How Many Days in Havana? – 3 Days in Havana Itinerary
Traveling to Havana? Wondering how many days in Havana is enough? Find out how many days do you need in Havana in this guide.
A somewhat cloistered half-century has clouded American perceptions of Cuba. Now it seems the tide is finally turning. With dozens of airlines now offering direct flights to Cuba’s capital, Havana, we can finally access a global tourism hub that has been attracting millions of Canadians and Europeans for decades. The close proximity and relaxing Caribbean climate make it the perfect destination for a long weekend. Sneak away from work and experience the truly unique cultural shock on Cuba can offer. After 3 days in Havana, you may wonder, was it enough?
Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Havana in this video or continue reading:
Day 1 in Havana: Check in
Upon arrival, Cuba will strike you as one of the most unique places in the world. It’s as if Havana is stuck in an alternative past. Years of American embargo and the collapse of the Soviet Union left cubans to their own ingenious devices. Everywhere you look there is a reminder of hardship, sacrifice, and perseverance.
From the airport take a taxi to Parque Central. The bustling hub of old Havana, Parque Central is the undisputed city center. From here follow the point of Cuban revolutionary legend Jose Marti down Calle Obispo towards your hotel.
To get that truly nostalgic taste that only Cuba can offer, I recommend staying at Hotel Inglaterra or Hotel Ambos Mundos. Hotel Inglaterra is a Cuban national monument and the art deco interior will make you feel like you’re in a time machine. The hotel also features an incredibly comfortable terrace close to the hustle of Parque Central. Grab a mojito and recharge your batteries after your flight. From here you can get a taste of Cuban life, but retain the enjoyment of your vacation.
At Hotel Ambos Mundos you will be completely surrounded by history. The rooms are sparse, and the decor is classic 1920’s chic. However, inside you’ll find an irreproducible creative atmosphere. Fans of literature know Hemingway penned most of his classic For Whom the Bell Tolls in room 511. The surrounding area of Calle Obispo is one of Havana’s busiest shopping streets, and most interesting areas for people watching.
After you’ve checked in and shaken off the jet lag. Take a stroll around the surrounding area, discover tiny bars with great food and live Cuban music. Most bars will have live performances nightly and cheap tropical cocktails to keep you entertained. Local joints Lluvia de Oro and Restaurant Europa (both on Calle Obispo) are great places to try local cuisine, and take in some tunes. These places are not your gourmet experience, but offer authentic choices at extremely reasonable prices. You can’t go wrong spending your first night at either place.
Day 2 in Havana: Check it out
Hopefully you kept it calm the night before, because today is the day to see the city. From Parque Central you can see the Capitolo an ironic miniature of the United States’ Capitol Building.
After, walk down the lovely Paseo de Prado. There are tons of shops and local markets. Paseo de Prado brings you right to the Havana Malecon, a stunning seaside promenade full of street performers, musicians, and local artisans.
A long stroll down the Malecon will bring you to other historical points of importance. Anyone remotely interested in history will enjoy the transcendent Museum of the Revolution.
The museum houses some incredible Cold War artifacts including: the solid gold telephone of former dictator Fulgencio Batista, the iconic Che Guevara’s personal radio, and an engine recovered from a shot down U-2 spy plane. However, the museum’s crown jewel is entombed in a glass case in an adjacent courtyard. This small outbuilding houses the Granma, the yacht that carried Fidel and Raul Castro, as well as Guevara, from Mexico to revolution.
Also closeby, there is a park that features the missiles that almost sparked World War III. The now defunct nukes, sit harmlessly as a reminder of the 12 days diplomacy pulled the US, and the USSR from the brink of catastrophe. After all this history (and walking) you may find yourself tired and in need of decompression.
Book a night out in advance at the Havana Tropicana Cabaret. This unique show ensures you’ll have a great time with good music, and cocktails. (Pro-tip: Make sure you book transportation as well as taxis are scarce after the show).
If you’re feet aren’t too tired, another option is Salsa night at Casa de La Musica. Here you can see some of the world’s best salsa dancers, and musicians. There’s no wrong choice but keep in mind it will be hot, and it will be sweaty, but it will be fun. If you’re not in the mood to move, the cabaret is a better option.
Day 3 in Havana: Check out
Two long nights on the town have got you tired. You just feel like relaxing. You’re in luck because Cuba has some pristine beaches ready to rock you gently into a nice daytime nap. From Havana you can take a taxi to the nearest beach for around $20. Pro tip: skip the taxi and head out on the local tourist bus that runs from Hotel Inglaterra. Make sure to take the route to Alamar, which will drop you safely at the gorgeous Playa Marazul. The ticket costs $3 per person and includes the return journey.
Afterwards, spend your last night in the charming Vedado District. Near Plaza de la Revolucion, you’ll find the Che Guevara Memorial and another statue of Jose Marti. With your 3 days Havana itinerary coming to a close, look out over the gorgeous Caribbean from the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Enjoy the sublime gardens, and sip a mojito overlooking the Malecon. Head back to your hotel and sleep soundly knowing you’ve seen as much of Havana as possible.
But wait there’s more…
Cuba is a magically misunderstood island, and there is certainly more to it than just Havana. However, if you only have 3 days in Havana, I hope this will help you make the most of your stay. If you have any comments or questions feel free to post them below. Thanks for reading and enjoy your 72-hour trip back in time.