Your 2017 Guide for Top 10 Things To Do in Havana Cuba

When we arrived at our Airbnb in Old Havana, we were so stoked that we scored the best location. It was walking distance to everything we wanted to see and do. We had 48 hours in Cuba and these were our top 10 favorite things to do in Havana.

1. Hotel Ambos Mundos

Located in the heart of Old Havana, this is the hotel where Ernest Hemingway lived for five years. His room was on the 5th floor (room 511) and you can even see the exact room he stayed in. Unfortunately, it was closed when we went so we didn't get to see it. The cost to see his room was 2 CUC (~$2). The rooftop is also a great place to get a great view of the city; however, we don't recommend getting the mojitos here. We had better tasting mojitos at Cafe Habana.

Front entrance to Hotel Ambos Mundos

Front entrance to Hotel Ambos Mundos

Room 511 - Ernest Hemingway's room

Room 511 - Ernest Hemingway's room

2. Cafe Habana

This cafe was located right next to our Airbnb. It's quite modern compared to the other cafes in the area and we had the best Mojitos and Cuba Libres here. In the mornings (they opened at 9AM), we had their delicious cappuccinos here as well. They also have a small food menu with sandwiches, hamburgers and salads. The alcoholic drinks were 3 CUC (~$3) and the cappuccino was about 2.50 CUC (~$2.50). Another thing we liked to do at this bar was people watch. We even saw a couple of fun parades pass through. We pretty much went to this cafe every day.

Cafe Habana - on the corner of Amagura and Mercaderes

Cafe Habana - on the corner of Amagura and Mercaderes

Great place for cocktails and coffee

Great place for cocktails and coffee

3. Cigar Shop at Hotel Conde de Villanueva

Inside this 18th-century historic hotel is one of the best cigar shops in Old Havana. Cuba is well-known for their cigars, but where do you buy them? We started noticing that various places had different prices for the exact same cigars. We actually wish we would have found this place before making a purchase at another cigar shop because it was way cheaper here. You can even purchase with your US dollars and they will also provide you with a proper customs form for your purchase. 

Hotel Conde de Villanueva entrance

Hotel Conde de Villanueva entrance

Cigar shop within Hotel Conde de Villanueva

Cigar shop within Hotel Conde de Villanueva

4. Museo de Armas (Gunsmith’s Shop Museum

A weapon museum is typically not our thing, but we were interested in the fact that many of the weapons in this museum were donated by Fidel Castro.  A lot of the guns were also from the revolutionary struggle. It will be a quick visit, but worth your time if you're interested in the revolution history of Cuba.

Entrance of the museum on Mercaderes 157 between Obra Pia and Lamparilla

Entrance of the museum on Mercaderes 157 between Obra Pia and Lamparilla

historical guns including the M2 carbine used by Ernesto Che Guevara

historical guns including the M2 carbine used by Ernesto Che Guevara

5. The Churros Stand (located in front of the Chocolate Museum)

Right in front of the Chocolate Museum is a churros stand that is open throughout the day. The cook takes breaks when the batter runs out, so if it's closed, hang around the area until the cook returns. We had fresh churros here every day whenever we walked by since the smell was so enticing and it was only 0,50 CUC (~50 cents).

Churros on the corner of Amagura and Mercaderes

Churros on the corner of Amagura and Mercaderes

0,50 CUC for regular churros or 0,75 CUC for churros with chocolate syrup

0,50 CUC for regular churros or 0,75 CUC for churros with chocolate syrup

6. Plaza Vieja

This square is visually stunning and a great place for photo-ops. We like to get our photos in the early mornings to avoid the crowds and we definitely recommend doing that for this hot spot. The architecture is gorgeous and you can enjoy the view from the numerous surrounding restaurants and bars. On our first night in Old Havana, we had dinner at Don Eduardo Alegre and sat upstairs as we enjoyed the view from above. 

Plaza Vieja during the day with all the tourists

Plaza Vieja during the day with all the tourists

Plaza Vieja in the morning to ourselves

Plaza Vieja in the morning to ourselves

7. Floridita

This is a very iconic location and a major tourist hot spot. Famous for their daiquiris and known to be Ernest Hemingway's favorite hangout. It is very packed during the day, but if you get there right when they open or visit in the evening, you will most likely avoid the crowd. 

Floridita on the corner of Obispo and Monserrate streets

Floridita on the corner of Obispo and Monserrate streets

Floridita still preserves much of the atmosphere from the 1940s and 1950s

Floridita still preserves much of the atmosphere from the 1940s and 1950s

8. Paladar Los Mercaderes

We were pretty stoked when we stumbled across this restaurant. We were walking around looking for a place to eat and saw a TripAdvisor sign posted at the entrance with a whopping 4.5 stars. We weren't having any luck with food in Cuba, so we hoped this sign would have some truth to it. We're so glad we took our chances because it was the best food we had the entire time we were in Cuba! On top of having excellent food, the ambience was gorgeous, the service was superb and the live entertainment was exciting. We loved that the musician interacted with the crowd and played personal songs representing the countries they were from. If you want to have dinner here, make sure you arrive early or make a reservation beforehand as it books up pretty fast. 

Try to get a seat on the balcony for great views

Try to get a seat on the balcony for great views

Fantastic live entertainment at Palador Los Mercaderes

Fantastic live entertainment at Palador Los Mercaderes

9. Hotel Nacional de Cuba

This hotel is so beautiful that it took our breath away. It's full of history and is located in the center of Havana just a few meters from the sea. Everyone from Winston Churchill to Beyonce has stayed in this hotel and we can see why. The decor and the rich history of this hotel makes it so iconic. They even have numerous preserved historic rooms like the "Mafia", "Walt Disney", or "Frank Sinatra". Outside in the garden area, you can explore the Santa Clara Battery which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We got to actually go through the underground tunnel, which was so fascinating. If you are claustrophobic, we suggest skipping this part. 

Beautiful grounds of Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Beautiful grounds of Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Going underground at the Santa Clara Battery

Going underground at the Santa Clara Battery

10. Plaza de San Francisco

This is another great location for photo-ops with stunning 360 views. It is situated directly across from the cruise terminal and the architecture of the church is stunning. If you want some good luck, head over to the El Caballero de Paris statue. El Caballero de Paris was a well-known street person who roamed the streets of Havana in the 1950s, engaging passerby with his philosophies on life, religion, politics and current events. It is said that if you touch the statue's beard, finger and foot all at the same time, it will bring you one year of good luck. 

The Basilica and the monastery of San Francisco de Asis

The Basilica and the monastery of San Francisco de Asis

El Cabaellro de Paris statue

El Cabaellro de Paris statue

Hope you enjoy our top 10 list as much as we did! Have any suggestions that we didn't list? Comment below and let us know.

XO,
Candy