic Cuban meal once a week, A la carte El Pescador Restaurant, open bar with local and imported alcoholic beverages including; Beer, spirits and a variety of Cuban & international cocktails.
Hotel Blau Club Arenal is located just 24 km from Old Havana and Havana’s main city center. Nicely located between Alamar and Santa Cruz de Norte with views over the natural Itabo saltwater lake, Blau Club Arenal is right on 1st avenue of Havana’s famous Playas del Este or Eastern Havana Beaches area and, the Santa Maria Del Mar white sand palm lined stunning coastline. The All-Inclusive Hotel Blau Club Arenal resort consists of three low level buildings, each having just two floors. All the hotels air-conditioned rooms are nicely equipped with Cable TV, Minibar, hairdryer, Safe and sea view terrace.
For those who get hungry between meals the Blau Club Arenal Hotel´s Snack service in La Glorieta opens from midday to 5pm. Complimentary free mini-bar restocking with water is included. Probably the best part is the constant day and night entertainment from the amazing animation team.
Being at Hotel Blau Club Arenal doesn’t mean not seeing the many historic sites Havana has to offer, because the hotel offers a free 35 minute shuttle service to Havana City which departs/returns twice daily.
Hotel Blau Club Arenal is for those who wish to visit the Caribbean island of Cuba with an economical all-inclusive package, on an 80/20 type vacation where 80% of the time is beach and fun while 20% is taking in the many attractions Havana city has to offer, including the Old Havana Colonial quarter and beyond.
Hotel Blau Club Arenal Havana is usually in very high demand because of its all-inclusive package and proximity to Colonial Havana and, as such, should be booked in advance. Our booking program allows reservations at Hotel Blau Club Arenal without down payment or deposit which will guarantee your dates and also allows preferential modifications should your dates change in the future.
When you click “check availability at Hotel Blau Club Arenal” you will be comparing rates and availability from all three possible sources:
All major international suppliers of Hotel Blau Club Arenal Havana
The Cuban tourism ministry
Direct with Hotel Blau Club Arenal itself
Our booking process is unique because it shows the best rate from all of these for Hotel Blau Club Arenal in Havana Cuba and the types of rooms available. Our Hotel Blau Club Arenal Havana rate comparison is an industry first for Cuban Hotels.
Once you’ve compared the rates, finalizing the booking at Hotel Blau Club Arenal takes just seconds and an immediate confirmation is provided in real-time.
Why was Hotel Habana Libre voted #4 by Travelucion clients? The Hotel Habana Libre’s identity crisis is being erased by time. Taken over by the Melia group a few years back, the hotel was completely revamped, staff retrained and the notoriously impersonal service banished from the Hotel. What remains is Havana’s best located hotel, incredible views from the rooms (especially higher floor north facing) allied to the impeccable Melia Hotel experience. Forget any reviews of the Hotel Habana Libre you are reading before 2012, the hotel has been truly transformed since those dark days. Central? Let’s just say that Hotel Habana Libre IS the “center” of Havana.
The iconic building, previously the Havana Hilton is 25 floors high offering breathtaking views of the city, coastline and all metropolitan Havana. With 572 rooms, 4 restaurants, 2 cafeterias and 2 bars, the Hotel Habana Libre makes you feel welcome.
Hotel Habana Libre Havana is easily one of the most emblematic hotels in Havana. Its central location in the heart of Havana’s Vedado district makes it the ideal hotel from which to explore Havana. Just 5 minutes from Havana’s Malecon seafront, Colonial Old Havana and its impressive historical buildings, the Hotel Habana Libre Havana ticks all the boxes for comfort, size and service.
Once a modern jewel of the urban design, the hotel now provides visitors with a luxurious 5 star stay in an iconic 50s style building.
Right in the bustling “La Rampa” axis of downtown Havana, Yara cinema and one of the most famous corners in the center of the Cuban capital right next to the Coppelia ice cream parlor. Choosing to stay at the Hotel Tryp Habana Libre is a strategic decision which gives guests the upper hand concerning location without being compromised with regard to comfort and shear size.
On the 25th floor the Sierra Maestra Panoramic viewing room offers unrivaled views of the city while sipping a Cuba Libre or Mojito. The Disco Cabaret Turquino, complete with its retractable roof is ideal to meet fellow vacationers or Cuban alike.
This hotel can be ideal for a business trip due to its numerous meeting and convention rooms, high speed internet, Wi-Fi and secretarial business center.
The mini shopping Gallery found at lobby level offers; a hairdresser, full bank, souvenir store, clothing outlet and minimarket. The La Rampa cafeteria found on the corner of the hotel at ground level is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists alike.
For a hotel with such rich history and historic past, the Hotel Habana Libre Havana is an unusual treasure in a perfect location managed by the first rate Melia Group.
Hotel Habana Libre Havana is usually in very high demand and, as such, should be booked in advance. Our booking program allows reservations at Hotel Habana Libre without down payment or deposit which will guarantee your dates and also allows preferential modifications should your dates change in the future.
When you click “check availability at Hotel Habana Libre” you will be comparing rates and availability from all three possible sources:
All major international suppliers of Hotel Habana Libre Havana
The Cuban tourism ministry
Direct with Hotel Habana Libre itself
Our booking process is unique because it shows the best rate from all of these for Hotel Habana Libre in Havana Cuba and the types of rooms available. Our Hotel Habana Libre Havana rate comparison is an industry first for Cuban Hotels.
Once you’ve compared the rates, finalizing the booking at Hotel Habana Libre takes just seconds and an immediate confirmation is provided in real-time.