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Where to Stay in Havana
Havana, Cuba is one of the most popular international tourist destinations in the Caribbean. It's known around the world for its beautiful colonial architecture, it's fascinating political history and its fine cigars. There three large urban areas where the majority of visitors stay. The first is Old Havana, the colonial center of the city. Many hotels, both high-end and budget, are located here. Staying in Old Havana caters to those that enjoy sightseeing. You will have easy access to the Plaza de Armas, the district's large main square, as well as the historic Castillo del Morro, a 16th-century fortress. In the evening, you can take a stroll down the Malecon, a picturesque promenade that follows the seaside. There are also many restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from in Old Havana. Another popular district is Central Havana. Located adjacent to Old Havana, this neighborhood is known for its shopping. Here, tourists can frequent some of Cuba's best shopping malls or practice their salsa dancing at a local salsa-themed nightclub. Central Havana is also home to Havana's Chinatown community, known locally as Barrio Chino. For some of the most exclusive accommodation in the city, head to the posh Vedado district. Located next to Central Havana, this newer neighborhood has a reputation for being the swankiest part of town. Here, you will find upscale restaurants and chic nightclubs. Vedado also provides convenient access to Miramar, one of the wealthiest areas in Cuba. This neighborhood is home to a popular country club, foreign embassies and designer boutiques.
Havana Hotel Tips
Havana, like many cities in the Caribbean and Central America, experiences a wet and a dry season. The dry season tends to last from about December through early May, with temperatures resting between the mid-60s and the mid-80s. The wet season lasts from about June through early November, which is also the hurricane season. During this period of time, Havana can get as much as 11 days of rain per month.
July and August experience an influx in tourists. Because of this, hotel rates tend to increase. If you are planning your visit for these months, make sure to book your hotel reservations well in advance. Budget travelers looking to save money without sacrificing comfort should consider traveling during the shoulder seasons. These occur in March and April as well as October and November. During these months, the weather is cooler and drier. You can also frequently find the best Havana flight deals and hotel discounts during these periods.
Havana Hotel Recommendations
Hotel Habana Libre is a popular high-rise hotel located in the Vedado district. The hotel is famous for serving as the temporary headquarters of Cuban's rebel forces, including Fidel Castro, during the Cuban Revolution. Guests of the hotel can enjoy scenic views of the nearby waterfront and have convenient access to the Malecon. The four-star boutique features a spacious and impressive lobby, complete with lush greenery and a fountain. Whether you're traveling on business or for pleasure, the Hotel Habana Libre can cater to your needs. The facility boasts a number of meeting rooms and halls with enough space to accommodate up to 2,000 people. Other features include a swimming pool, a gift shop, five restaurants and two bars.
For the height of elegance, search for rooms at the Saratoga Hotel. Sporting neoclassical features, the stately hotel dates back to the early 20th century, while the building itself dates back to the 1880s. The hotel is located on one of the most popular intersection in Old Havana, giving guests convenient access to many of the historic district's colonial sites. Visitors have choice of several room styles. The most basic room is the Deluxe Patio, which overlooks the hotel's courtyard and features light-colored furnishings as well as mahogany, marble and ceramic accents. The hotel's rooftop gym boasts state-of-the-art equipment and a swimming pool.
Literary fans may want to book reservations at the historic Hotel Ambos Mundos. The great American writer Ernest Hemingway penned For Whom the Bell Tolls here. In fact, his old room, room 511, has been preserved as a museum. Situated just steps away from the Plaza de Armas, the hotel has a prime Old Havana location. The hotel's lobby features a contemporary corner fountain, art exhibits and a piano bar that hosts regular live jazz music. Some rooms have striking views of the city, while others face toward the hotel's atrium.
Havana has a network of buses that transport passengers to various areas of the city. In lieu of buses, tourists can often find hotel shuttles to take them to popular tourist destinations, including Old Havana and the Playas del Estes, a cluster of beaches located just a few miles outside the city. Some tourists find that taxis are the most convenient way to get around town. Cabs can be flagged down on city streets. Meanwhile, many of Havana's most popular neighborhoods are easy to explore on foot. Visitors can stroll down the Malecon promenade to get to Old Havana, Central Havana and Vedado.
Santiago de Cuba
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