Havana Travel Guide

Capitolio, Havana, Cuba

Havana is probably one of the most beautiful and photogenique cities on earth. The central and old parts of the town are filled with majestic town houses and imposing commercial buildings from the colonial times right up to the 1950’s after which it seems like both new developments as well as maintenance just stopped. For anyone who’s played Fallout, this is like stepping into the game. Only it’s for real, and you can see how the resourceful Cubans work with what they have available. This is evident in much of the food as the produce and meat is of low quality and cooked without much finesse.

As a tourist you need to set your expectations low as most service professions have no idea what service means. This is equally true at the luxury hotels and classic hot spots as it is at more modest places. But there are exceptions that start to pop-up, especially the privately owned restaurants which are run by people who actually care about what they do and work around the limitations. The results can be spectacular, but this is not the norm.

You’ll be safe anywhere you go, but it can be a little bit tiring to hear the constant offers for taxi or or to have a look at menus in the tourist areas. Be advised that places can be closed or renovated without advance notice, so please let us know if the places in this guide need updating.

Paseo de Marti, Havana, Cuba


Most food is really boring or outright bad, and it doesn’t matter how fancy or rich history the place has. There are exceptions though, find these and you’ll get an unforgettable experience where your transported straight into fantasyland and feel like your part of a high budget movie.

Fine dining

HavanaLa Guarida. This is what Havana is supposed to be. Edgy and free spirited, with good cocktails, locally relevant food and an experience not able to get anywhere else. Possibly the best food available in Cuba and somehow it doesn’t seem to have the same limitations as other places do. The building and locale is incredible cinematic as can be seen in the intro to BJ Baldwin’s Recoil 4Concordia #418. http://www.laguarida.com/en/

El Cocinero. One of the best restaurant locales we’ve ever seen. Roof top terraces on top of an old converted factory from which it gets its name (cocinero means smoke pipe). Very successful industrial chic design, with lots of green plants, little lights and textured walls. Perfect to get here during sunset – perhaps with a 50’s Americana cab from the Old Town – to see the place in the last rays of light before it gets dark. Food is really well cooked and better than most places but the main courses too simple. Taxi back to old town is 15 CUC and reservations are necessary. An art gallery/bar is next door, might be a good idea to check it out after dinner. Calle 26e/ 11 y 13.Vedado, Havana.  https://www.facebook.com/ElCocinero.Habana

Casual dining

San Cristobal Paladar. Calle San Rafael No 469, between Lealtad and Campanario, central Havana. http://www.paladarsancristobal.com/en/

Atelier. Calle 5, No. 511.

Casa Miglis. Swedish-Cuban fusion food. Lealtad 120, Animas y Lagunas, Central Havana.

Hotel Saratoga Bar. Prado 603, esq. a Dragones, Havanna. http://www.hotel-saratoga.com/ 

Café Laurent. Calle M No 257, between Calles 19 and 21, Vedado.

Bars and drinks


La Guarida roof top bar.

Bad frozen daiquiris and mojitos seems to be the national drink of Cuba and there are hordes of tourists that seem all to happy to drink this at the countless bars. The good, private restaurants usually also has better cocktails than the state run establishments.

La Guarida. The roof-top bar is the closest to a craft cocktail bar we’ve found in Havana, leaps and bounds better than the “classic” bars. Concordia #418. http://www.laguarida.com/en/

Hotel Saratoga Bar. Prado 603, esq. a Dragones, Havanna. http://www.hotel-saratoga.com/ 

Opus Bar. Old-school lounge bar. Teatro Amadeo Roldán, Calzada, on the corner with D, Vedado, Havana.

La Barrita. Art-deco bar inside the Bacardi building, closed for renovations during spring 2017.

El Floridita. Unfortunately, the most known Havana bar has become a crowded tourist trap serving batch-made off-balance daiquiris. Can be fun to see though. Obispo No. 557 esq. a Monserrate, Restaurante Floridita. http://www.floridita-cuba.com/

Bar Monserrate. Much calmer place than neighbour El Floridita, with live music that has a good selection of aged, premium rum that’s preferable to the drinks. Ave de Bélgica (Ave. de Bélgica (Monserrate)) No. 401, esquina Obrapía.

Cafés and coffee

Pastelaria Francesa. Good location next to Hotel Inglaterra and Parque Central, and probably as good as it gets in Havana, but on any comparative level this is a mediocre/bad coffee or pastry shop. 416 Paseo del Prado.

To do

El Malecón, Havana, Cuba

El Malecón.

Rooftop of Ambos Mundos Hotel, Calle Obispo No. 153 esq. a Mercaderes. Spectacular views over Old Havana, but not good food or drinks. Might be worth the trip just to ride the elevator and see the sun set though.

National Museum of Fine Arts.

Take a taxi ride in 50’s cabriolet. There’s an abundance of classic cars parked by Parque Central, choose your favourite and get a one hour sightseeing tour for around 50 CUC.

Havana Club Museum, in the Habana Vieja. English tours at the top of every hour (you need to take a tour). An introduction to rum production and its relation to Cuban history. Tour ends with a visit to the store, which has a better selection of premium Havana Club rum and the same or lower prices than at the airport. Avenida del Puerto 262, esq. Sol, Habana Vieja Ciudad de La Habana. Tel: 53 (7) 861 8051 / 862 4108. Open daily from 9:30.am to 5:30 pm // Havana Club Bar open daily from 9:30 am to 12:00 am. Entry fee: 7 Cuc (around 6 euros). https://havana-club.com/en-ww/about-us/

Tropicana. The most classic cabaret show is still going strong. Quite expensive and you need to avoid the dinner package, but the show is good, they say. http://www.cabaret-tropicana.com/

Go Dancing at Casa De La Musicahttp://www.lahabana.com/guide/casa-de-la-musica-de-miramar/

Museo del Chocolate, Calle Amargura, La Habana.  More of a café than museum that serves home-made chocolate. Open: 10am-7:30pm daily. http://www.lahabana.com/guide/museo-del-chocolate/

Walk the El Malecon. Many people, locals and tourists alike, go down to El Malecon by night to see the sunset, but it provides a great view over the city and ocean any time of the day.


Havana Vieja.